Award Winning Writer Inspired By Landscapes On Bryher

An award-winning writer says the changing landscape on Bryher gives him the inspiration he needs to write his short stories.

David Constantine isn’t a household name. But being the first Englishman to win the prestigious Frank O’Connor International Short Story award, the biggest prize for that form of literature, is sure to put him at the top of many people’s reading lists.

David won the €25,000 euro prize for his work in ‘Tea at the Midland and Other Stories,’ and he spends much of his time writing at his cottage overlooking Kitchen Parr on Bryher.

Born in Salford, he first visited Scilly in 1967, the year of the Torrey Canyon disaster. His wife’s links go even further back, to the Gibson family on St Martin’s during the 19th century.

From Radio Scilly

david constantine

Award winning author David Constantine talks about his work and Bryher

But even though the islands have never actually featured in his stories, he says their influence can be found throughout his work.

His poetry and short stories have often been described by critics as dark and haunting. And David says the huge tides on Bryher, which constantly expose and submerge the landscape, represent the theme of loss and recovery that runs through many of his stories.

He finds it difficult to concentrate on writing on the mainland because of the constant noise and distractions of the modern world, like email and telephones.

Yet Bryher gives him the chance to work, and also take time off to walk, fish and paddle his canoe.

He says it’s the only place where he can set those kinds of boundaries for himself.

Bryher has a number of links with famous authors, not least children’s writer Michael Morpurgo, who two weeks ago held a reading at the new library at Porthcressa.

But it’s unlikely that David will want to see the island developing into a retreat for authors.

He says writing isn’t a group activity and it’s the solitude of Bryher, with it’s constantly changing landscape, which suits him best.