Literary Programme 2017

A Special Island Event with Cynan Jones & Jon Gower

A Special Island Event with Cynan Jones & Jon Gower
(A Special Island Event)

Cynan Jones
Jon Gower

Whiddy Island

Sat 15 July 2017




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.

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 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 on the West coast of Wales in 1975. He is the author of five novels, The Long Dry, Everything I Found on the Beach, Bird, Blood, Snow, The Dig and Cove.

His work is published in twenty or so countries, and short stories have appeared on BBC Radio 4 and in a number of anthologies and publications including Granta and The New Yorker. 

He has won a Betty Trask Award, a Jerwood Fiction Prize, and the Wales Book of the Year Fiction Prize; he has also been listed for further international prizes including the Kirkus Prize, the Warwick Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, and the Europese Literatuurprijs.

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

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

Please note that Ian McGuire was originally scheduled to read as part of this event but for family reasons Ian is unfortunately no longer able to attend West Cork Literary Festival.