God's Islanders: The Story of Gigha by Catherine Czerkawska
Home ] Up ] Photo Galleries ] Town Guides ] Notables ] Community ] News ] Places ] History ] Search ] Contact Us ]


God's Islanders, a History of the People of Gigha by Catherine Czerkawska, has just been published by Birlinn Ltd. It is a hardback, 300 pages, with some lovely old photographs, and may be of interest to family history researchers everywhere. Many people in the Carrick region have a Gigha family connection or have visited the island and been enchanted by it. The book is available from local bookshops in Ayrshire, including Waterstones, and W.H. Smiths, and also online direct from Birlinn, and from Amazon.

Book Description: The island of Gigha is a small gem, the most southerly of the true Hebridean islands, lying just off Tayinloan on Scotland's Kintyre Peninsula. The name Gigha may mean God's Island although Norse invaders probably knew it as the 'isle of the good harbours' because although the island is less than seven miles long, it has an astonishing twenty- five miles of coastline and a great number of small, sheltered bays. A few years ago, Gigha was the subject of the largest community buyout in British history, and as well as writing about the complex history of the islanders, the author examines the relationship between a contemporary island community and its own rich past.

Catherine Czerkawska is a frequent contributor to the Maybole website. Her works below are featured on other pages of the site. She is a resident of Kirkmichael and accomplished writer. Her works include novels, plays for theatre and BBC radio, television drama, short stories, articles and creative content of all kinds. Contacts - Email: catherine@wordarts.co.uk swebsite www.wordarts.co.uk  and blogs www.thescottishhome.blogspot.com  and www.wordarts.blogspot.com

THE CURIOSITY CABINET by Catherine Czerkawska published by Polygon in March 2005. ISBN No 1904598420 Paperback. 256pp. Price £8.99.  “A powerful story about love and obligation… a persuasive novel, very well written”: John Burnside. When Alys revisits the beautiful Hebridean island of Garve after an absence of twenty five years, she is enchanted by the embroidered cabinet on display in her hotel. She discovers that it belongs to her childhood playmate Donal, now a creel fisherman, and soon they resume their old friendship. Interwoven with the story of their growing love, is the darker tale of Henrietta, kidnapped by the fearsome Manus McNeill and held on Garve against her will. With three hundred years separating them, the women are linked by the casket, by the tug of motherhood and by the island itself. But Garve has its secrets. Donal must learn to trust Alys enough to confide in her and, like Henrietta before her, Alys must earn the right to belong. ...more about the book.


Notes from a talk given to the Maybole Historical Society by Catherine Lucy Czerkawska. 

My own writing tends to have a very strong sense of place, and I find that if I am going to recreate a place accurately, knowing something of its history and background is important. Getting names right is part of that desire for accuracy, part of that feeling for place. Place names are like little gems, dotted about the landscape. They have  complicated interiors, and sometimes turbulent and stressful histories. They are always descriptive and usually accurate but only if you can figure them out. They are like a host of little puzzles.  They reflect the history of an area; and looked at in conjunction with one another they paint a picture as surely as any contemporary account. And you make arbitrary changes to them at your peril.  The rest of the story


It can hardly be called a book at all – there are just a few yellowing pages, bound together though some of them are coming loose, and around the edges are the marks of the bonfire that destroyed the rest of it. Sadly, this was no accidental fire.

“A friend had died” said the lady who lent me the manuscript.” And somebody was clearing out her old desk. When I arrived at her house they had just thrown this on the bonfire. I nearly burned my fingers trying to rescue it, but this was all I could get out of the flames.”  Catherine Lucy Czerkawska.  The rest of the story