A Ghost in Cornwall
This land is my memories. For two thousand years this valley has been mine alone.
I know every rock, every stream and every tree. I know the forces that shape this land and the people who inhabit it.
A billion years ago this land was a migratory trail for the animals of Western Europe. They roamed freely across the huge land of one continent. Millennia passed as the rivers washed silt to the ocean and the sun raised rain to the sky. At that time the mass of Eurasia was joined. The tectonic plates shifted and islands formed, raising proud, green peninsulas on green water, thrust out to the ocean. Long before my time the forces of nature battled along the coasts of Western Europe. From the Southwest, the Gulf Stream warmed and opened the land with summer heat. From the north, ice raged and cracked the rock of what would become the British Isles.
The land tells me it was an epic struggle. The generous heat of earth, venting her spleen, the wash of the water, cooling and circulating air. Rain succoured the land and ran back to the sea, endless cycles, repeating endlessly. The earth shifted, chasms opened and the sea swept in, submerging areas and separating the islands of Britain and Ireland from the mainland.
Spouts of boiling lava spewed from the molten centre of earth to create granite formations, a source of wonder till the end of time. A great rift opened up what is now the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea, separating the land into distinct areas. Many characteristics still connect Brittany, Ireland, Wales, and Cornwall. Their joining can still be seen in place and people. But veins of power run through the sea, a matrix of energy criss-crosses the land and reaches out around our planet.
The Phoenicians, Egyptians and Greeks journeyed to these coasts even before the Iron Age, in search of Keltic wisdom, since long before the time of my youth. They followed the trail of gold and wisdom across the sea to Cornwall and then to Wales and Ireland. Later, tin trade followed these routes across Brittany and the journeys of wise men and saints to the west of land, the land of setting sun, of Gods and the quest for immortality that haunts us all. Ships and boats from the French and Spanish coasts often sailed to rivers on the south coast of Cornwall in search of trade and journey with the friendly and civilised Keltii, hopefully avoiding the pirates that have ravaged these coasts for millennia.
2000 years ago I was killed trying to save my mother from Portuguese raiders on the river, who stole the gold that came from Ireland. My story is located in the valley of one of these rivers, now called 'River Fowey'. It is a story that I have not been able to tell until now. My own story starts with the visit of Jesus of Nazareth to the river Fowey in 30 AD (according to the Julian Calendar and allowing for a seven year miscalculation). He was twenty three years old. He journeyed on a vision quest to the west-of-land, in search of the wisdom of the Keltii and union with his father spirit. I have spent much time thinking about this moment and my brief encounter with a man who claimed to be Son of God. For hundreds of years I puzzled at his smile, the light in his gaze. He had a quality of being rare in the extreme, an utter and unconditional compassion for all life.
Who am I? A ghost; Fintan, born 2000 years ago and caught in the matrix of nature unable to tell my story until now. I am here, waiting for you.
A Cornish ghost story, 'The Lily' available only at www.simonthescribe.co.uk/Lily.html">http://www.simonthescribe.co.uk/Lily.html
Polish author Olga Tokarczuk won the £50,000 (about $67,170) Man Booker International Prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world, for her novel of linked fragments, Flights, translated by Jennifer Croft. The cash award is divided equally between author and translator, who also both receive £1,000 for being shortlisted.
Philip Roth, whose novel American Pastoral won a Pulitzer in 1998 but who was best-known for the controversial and explicit 1969 Portnoy's Complaint, has died at age 85.
Writing in The Washington Post, author and professor Sandra Beasley asks, "Do we continue to teach the work of people we now suspect of behaving unethically or abusively? ... As a reader, I'm devastated. As a teacher, I've got decisions to make..."
The romance-focused magazine Romantic Times, along with the RT Book Reviews, RT VIP Salon and RT Booklovers Convention brands, is shutting down after 37 years. The closure is effective immediately, and though the RT website will remain up for another year or so, there will be no new content in the future.
Philip Pullman has been named author of the year at the British Book Awards for his "outstanding" success.
The children's author was recognized after returning to the world of his Dark Materials with La Belle Sauvage last year. Awards organizers described Pullman as a "true one-off".
Gail Honeyman won book of the year for her best-selling debut Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
Judges said it was "brilliantly written" and "the complete package".
Tom Wolfe, author of notable works such as The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities, has died aged 88. In addition to his books, he was a pioneer of New Journalism, which developed in the 1960s and 1970s and involved writing from a subjective perspective as opposed to more traditional objective journalism. He was also known for coining phrases such as "radical chic" and "the me decade".
Last week, Barnes & Noble, the largest book retailer in the US, saw its stock price plunge nearly 8% just days after the New York Times published an editorial calling for the chain to be saved. "It's depressing to imagine that more than 600 Barnes & Noble stores might simply disappear," wrote columnist David Leonhardt. "But the death of Barnes & Noble is now plausible."
Author Jojo Moyes has pledged to save the British adult literacy program Quick Reads from closure by funding it for the next three years. She says she was "completely dumbfounded" on learning of the scheme's closure and is believed to have donated around £360,000 (well over US$500,000) to help it continue.
"Having written a Quick Reads myself [Paris for One, in 2015] and spoken to readers who had benefited from the scheme, I knew how important it was," she told The Bookseller. "It is relatively low cost and loved by authors, publishers and readers. At a time when libraries are ever more endangered, it seemed a completely regressive move to lose Quick Reads."
The Pulitzer Prize board has opened an independent review of sexual misconduct allegations against the award-winning novelist Junot Díaz, who is stepping down as chairman, the board said on Thursday.
"Mr. Díaz said he welcomed the review and would cooperate fully with it," the Pulitzer board said in a statement.
Mr. Díaz, who joined the board in 2010, was elevated to chairman last month, according to the organization. It said that Mr. Díaz asked to relinquish his role and that he would remain a part of the body.
Viet Thanh Nguyen argues that books by immigrants, foreigners and minorities don't diminish the 'classic' curriculum. They enhance it....
...We must read Shakespeare and authors who are women, Arab, Muslim, queer. Most of the world is neither white nor European, and the United States may be a majority-minority country by mid-century. White people will gain more by embracing this reality rather than fighting it. As for literature, the mind-set that turns the canon into a bunker in order to defend one dialect of English is the same mind-set that closes borders, enacts tariffs and declares trade wars to protect its precious commodities and its besieged whiteness. But literature, like the economy, withers when it closes itself off from the world. The world is coming anyway. It demands that we know ourselves and the Other...