Canongate aquires second title from Alistair Moffat

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Canongate will publish Scottish writer Alistair Moffat’s exploration of the tidal island of Lindisfarne, To the Island of Tides.

Simon Thorogood, editorial director at Canongate, signed a deal for world rights from David Godwin here at DGA.

In To the Island of Tides, Moffat travels to - and through the history of – the island of Lindisfarne, off the northeast coast of England, which is in the civil parish of Holy Island in Northumberland.

“Walking from his home in the Borders, through the historical landscape of Scotland and northern England, he takes us on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of saints and scholars, before arriving for a secular retreat on the Holy Isle,” the synopsis reads.

“Lindisfarne, famous for its monastery, home to Saints Aidan and Cuthbert and the place where the celebrated Lindisfarne Gospels were written, has long been a place of sanctuary. It is an island rich in history: the Romans knew it as Insula Medicata; it reached the height of its fame in the dark ages, even survived Viking raids, before ultimately being abandoned after Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Today the isle maintains its position as a space for retreat and spiritual renewal.”

Canongate published Moffat’s previous book, The Hidden Ways, which was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards and was a Waterstones Scotland Book of the Month.

Thorogood said: “To the Island of Tides is a walk through history, a meditation on the power of place, but also a more personal journey; a chance for a personal stock-taking and a reflection on where life leads us.”

Moffat said: “Writing this book was a transformative experience. The business of putting one foot in front of another made the landscape and its story come alive in ways I could never have imagined. It was as though the ghosts of the long past walked beside me,  whispering their stories."

He added: "This journey with Cuthbert, following the rivers, across the bleak moorland and under the big skies of the north, took me to the heart of his sanctity, to Lindisfarne and all its transcendent glories – and it it changed me.”