Meet the Literary Magic Team

From Geoff Anderson, Senior Editor:

I was born in the industrial heartland of England, spent my childhood in the inner city and my teenage years in a rural idyll. I was educated in a grammar school, the only one founded by King Charles I. Not long after I left, English grammar schools suffered the same fate as that unfortunate king.

I read French with Russian at Exeter University, getting my Masters in 1966. I then set about developing my thesis into a PhD, which required frequent research trips to the library at the Sorbonne in Paris. It was on one of these research trips, in the spring of 1967, that my life changed course. Revolution was in the air (the riots would happen the following year) and I made the mistake of reading Dr Zhivago. The scent of boulevard blossoms mingled with Pasternak’s poetic treatment of love and revolution, and the intoxicating mixture went to my head. I had good reason to believe in the power of words ever since because a novel convinced me to abandon academia. In the jargon of the times, I ‘dropped out’.

The first thing I did was to take my verse translation of a 13th century French miracle play on a tour of English cathedrals. During this project I met my Chicagoan wife, so reading Pasternak hadn’t been such a bad idea after all. Lynn and I married on 6.9.69 because we loved each other very much and liked the numbers (In American the date is palindromic 9.6.69). We made furniture for four years in a commune in Liverpool to finance our playwriting and producing. Then we got religion and four children, which took a bit longer.

I toured the country with my biblical musicals (I wrote the lyrics but can’t claim credit for the music – nor the book) and sometimes wrote comic sketches instead of sermons. In 2002 I became an Associate Writer with the international publishers, Redemptorist Publications. I write for their Anglican department; my editor is Jane Williams, wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury. I always feel it’s a bit too much like hard work when a commission comes in, but then I feel great when the money goes into the bank.

In 2003 I wrote a satirical article, prophesying that by 2020 our cathedrals will be sports stadia, which would help defray the enormous cost of maintaining these ancient buildings and at the same time alleviate our shortage of large sports venues in Britain. The item was published in the BBC’s ‘Book of the Future’. I’ve had a Christmas story published in the Church Times, a UK national.

In 1990, I completed a correspondence course in Writing for Children and Teenagers, and sixteen years later I finished my first novel – I don’t believe in hanging around. Taken on by a very small publisher, The Legend of Aranrhod won an award for selling in unusual numbers for a debut novel.

I am blessed with a nice home, a lovely wife, three sons and a daughter. Two of the sons (and their wives) have given us three granddaughters and two grandsons, the oldest born in 2005. A 6th grandchild is due from them in mid-Feb 2010.

I enjoy watching sport and sci-fi on television, and drink a glass of red wine most evenings (for medicinal purposes). I’m a paid-up member of Spotify, an online music site that makes millions of items of music, of every genre imaginable, available for listening (but not downloading), so I listen to a lot of music and have broadened my appreciation considerably.

I spent 2009 mostly writing up the first volume of my autobiography – for my descendants rather than for publication. It covers the years from my birth to 19, when I went to university. In 2010 I’ve been archiving a load of old reel-to-reel tapes, unplayed for over four decades. I was amazed to discover on them over 50 ‘tracks’ of me singing to guitar, which I did a lot of in the 1960s (who didn’t? I hear you ask). On some tracks it sounds like I joined a girls’ band – if only we’d pursued it, we could have been The Spice Girls And A Boy decades before time.

Hopefully in 2010 I shall be able to continue my sequel to The Legend of Aranrhod, which I made a good start on over a year ago, before the autobiograpy bug hit me.

The book that has made the greatest impact on me after Dr Zhivago was The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro.

From Charles Brooks III, Poetry Editor:

Charles Clifford Brooks III has been published in The Dead Mule, Eclectica, Gloom Cupboard, Cerebration, Underground Voices, Alba, Deep South, Zygote in My Coffee, Prick of the Spindle, Conversations, Unlikely 2.0, and The Cartier Street Review. His poetry has been featured on the Joe Milford Poetry Show. Charles Clifford believes every artist should join the Guerilla Poetics Project. His first book of poetry, Whirling Metaphysics, will be published by Leaf Garden Press in 2010.