Quick Q&A with Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed, the New York Times bestselling author of the hiking memoir Wild visits Clowes Hall on March 31. We caught up with her on the trail.
Reese Witherspoon stars in the upcoming adaptation of your book. What was it like watching her play you?
What’s funny is that she really looks like I did in 1995. Her hair, her clothes. Watching her play a character I had created would be weird enough, but the fact that she’s actually reenacting my life is very strange.
What’s your reaction to the outpouring of empathy the book inspired?
Obviously I’m flattered by all the Hollywood stuff, but what has meant the most is that the story reached people in the powerful way that only books can.
Do you still find time to go hiking? It seems like you’re in airports a lot.
One of the ironies of the last few years is that I’m traveling all over the world talking about the joys of going on a hike, and I’m lucky if I can take a 10-minute walk a day. I’ve never been so physically unfit in my life.

This interview appeared in the March 2014 issue.