‘On This Holy Island’ with Oliver Smith

Pilgrimage is figuring large in travel books by British-based writers. Last year there was Gail Simmons’s Between the Chalk and the Sea. In March, Phoebe Smith is to publish Wayfarer. Also due in March, I’ve just learned, is the debut narrative travel book from Oliver Smith, who has won numerous awards for his journalism. In On This Holy Island (Bloomsbury Continuum), he says on X (properly known as Twitter), he “explores different kinds of pilgrimage in Britain made across time and landscape. Writing it was an extraordinary journey. Why did I want to write this book? Because I sensed the places I profiled — holy islands, holy mountains, holy wells — all had something profound to say about human needs and desires. That they were in some way mirrors to our souls.”

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