The first mainstream historical novel about St Cuthbert has been published today on St Cuthbert’s Day (Wednesday 20 March) by Durham publisher, Sacristy Press.
The novel, Cuthbert of Farne, has been written by Northumberland author Katherine Tiernan. It brings new life to the legendary Anglo-Saxon saints of the North and tells the story of the struggle for the Church in seventh-century England. Characters include not only Cuthbert, but other Northern saints like Wilfrid, Aidan and Hilda of Whitby.
Author, Katharine Tiernan, said: “Although it is a story of the spiritual life, the historical events are full of conflict, intrigue and drama that make Cuthbert of Farnea pacey and gripping read.
“Growing up in North Northumberland, I have a sense of personal connection both to St Cuthbert and to the landscapes of the North East where he lived. It has been a joy to write this novel and I hope it will shed new light on the life of the North’s greatest saint.”
There will be an opportunity to meet author Katherine Tiernan on Saturday 23 March between 11am and 3pm in Durham Cathedral’s shop as part of the St Cuthbert Festival, which runs from Wednesday 20 March to Saturday 23 March.
St Cuthbert is the North of England’s best-loved saint. The historical background of his times is little known – and inherently dramatic. He lived as a monk, bishop, and then hermit, on Holy Island (Lindisfarne). Revered during his own lifetime for his preaching and holiness, Cuthbert was acclaimed a saint in 698. His community fled Lindisfarne following the Viking invasion in 793. They travelled around the North of England with his body and extraordinary relics for years. They finally settled in Durham in 995. Durham Cathedral has grown from the Anglo-Saxon church built to house his shrine and the monks who cared for it.
Bestselling author of The Song of Hild, Vibeke Vasbo, said: “This is a tender story of love and longing and belonging in the new Christian communities of seventh-century Northumbria. You will want to walk that coast, breathe that air.”
The book is being launched by Sacristy Press, a small, independent, publishing house based in Durham City. Founded in 2011, they publish theology and history, including historical fiction.
Natalie Watson, Commissioning Editor, Sacristy Press, said: “As a Durham publisher, Sacristy Press is very proud to be publishing this book on St Cuthbert’s Day. This is a moving and powerful historical novel, and a must-read for all who love the stories of the Northern saints and want to discover more about the earliest days of Christianity in the North.”
The book is now available in the shop at Durham Cathedral. It is also available to order from the Sacristy Press website. Cuthbert of Farne: A novel of Northumbria’s warrior saint is a 298 page historical novel available in Paperback (£9.99) and hardback (£24.99)