Friday, December 10, 2010

Deganwy Authors’ Day and Book Fair

David Thorpe is giving a reading from his book Hybrids and a signing tomorrow as part of Deganwy Authors’ Day and Book Fair, from 10-4pm at Quay Hotel, Deganwy, near Conwy, LL31 9DJ. More at:

The day's schedule is:

10.15 Dewi Roberts
Christmas in Wales
Publisher: Seren Books
Dewi Roberts has compiled many anthologies. Christmas in Wales and A Childhood Anthology were both published by Seren Books.

10.30 Rosalie Marsh Winner of International Book Award
Adventure and Travel Writer
Just us Two
Publisher: Author House
Ned and Rosie were empty nesters, and born again bikers. They travelled thousands of miles across Europe and rediscovered their lost youth.

10. 45 Natalie Scott
Publisher: Mudfrog
Natalie is based in Teesside and has been involved in writing projects for 15 years. Currently works at Prior Pursglove College in Guisborough.

11.00 Elaine Walker
The Horses
Publisher: Cinnamon
Has a doctorate in English literature. Elaine lectures for the Open
University, the University of Wales, and the Open College of the Arts. She is also a successful Rock Musician. The Horses is her second novel.

11.15 David Thorpe Winner of Harper Collins Award
Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins
David is the author of How the World Works, Doc Chaos: the Chernobyl
Effect, besides writing comic and cartoon strips. He has also written much environmental material.

11.40 Peter Griffiths
Tongue Tied
Publisher: Y Lolfa
Peter’s background is Investment Business and he moved to the States in 1972. Returning to Wales in the late Nineties.

12.00 Bryce Thomas
Publisher: Thomas Hamilton
Bryce graduated from Leeds University with a degree in law but left the legal world behind him to become a farmer. Living close to the land, and his involvement with nature, inspired him to write Rhamin.

12.20 Angela Topping
Publisher: Salt
Her poems have been published widely and her children’s work is included in 45 anthologies.

12.40 Dr Graham Lawler
Writer and Educator
Back to the Black
Publisher: Aber
Graham is the BBC Bitesize Maths author. Also wrote Understanding
Maths with a foreword by the late Arthur C Clarke and co-wrote Channel 4 TV’S Family Counts.

1.00 Break for Lunch and the Colwyn Bay Male Voice Choir in the Conference Room.

2.30 Clare Dudman Winner Kathleen Fiddler Award.
Historical Novel Winner Art Council of England Award
A Place Of Meadows And Tall Trees.
Publisher: Seren Books
To research for her novel Clare travelled across the Patagonian desert in a bus, and then took The Old Patagonian Express in the Andes. Along the way she met the descendants of Welsh settlers who came here in 1865. Other research included intensive courses in Welsh and shamanism. Written several non-fiction books

3.00 Gwen Davies
Anthology of Folk Horror
Sing Sorrow Sorrow, Dark and Chilling Tales
Publisher: Seren Books
Sing Sorrow Sorrow is a chilling collection of supernatural myth and otherworldly horror stories.

3.20 Gladys Mary Coles Winner of Welsh Arts Council Writers’ Award.
Publisher: Flambard
Gladys Mary has written 10 collections of poetry. Clay is her debut novel. She runs the Ruthin based Headland Publications, and tutors creative writing at Liverpool University.

3.45 Mike Wood
Talks About Publishing
Ward Wood Publishing
Ward Wood Publishing is based in London and Wales.

4.00 Finish.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New book, blogs and appearances

Captain Britain Hard Cover OmnibusDavid will be reading and answering questions at a literature and storytelling night for children on Friday, 10 September, 6pm in Carad, East Street, Rhayader, LD6 5ER, mid-Wales. Tel. 01597 810192.

Captain Britain Hard Cover OmnibusNew Captain Britain Hard Cover Omnibus out.

• Guest blog at The Ecologist magazine on the great British Refurbishment campaign and the new Coalition Government's Green Deal.

• Guest blog at Dragon Tongue about the influence of landscape in mid-Wales on writers.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

How to vote tactically for a greener new government

Thanks to Frannie Armstrong for this!

A Tory government would be a disaster for the environment and climate change.

Their candidates rank climate change as 19th out of 19 most important issues and want to decrease onshore wind and increase North Sea oil drilling. Their party is riddled with climate sceptics (with one even rumoured to be lurking in the shadow cabinet).

There are six seats (Battersea, Brighton Kemptown, Calder Valley, Colne Valley, Hove and Stroud) where the Green vote is large enough to give a Labour seat to the Tories.

