Lamorna Ash’s first book, Dark, Salt, Clear is subtitled Life in a Cornish Fishing Town. It depicts in forensic detail the social structure, hardships and perilous way of life of the fishing community in Newlyn, in Cornwall’s westernmost tip. Raised in London but Cornish through her mother’s family, Lamorna returns to her roots as part of an anthropology project, but goes far further than the average travel writer in that she doesn’t just sit in pubs listening to fishermen’s tall tales but goes to sea with them on a variety of boats and is taught to work alongside them. The immersive experience unsettles and moves her far more than she’d expected it to and gives her renewed faith in the power of community. Given the current ominous drift of Brexit negotiations, her book may end up being a precious record of a rapidly vanishing culture. In this short film Lamorna talks about the genesis of the book and of the sad shock of the pandemic meaning that it was published without the support of book festivals talks and the like. But she also talks about how hearing from her growing readership has stopped lockdown feeling quite so isolating.
Realising the pandemic obliged this year’s North Cornwall Book Festival to be postponed to October 2021, NCBF has made a series of short films featuring the home and writing lives of the authors who would have spoken in 2020. These films were made with funding from Arts Council England’s emergency fund and FEAST. www.ncornbookfest.org.