Programme Change at the 2017 West Cork Literary Festival Programme

Posted on: Tuesday, 11th July 2017 @ 1:34pm

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Ian McGuire is unable to join us for the Special Island Event on Whiddy Island on Saturday 15 July. We are sorry that he won't be with us but we are pleased to be able to announce that Jon Gower will be appearing instead.


From left to right: Cynan Jones and Jon Gower

All aboard the ferry to Whiddy Island for this special event where we celebrate Bantry Bay, the sea beyond and the beauty and poetry of West Cork. On this year's trip to Whiddy we are joined by two Welsh writers novelists Cynan Jones and Jon Gower.

In Cynan Jones' novel Cove a man is struck by lightning, out at sea in a sudden storm. When he wakes, injured and adrift on a kayak in the Irish Sea, his memory of who he is and how he came to be there is all but shattered.  Now he must pit himself against the pain and rely on his instincts to get back to shore, and to the woman he dimly senses waiting for his return. With its taut narrative and its wincingly visceral portrait of a man locked in an uneven struggle with the forces of nature, this is a powerful new work from one of the most distinctive voices in British fiction.

'Hypnotically compelling, as exciting as it is meditative... adored the pared down yet powerful, rippling, sensate writing. A terrific read.'- Colin Barrett
'To read Cove is to take a masterclass in taking out everything but the essentials. This is writing stripped back to the bone, and storytelling that gets under the skin. Powerful, terrifying, brilliantly done.' - Jon McGregor
'Cove is about the dangerous, unknowable rhythms of the sea... about devastation [...] love, loss, memory and the will to live... A haunting meditation on trauma and human fragility.' - Financial Times
Cynan Jones was born near Aberaeron, Wales in 1975. He is the author of three novels, The Long Dry (winner of a Betty Trask Award, 2007), Everything I Found on the Beach (2011), and The Dig (2014). He is also the author of Bird, Blood, Snow (2012), the retelling of a medieval Welsh myth.

Jon Gower will read from An Island Called Smith and his collection of stories Too Cold for Snow. The inhabitants of Smith Island in Chesapeake Bay, USA are nearly all descended from Welsh and Cornish immigrants of the 17th century and Jon gives a personal account of this place, its environment, history and customs.

'Gower's tales possess a primal, almost savage formality that's far removed from the calmer precisions and interiority of the mitered short story. They are also exhilarating and lush and knowing and in all ways bespeak authenticity.' - Richard Ford [on Too Cold For Snow]

Jon Gower has over twenty books to his name: these include The Story of Wales, which accompanied the landmark BBC series, Y Storiwr, which won the Wales Book of the Year and An Island Called Smith, about a disappearing island in Chesapeake Bay, which was awarded the John Morgan travel writing award. Jon is a former BBC Wales arts and media correspondent and an inaugural Hay Festival International Fellow. 

This event is supported by the Bantry Bay Port Company Limited

The ticket price includes the return ferry. The ferry leaves Railway Pier for Whiddy Island at 14.30 sharp. It will leave Whiddy at 16.30 to return to Bantry. A smaller ferry will depart Whiddy at 17.15.

Cynan's photo is by Alice Fiorilli and Jon's is by Marian Delyth