There are at least three (including Carshalton and Wallington, Dorset West and Torridge and West Devon) where it would either give a Lib Dem seat to the Tories or prevent the Lib Dems from taking one from them.

So we urge everyone who understands the precipice on which we all stand to be highly tactical with their vote:

  • If you live in a hope-in-hell constituency, vote Green: Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion (now the bookies' favourite), Tony Juniper in Cambridge, Adrian Ramsay in Norwich South and Darren Johnson in Lewisham Deptford.
  • If you're in a Labour-Tory marginal, steel your environmentalist's heart and vote Labour rather than Green
  • If you're in a Lib Dem-Tory marginal, vote Lib Dem rather than Green
  • If you're in a Labour-Lib Dem marginal, vote for Labour, with an eye on helping stop Clegg siding with the Tories if there's a hung parliament. (Clegg said last week that he'd be happy to work with the Tories as long as they concurred on four policies - fairer taxes, a shake-up of the education system and economic and political reform. Nothing else important, Nick?)
  • If you're in a safe seat for any of the three main parties vote Green to add one more to the Greens' total and strengthen the case for proportional representation next time.

Meanwhile, till Friday morning, you can watch The Age of Stupid free for 48 hours - from now till the polls close tomorrow night.

Captain Britain and The Siege of Camelot is out!

cover of Captain Britain and The Siege of CamelotCaptain Britain and The Siege of Camelot is out, which contains my work on Captain Britain and a new introduction written by myself - plus one by the writer of the Black Knight series, Steve Parkhouse, as well as the feature and art from the Captain Britain Summer Special and Inside Comics - A short history of Captain Britain by Alan Moore.

It contains the Captain Britain strips from Marvel Super Heroes Nos.377 - 389 and The Daredevils Nos. 1 - 11 chronicling the stories by myself, Alan Moore and Alan Davis. It costs £12 from Forbidden Planet.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bored with the election? Try these new political parties...

Fed up of the same old politics and policies?

I thought I'd invent a few more. These are parties you can trust:

The Utopia Party

Believe: Utopia is a state of mind not a place.

Happiness is more important than wealth; and happiness is an attitude: we are already in the best of all possible worlds. It's just your mindset that needs adjusting.

Vote for us and we'll help you to change it.

The Retro Party

Believe: Things were better in the old days.

Vote for us and we'll turn the clock back. We'll:
  • Close down the internet

  • Bring back hanging

  • Bring back pounds shillings and pence (and farthings)

  • Only two tv channels

  • And four Trebor Chews for a penny

Vote for simpler times!

The Parity Party

Believe: The Poverty Gap - the difference between incomes in society - is responsible for most of our social ills.

So in future everyone will be paid the same salary pro rata no matter what job they do. Then people will choose the job they do because they want to do it not because it pays more.

Greedy people will leave the country: good riddance.

Bonus: besides creating an equal and happier society we'll save billions on paperwork in tax and NI since it'll be the same for everyone.

UKIP 2: The UK International Party

Believe: We will get the UK out of Europe by towing it to the Indian Ocean - and everyone benefits from a warmer climate.

UKIP 3: The UK Interplanetary Party

Believe: The World is going to hell in a handcart.

So we'll work to take the whole country into space and leave everyone else to fester in their own fetid juices.

The Nothing Party

Believe: We stand for nothing.

Vote for us and you won't be disappointed.

The Criminal Party

Believe: Only known lawbreakers can be MPs.

Result: for the first time you will have fully transparent MPs - you will know that they break the rules. Let's be honest: everyone breaks the rules if they can get away with it.

The Lazy Party

Believe: If you can be arsed to vote for us maybe we'll do something sometime.

Or not.

Like, how about the two day week?

Or is that too much?

Which one will you vote for?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Some nice comments on The Drowning

I'm starting to get some good critical feedback from the first draft... thank you very much. Especially nice to have the very successful Jenny Woolf call the writing "brilliant" and "accomplished".

She asked me soe questions in her email and as they're very interesting it's worth posting some of my responses:

Influences: Alan Garner began as an influence - I remember vividly re-reading The Owl Service (set nearby) when I moved here and admiring again his sparse style, but when I tried to read him again in preparation for writing this I found the style too old fashioned. The influence in style came from more a MEMORY of him, but also a touch of Cormac McCarthy and a beautiful classic of ornithological writing - The Peregrine by J A Baker which is absolutely extraordinary in the number of different ways he finds to describe, say, a bird flying, with powerful observation. This is the first time I've set a book in a place where I live, and I did a lot of exploring and photography and talking to people.

