Independent Publishers Group Logo

Sign up today...
for featured titles, special offers, bestsellers, and more, in your inbox!

Subscribe to receive special offers, monthly books suggestions, seasonal selections, and more!

Journey to St. Thomas
Journey to St. Thomas

Journey to St. Thomas

Tales for Our Time

Illustrated by Cathy Morrison, By Josiah Hatch



392 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth

Cloth, $35.00 (US $35.00) (CA $47.00)

Publication Date: October 2023

ISBN 9781682753347

Rights: WOR

Fulcrum Publishing (Oct 2023)

Price: $35.00


A Twenty-First century reimagining of The Canterbury Tales, set on a vacation cruise in the midst of the pandemic; a wonderful story for our time
Hoping for an adventure (at a discounted price), two dozen strangers set sail for balmy St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. As different from one another as strangers can be, they agree to pass the time by telling stories. As the passengers share their stories, they begin to learn some astonishing things about their neighbors. 
Then, partway through the voyage, they are notified about a virus that has spread across the United States and their destination. The ship is quarantined, and they are destined to loll on the waves of the open sea until a port welcomes them. 
Stuck together in the confines of the ship, the group continues to regale each other with ingenious tales. A Journey to St. Thomas is a modern reimagining of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Josiah Hatch, who studied Anglo Saxon and Middle English languages at Oxford University, writes in iambic pentameter, craftily updating Chaucer’s characters to those on the present-day cruise liner. Touching on topics that include political differences and discord, elitism, economic hardship, and the percived inability of the ordinary citizen to make a difference, this rich and innovative novel captures the humor, insight, and pathos of the original while telling a very modern story 


“Rather than a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas in Canterbury, these voyagers take a cruise to the island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean. Their personal stories, told in rhyme, combine to form a witty and penetrating commentary on life in our time.” —Benedict H. Gross, Professor of Mathematics Emeritus, Harvard University

“Narrative verse in Josiah Hatch’s skilled hands turns out to open the doors to commentary on contemporary life and foibles, social satire, and good old-fashioned comedy.  Chaucer would chuckle. So will you.” — Robert Connor, Director and President, Emeritus, The National Humanities Center

“The book is truly intriguing and unique. The linguistic flow, the telling observations, and the apt illustrations—a panorama of the whole modern scene coming from that small collection of characters on a vessel.” — David Boyd, past Dean and Professor Emeritus Northeastern University; D.Phil, Oxford

“Josiah Hatch’s A Journey to St. Thomas is playful, clever, and compassionate. To me, his poetic writing reflects a keen respect for the value of the individual in human social life.“ — Ian McCallum, South African author of two anthologies of poetry, Wild Gifts (1999) and Untamed (2012),  and the award-winning book Ecological Intelligence

“The book is an explosion of intellect, imagination, and erudition controlled unerringly by a stunning empathy for the dangerously diverse narratives that occupy the minds of contemporary Americans. In poetry, this master craftsman has found the right medium. . . . Hatch’s rhyme captures more vividly than prose possibly could the author’s wit and the poignance of his characters’ tales. He is our Whitman and has produced a work of genius.’’  — Tom Farer, University Professor, University of Denver

“Josiah Hatch’s Journey to St. Thomas could not be more fun. Hip, instructive without being didactic, the tales tickle an old funny bone grown outworn by desuetude. All this and heroic verse.”  Bruce Ducker, author of Dizzying Heights: The Aspen Novel

“A tour de force. Read, recite, and enjoy.” – Bob Baron, author and publisher; past Chair, Wild Foundation

“Tales for our time, indeed: a stimulating mix of occupations representing much of the range of US society. Modern cruise passengers in the age of COVID as pilgrims à la Chaucer: it’s a clever conceit. Writing in iambic pentameter over nearly four hundred pages is no small feat, and Hatch has devised myriad entertaining rhymes to keep it going.”  Scott E. Casper, President of the American Antiquarian Society

Author Biography

Cathy Morrison is a children's book illustrator working from her home studio in northern Colorado. Her studio overlooks the Mummy Range, the northern side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Josiah Hatch was born in Savannah, Georgia, a fourth generation Georgian. He attended Princeton University, where he graduated summa cum laude, majoring in Ancient Greek and Latin with a minor in music theory.  A Marshall scholar at Pembroke College, Oxford, he studied Anglo-Saxon and Middle English. He spent a year in Italy studying Latin literature, history and art.    After studying at Oxford, Josiah moved to Washington, serving as a museum administrator at the Smithsonian Institution, a speechwriter and political aide, and, after obtaining a law degree from Georgetown, a lawyer.