Following 9th century monks as they flee from invading vikings with the body of St Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels – and undertake a momentous journey that helps shape England
Richard W Hardwick is a writer, publisher and writing tutor. He has created ‘St Cuthbert’s Final Journey’ as part of his project as writer-in-residence at Durham University.
His first book ‘Kicked Out‘ was published by Beautiful Books in 2009 and became Waterstone’s Recommended Read and Border’s Book of the Month. Inspired by his time working in an emergency access hostel for homeless teenagers in Newcastle and as a social worker in Sunderland Youth Offending Service, it was described by Waterstone’s as “a novel to stand up alongside Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting…a fantastic book expressing the cynicism and dissatisfaction of those on the edge of society”
His second book ‘Andalucia’ is a memoir. When he was advised to turn this writing into a novel he instead created his own publishing company, Lapwing Books. Richard wrote about his wife’s breast cancer to help him cope, and then he wrote about their past because he was scared she wouldn’t be alive to help him remember it for their children. ‘Andalucia’ tells the story of a young couple falling in love in the Golan Heights, bathing in the Sea of Galilee, living in the cheapest hostel in Amsterdam’s red-light district and becoming homeless in Greece. Past and present are woven together to form a unique and beautiful portrait of a family facing the ultimate fear.
Pat Barker, winner of the Booker Prize, said ‘Andalucia’ was “told with courage, humour and love, weaving past and present with great skill so the pace of the narrative never falters. There is a zest for life on every page which I found both moving and inspiring“
Janette Jenkins, author of Little Bones and Angel of Brooklyn, said “this absolutely captivated me. I couldn’t put it down. One of the best books I’ve read…breath-taking“
Richard has taught creative writing in HMP Frankland for the past five years and is editor of their prison magazine ‘Behind Bars.’ He has previously been writer-in-residence at HMP Durham and has facilitated numerous creative projects inside prisons, working inside HMP Low Newton, HMP Deerbolt and HMP Castington as well as the previous two establishments. In January 2012 he published the hardback ‘Shattered Images and Building Bridges’, a collection of writing and artwork from his students in three Durham prisons, also through Lapwing Books.
He lives in Seaton Sluice, just north of Newcastle, with his wife, two children and dog. Often, he can be found wandering down the beach or along the dene, or alternatively he can be contacted via the following:
There used to be a St Cuthberts Inn at Scorton Station wih St Cuthberts well in a field behind was this a resting place in the travels with his coffin?
Hello Mrs Hume, and thanks for your comment/question.
To be honest, its impossible to tell, regarding St Cuthbert’s Well and Inn. Much of the journey is conjecture, based on a list nailed to the door of Durham Cathedral in the 15th century, based on Churches of St Cuthbert who claimed the body rested there. Scorton is certainly in the old kingdom of Northumbria – it may be that Cuthbert found the spring that then was given his name, or that a well was given his name to attract pilgrims to the area – as it was thought that the water had healing properties. I haven’t come across Scorton as a place the Community of St Cuthbert stopped at with his coffin, so it’s possible its related to an earlier time when he was alive…
Thank you for your reply and your conjectures. That is a possibility.