Reading, Talk

  • Image: Homesick, Catrina Davies, cover art by Nathan Burton, The Salt Path, Raynor Winn, cover art by Angela Harding. Photograph © CAST, 2019

HOME AND HOMELESSNESS | Catrina Davies and Raynor Winn

Authors Raynor Winn and Catrina Davies will discuss their recent memoirs, each of which recounts a personal experience of homelessness. Grappling with class, economics, mental health and nature, these moving and inspiring stories shine a light on the country-wide housing crisis.

In her memoir, Homesick: Why I Live in a Shed, Catrina takes us back to when she was 31 years old, renting a box-room in a shared house in Bristol. Working several jobs and never knowing if she could make the rent, she felt like she was breaking apart. Homesick for the landscape of her childhood in West Penwith, Catrina decided to face her demons. As a child she saw her family and their security torn apart. Now she resolved to make a tiny, dilapidated shed a home of her own.

With the freedom to write, make music and fill her life with meaningful things, Catrina rebuilt the shed and, piece by piece, her own sense of self. On the border of civilisation and wilderness, between the woods and the sea, she discovered the true value of home, while trying to find her place in a fragile natural world.

Raynor Winn is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling memoir, The Salt Path. Just days after Raynor learned that her husband was terminally ill, their home was taken away and they lost their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they made the impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall. Living wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky, through every step, every encounter and every test along the way, their walk became a remarkable journey. The Salt Path is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.

Catrina and Raynor will be in conversation with Colin Midson, curator of the Word Nights series at CAST.

Catrina Davies was born in Snowdonia and grew up around Land’s End, Cornwall. She has worked as a DJ, gardener, circus cellist, cleaner, TEFL teacher, dog walker, flower-picker, builder and waitress. Her first book The Ribbons are for Fearlessness is a memoir about busking from Norway to Portugal. 

Raynor Winn writes about nature, homelessness and wild camping. Since her journey along the South West Coastal Path, documented in the Salt Path she has become a regular long-distance walker. She lives in Cornwall and her second novel Wild Silence will be released at the end of May next year.