The Incredible Life Story of Writer Lucy Irvine

Lucy Irvine answered an ad in Time Out Magazine by an adventurer named Gerald Kingsland, agreeing to be his female companion and spend a year with him on a deserted island. It was a great decision and one that led to some fascinating stories.

A portrait of Lucy Irvine.
Photo by Peter Kevin Solness/Fairfax Media/Getty Images

Why would anyone want to marry a stranger twice their age and spend time on a remote island, away from civilization? It was not a true marital bond, so why did Lucy Irvine agree to such a thing? Was she rebellious, adventurous, or was it in for the money?

The Background of Lucy Irvine

Lucy Irvine is a Scotswoman born and raised in London. Being an energetic and unpredictable woman, she was a school dropout at 12, with no whole education, and did not stick to any particular job. Looking at her portfolio, Lucy Irvine had multiple professions, laboring as a monkey keeper, tea lady, life model, pastry chef, etc.

Lucy holds a fish she caught on the island beach.
Source: YouTube

After her year of adventure on the island, she became a writer and wrote an autobiography book about her experience on the island titled Castaway. She was 24 years old, working in a tax office when she answered the advertisement.

Life On The Island

After marrying, the two set out to Tuin Island in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea. Life on the remote island was no honeymoon. There was no supply of fresh water or food, no civilization, no medical supplies, etc. They did pack some items with them but not enough to last for a year. They had to depend on the island to survive by hunting for food, chopping firewood, and gathering coconuts.

Lucy and Gerald arrive at the island with their only supplies.
Source: Imgur

With no survival experience, Lucy Irvin did the best she could fighting drought, illness, and trying to catch fish or sharks. Also, she and her husband were incompatible, making it difficult to get along. Lucky for them, the island was not uninhabited. A tribe living on the island helped them survive the year.

Why Did She Agree To Live On A Remote Island?

Asking Lucy Irvin why she agreed to such a trip, her reply was, “I didn’t go to remote islands to become famous, but to learn from my experiences.” “I felt that I wanted to simplify my life. I seemed overwhelmed by choices.”

Lucy holds up a lobster she caught.
Source: Imgur

On returning home after spending a year on the island, she wrote an autobiography describing her real-life tales on the remote island. Her autobiography was published in 1983 and became an instant hit. It became the basis for a British biographical drama film starring Amanda Donohoe and Oliver Reed made in 1986.

Moving into Parenthood and Beyond

Focusing on writing and her children, being a single mother was a tough job for her. As soon as her children were old enough to attend university, she set out on her own, continuing on her novels and living in an old mud-brick house.

Lucy Irvine works the fields outside her home.
Source: Facebook

That cottage was destroyed in a fire in 2009, and she then moved to live on a caravan site. Even though Lucy misses her children, she lives in such a way because of her nature. She describes herself as “impossible to live with” and wants her children to live everyday life.