Literary Programme 2018

Philip Hoare and Alicia Kopf

Philip Hoare and Alicia Kopf

Philip Hoare
Alicia Kopf

Garnish Island, Glengarriff

Wed 18 July 2018



Join us for a very special event in the magnificent gardens of Garnish Island. The event ticket includes a return ferry and access to Garnish Island. The ferry leaves from the Blue Pool which is in the centre of Glengarriff Village (next to Quills Woollen Market) at 17.30 and will leave Garnish at 19.15.

One of the chapters in Philip Hoare’s new book RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR is set in Ireland and documents his previous visit to West Cork Literary Festival when he swam with the jellyfish in Bantry Bay.

At dawn in Bantry Bay, I dawdle in the still green sea, pushing out from the pontoon, gliding over meadows of weed. It’s a dreamy sensation made anxious only by the organisms with which I share the water. Every now and then I raise my head, looking out for the jellyfish that drift out of the dark like spectral umbrellas gently opening and closing, luminous in the gloom.

In this watery book, the prize-winning author of Leviathan, or The Whale and The Sea Inside goes in pursuit of human and animal stories of the sea. Of people enchanted or driven to despair by the water, accompanied by whales and birds and seals – familiar spirits swimming and flying with the author on his meandering odyssey from suburbia into the unknown. Along the way, he encounters drowned poets and eccentric artists, modernist writers and era-defining performers, wild utopians and national heroes – famous or infamous, they are all surprisingly, and sometimes fatally, linked to the sea.

‘A beautifully written mixture of travelogue and essay… Hoare has invented a new genre: an elegy for something not yet lost.’ Independent on Sunday

‘As bracing as a great blustery lungful of ozone-filled air… His passionate engagement will infect you. As you close this book, you will probably feel as ecstatic as the author does after one of his cold morning dips.’ The Times

Philip Hoare lives and works in Southampton. He is the author of several books including Leviathan, or The Whale, winner of the 2009 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction, The Sea Inside and Spike Island. He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Southampton and co-curator of the Moby-Dick Big Read.

Brother In Ice: She thought that it was precisely when things get uncomfortable or can’t be shown that something interesting comes to light. That is the point of no return, the point that must be reached, the point you reach after crossing the border of what has already been said, what has already been seen. It’s cold out there.

Alicia Kopf’s hybrid novel Brother In Ice – part research notes, part fictionalized diary, and part travelogue – uses the stories of polar exploration to make sense of the protagonist’s own concerns as she comes of age as an artist, a daughter, and a sister to an autistic brother. Conceptually and emotionally compelling, it advances fearlessly into the frozen emotional lacunae of difficult family relationships. Deserving winner of multiple awards upon its Catalan and Spanish publication, Brother in Ice is a richly rewarding journey into the unknown.

‘In an epistolic, polar update of Melville’s Moby Dick, this genre-defying book rises as clear and cold as an Arctic sea, floating with ideas that, like icebergs, are buoyed up by meaning and memory below their surface. This is an icy dissection of actuality and history, a frozen etymology of meaning.’ Philip Hoare

‘A book, part essay and part autobiography, that is also a chronicle of a generation stalled in a world without horizons or certainties… An unusual book and the deserving winner of the Premi Documenta literary award.’ La Vanguardia

Alicia Kopf was born in 1982 and is a writer and artist based in Barcelona. Brother in Ice is the culmination of an artistic cycle of exhibitions entitled Àrticantàrtic, Her awards include the GAC-DKV Prize for best young artist gallery exhibition. The original Catalan manuscript of Brother in Ice  won the 2015 Premi Documenta, a prestigious prize for an unpublished Catalan-language work of literature, and upon publication was awarded the 2016 Premi Llibreter by Catalan booksellers. The Spanish edition received further prizes, including the Premio El Ojo Crítico, awarded by Spanish National Radio. The English-language edition is published by And Other Stories in April 2018 and is translated into English by Mara Faye Lethem.

Based between Barcelona and Brooklyn, Mara Faye Lethem translates from Catalan and Spanish. She has translated many contemporary novelists, and is a reviewer for the New York Times

Philip’s photo is by Dennis Minsky and Alicia’s photo is by Laia Gutierrez

The use of Garnish Island for this event is courtesy of the OPW. Garnish Island is world renowned for its gardens which are laid out in beautiful walks and its stunning specimen plants which are rare in Ireland’s climate.