Thank you for looking me up and welcome to the website I have revised in June 2018. I have made substantial changes since I opened the website a few years ago because I have now retired from my career in radio and TV and become a full time writer and lecturer. In 2015 I stepped down after eleven happy years as Head of Studies at EsoDoc, an EU Media financed training workshop to encourage filmmakers to work in the area of human rights (see more under Lecturing and Teaching). The same year my third biography was published by Robson Press. It is called "A Very Private Celebrity: The Nine Lives of John Freeman". It is about the mysterious polymath who died recently aged nearly 100 and it is based on an article I wrote about him in the New Statesman magazine in 2013. Please forgive the self-promotion but as one of the aims of this www. is to sell the book I feel justified to tell you that the national press called the biography 'superb', 'enthralling' and 'rivetting' and this encouraged me to expand the article into a book. Rather to my surprise it was copiously reviewed. The Daily Telegraph Book Club made it Book of the Week and the Daily Mail published 3 pages of extracts. I was interviewed about it on BBC Radio. I hope you will read more under ‘Books’ and even buy a signed copy from Amazon.
That same autumn of 2015 I had another article published by the New Statesman magazine, ‘Let Cowards Flinch’ (see under Articles). That was the fifth article over the previous two to three years, so I may call myself an occasional New Statesman writer, another move in the transition from film teaching to writing.
Then I began writing 'Up Top', a history of the former mental hospital near where I live in Wales. 'Up Top' is what it was called in the small town of Talgarth and it has a double meaning of course. 'Up Top' because it was on a hill above but invisible from the town; out of sight but also out of mind. Other old mental hospitals that began as asylums were called 'round the bend' for a similar reason.It's really a book about how our society has treated the mentally ill in hospitals over the last 100 years, from asylums for lunatics to community care. The book is based on personal testimonies and archive records and in May 2018 it was published by YLolfa. It has shocking and sad stories but, as you will read I hope, some heart warming tales as well.
Please read my new blog 'Asylum' for my views on the subject..
My wife (Margaret Percy) and I launched the book at the Hay Literary Festival, the largest in the world, in May 2018. The response was gratifying as we spoke to an audience of 400-500 people, many of whom bought the book.
The aim of my website is to encourage you to buy, even commission, my books and to show you from my articles the variety of my historical interests. It is also to see that one of my loves is lecturing, whether on cruise ships or at film festivals. Under Lecturing and Teaching you will find the www addresses that lead to my entries on ships cruising and literature festival websites.
As for my film teaching, I want to show you what EsoDoc does (after all, British tax payers still help pay for it), encourage you to invite me to show you my presentation of human rights filmmaking and, if relevant, even apply for ESoDoc workshops.
For how long the UK will continue to support the EU Creative Arts is a moot point. Probably in two years time when we have Brexited all this will come to an end. What an unnecessary disaster!!