The word isolate, Gavin Francis notes in Island Dreams (Canongate), comes from the adoption of the Italian isolare: to make into an island. Publication of his book, which was originally scheduled for early May, was postponed until today (October 1) because of a pandemic that has forced many people into unwanted isolation. Francis, who is both a GP and an award-winning writer, is a longstanding islophile. His book is, he says, “a simple and sincere cartography of my own obsession with the twinned but opposing allures of island and city, of isolation and connection”. The author was interviewed earlier this week by Jeremy Bassetti, who runs the website Travel Writing World.