Personal History

I'm Cornish, and very proud of it. It's where I live now. I've been married four times, which seems extraordinary even to me: twice divorced, once widowed. I live with my fourth wife Angela, a Canadian, and I have three children: Caitlin, Sean and Ross.

Favourite poets: Pushkin, Frost, Akhmatova, Shakespeare, Yeats, Charles Causley, Emily Dickinson.
Music: Sibelius, Rachmaninov, Elgar, American musical, Cornish methodist hymns... Johnny Cash, spirituals.
Avourite painters: Vermeer, Munch.
I love: singing round a piano; elegant, feminine women in vintage fashion; rugby, cricket, smoking, politics when there's some drama and conflict, political incorrectness.


You can find out a lot more by linking to my blog - though I haven't written in it for many months and I've been too busy writing other things. My blog is where I'm inclined to rant. or of course you could read my memoirs 'Memories & Hallucinations' and 'Bleak Hotel'.

A chronology...
1935 b. Carnkie, Redruth, Cornwall, to Harold and Amy Thomas. My father was a plasterer.
1940-45 Trewirgie Primary School, Redruth.
46-49. Redruth Grammar School.
49. Moved with my parents to Melbourne, Australia, following my sister Lois, a war-bride.
49-51 University High School, Melbourne.
51. Returned to England, to live in Carnkie. again Redruth G.S.
53-55 National Service, mostly learning Russian.
55-58. Read English at New College, Oxford.
Took first-class honours.
58. Married Maureen Skewes.
59. First publication, a short story in the Univ magazine 'Isis'.
59-63 taught English at Teignmouth G.S.
1960 death of my father. Birth of our daughter Caitlin.
1962 Birth of Sean.
63-78. Lectured in English at Hereford College of Education.
1968 First book collection, 'Two Voices' (poetry).
75. Death of my mother.
76. Married Denise Aldred.
77. Birth of our son Ross.
78. College closed, accepted redundancy. Published my first novel, 'The Flute-Player'.
78-79. Sabbatical year at New College, Oxford, where I wrote 'The White Hotel' and translated Pushkin.
87. Moved with Denise and Ross to Truro.
98. Death of my second wife Denise.
Published 'Alexander Solzhenitsyn: a Century in his Life'.
99. Married Victoria Field.
2004. First (and only) play, 'Hell Fire Corner', produced at the Hall for Cornwall.
2005 married Angela Embree.