Publisher: I have no publisher as yet. A Welsh publisher, Seren, has expressed interest, but they have little reach outside Wales unfortunately. Seren has an interesting new series updating/reinterpreting Welsh myths.

Structure: I'd pictured the opening as curling into the narrative. You see Gary, then Bryn, then Gary again. You realise both are victims in their own way, though Bryn only of Gary. So, why? Gary is the character with the furthest development arc to travel. You follow Gary through the storm, and its aftermath until he is forced into the company of Bryn on the run and the core story begins.

Bryn and Gary represent polar opposites. One endures the other dies. But it's suggested that what the one who died represents is a quality that is really the more enduring. We've sacrificed so much and we will lose more, but it is nature that endures. The land outlives us and we are blinks in its eyes. Even the legends have life beyond us.

Gary's disability cannot be used as an excuse for his irresponsibility. That's what he learns.

The website: The Chance To Create team (see the credits page) stipulated a website in their grant conditions. You wouldn't believe what else - I have to give a seminar to tourism providers in the area about local legends and other novels set locally (there are quite a few - cf also the late great Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising series) to make the area an attractive literary destination! The things a writer has to do to earn a crust!

Anyway, I'm still buzzing from Jenny's comments!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Drowning Novel - draft completed and new website

I've finished a draft of my current novel, The Drowning, and published a website all about it. Go to: The Drowning Novel.

I've begun work on my next non-fiction book - an introduction to solar technology. It's great to alternate between fiction and non-fiction!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

My house is for sale - near the Centre for Alternative Technology

We've just put our house on the market! It's near the Centre for Alternative Technology and is a 3-4 bedroom house plus a self-contained one-bed 'granny-flat' or sublet on the side, by a river! It's been well-renovated and has a large garden and has loads of potential. Only £185k! I love the whole valley - I'm just moving to a smaller place in the valley. I even spent a while commuting to London for work - you can go there and back in a day by train. More info?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bounty for the first citizen's arrest on Tony Blair!

Today we are launching a new fund – – to reward people who attempt to arrest the former prime minister for his crimes in Iraq. George Monbiot has written the text - and it's his idea. My part is to design and manage the site. More on the website and George's blog.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Murals, myths and Mid-Wales

I'm hard at work writing The Drowning, and it's when you're deeply immersed in something that coincidences start to happen.

I was going to Borth (the village I drown in the book), and pulled up at random, by the sea front. I'd always known there were mosaics embedded in the wall at one point, but finding myself parked right beside them I took a closer look.

They depict two myths I am using in The Drowning. Here they are:

Mosaic by Pod Clare of the Cantre'r Gwaelod myth in Borth, Ceredigion, Wales

This is a mosaic by Pod Clare of the Cantre'r Gwaelod myth in Borth, Ceredigion, Wales. The myth tells of the drowning of Cardigan Bay when a prince meant to be keeping guard over the floodgates falls asleep, drunk on the job. On the right you can see the water flooding in to cover the land.

Mosaic by Pod Clare of the myth of the origin of Taliesin, in Borth, Ceredigion, Wales

This depicts the origin of Taliesin, and shows him being discovered floating in the reeds after his birth, by Elffin, the son of King Gwyddno Garanhir, 'Lord of Ceredigion', while fishing for salmon. As soon as he was found he announced that he was a poet, and began spouting poetry. The prince called him Shining Brow, which means Talisein, or blessed (radiant) one. Round the edge you can see the chase, when Ceridwen tried to kill him because he stole the special wisdom-bestowing broth meant for her ugly son, Avagddu. Using his new magical powers, Gwion, as he was then, turned himself into a hare, fish, bird and grain of corn. In turn, Ceridwen transformed into a greyhound, otter, hawk and hen, and pecked at the grain until she had swallowed Gwion.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Captain Britain - order it!

David Thorpe's work is in this Captain Britain omnibus• David has a profile on the new website for school visits Author Hotline.

And although it's behind schedule you can order the Captain Britain collection featuring his work from Marvel Comics, and while you're at it, the omnibus published last year

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Ideas behind The Drowning

A note on the context of the writing of The Drowning, and the philosophical approach I'm taking to conceiving and writing the book.

It touches on the theme of how 'nature' is a human cultural construct - cf Simon Schama's brilliant book Landscape and Memory.

The two main characters in my novel epitomise opposing attitudes to 'nature':
• as a place in which you must survive, and therefore understand and know how to use, and
• as an unknown out-there-ness.

Climate change in my book presents a crisis that suggests to the reader that enduring, but changing, nature puts the brief period of  human 'civilisation' in its tiny context.

The book does this partly by using Welsh mythology and updating it.