Havergey does not feature on any maps of the British Isles. Yet this remote island is as real as any, with its limestone stacks, seabirds and human population - a mixture of utopians and nomads who have settled here to build a new kind of society. When a traveller arrives in this small land, bewildered by his long journey and disorientated by the past, he becomes an object of curiosity for the inhabitants, especially the one assigned to watch over him as he spends his first days in 'Quarantine'. Here, in an old building not far from the shore, the traveller is left alone to sift through Havergey's archive, and begins to piece together the fragments of the island's past. As he grows to understand why the people have settled here, fleeing a world in the last throes of ecological and social collapse, he does not know if he, too, will be able to make a home here, on a rock, out in the unforgiving ocean.Havergey reminds us how precious and precarious our world is, and speculates towards a way of living that does not assume people are the most important life form in any landscape.
John Burnside is a poet, novelist, and former software engineer, He is the author of Burning Elvis, Glister and A Summer of Drowning. His memoir, A Lie About My Father won many prizes including the Saltaire Prize for Best Scottish Book of the Year. His poetry includes The Asylum Dance, which won The Whitbread Poetry Award, and Feast Days, winner of the Geoffrey Faber memorial Prize. He writes a nature column for the New Statesman.