OA 2024 Issue 05

Please contact us if you have had work published and would like it featured in the next edition oa@dulwich.org.uk


A selection of published books from OAs and those in our community.

David Bowie, Enid Blyton and the sun machine Photos by Stephen Finer (61–66)

Rational Creatures Paul Ashton (57–63)

This one-of-a-kind book, written by Nicholas Royle, brings together two remarkably different creative figures – Enid Blyton and David Bowie – to create a memoir and cultural commentary that delves deeply into questions about the value of art, music and literature. The book contains previously unpublished photos of Bowie taken by artist Stephen Finer, whose portrait of the musician has hung in the National Portrait Gallery since 1995 and is one of the most popular portraits in its collection. Dragon Rider is the first book in Taran’s debut adult fantasy series, which introduces a rich world of magic, warriors and dragons. It tells the story of Jai, who was born a third-string prince to a people at war but who has lived most of his life as a hostage, forced to serve the man who murdered his father. When the empire descends into chaos, Jai escapes with Frida, an ambitious handmaiden from a neighbouring kingdom, and a stolen dragon hatchling. Hunted at every turn, he must learn to cultivate the power and strength of the dragon in order to find safety and seek his revenge. Dragon Rider Taran Matharu (04–09) Alexander’s debut book considers Malawi as a study in how Westerners, from David Livingstone and the early missionaries to today’s tourists, aid workers and Madonna, interact with cultures very different from their own. Central to the story is the life of Malawi’s eccentric first president, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who sought to promote the study of Classics in Africa. This story is combined with a memoir of Alexander’s own experiences in Malawi, first as a teacher of Latin and Greek and later as a medical doctor. The book presents important lessons relating to the ongoing debate about colonialism and has received warm endorsements from UK and Malawi writers alike. If I Were Me is a psychological thriller following PC Charlie Quinlan’s recovery from a traumatic incident, during which time allegations of serious offences are made against her. Suspended from her job, she is the only person who can free herself from the nightmare unfolding, but Charlie’s memory starts to play tricks on her and her investigations begin to reveal something sinister. The sequel, If We Were One , delves deeper into Charlie’s traumatic upbringing in a children’s home and her determination to track down her abusers, as well as the devastating impact this has had on her life and the threat it poses to her career. Goodbye, Dr Banda Alexander Chula (pseudonym) If I Were Me and If We Were One Paul Durston (71–78) Mirrors of Greatness: Churchill and the Leaders Who Shaped Him David Reynolds (61–70) David is a British historian and Emeritus Professor of International History at the University of Cambridge. Mirrors of Greatness is his latest historical book, and it explores how Winston Churchill’s path was defined by the leaders he encountered along the way – friends and foes, at home and abroad. It was listed as one of The Telegraph’s best history books of 2023 and has been described as ‘a highly imaginative and thought-provoking’ exploration of a man who, like him or loathe him, left an indelible mark on our age.

Beginning with an epigraph from Animal Farm , this fantasy novel paints a picture of a possible future where animals, the rational creatures, have rescued their world from the humans intent on destroying it. Creatures from all over the world, from elephants and flamingos to worms and bacteria, meet in small democratic councils to decide on plans of action against climate change before disseminating the information worldwide via a system of couriers. The central theme may be sombre, but Paul’s writing style makes this a witty and compelling read. Rory’s much-anticipated memoir recounts his search for the truth behind his isolated childhood. This compelling journey of discovery begins when Rory has the job of clearing out the one-bedroom council flat in Ruskin Park that he had grown up in with his mother, Sylvia, and his much older half-brother. Before her death, Sylvia had collected letters and diaries revealing the intricacies of her affair with Rory’s father, Jim Cellan-Jones, into a box labelled, ‘For R, to read and think about in the hope that it will help him to understand how things were.’ After meeting in the BBC Drama department, Sylvia and Jim began an intense but ill-fated relationship, plagued by the restrictive forces of post-war respectability and prejudice. The book is a captivating family detective story and a poignant social history of Britain –a small-scale BBC drama in itself. Ruskin Park: Sylvia, Me and the BBC Rory Cellan-Jones (67–76) In The Phoenix Economy, journalist Felix explores the ramifications of the pandemic years and makes sense of one of the most disorienting and devastating events of our lifetimes. He examines the aspects of our lives that have been transformed in three separate parts: Time and Space, Mind and Body, and Business and Pleasure. His observations, on everything from meme stocks to the price of lobster rolls, are backed by his understanding of financial markets and the quirks of human behaviour. The book is an insightful and fast-paced read that provides a better understanding of the effects of this new normal and what lies ahead. The Rest is History Co-written by Iain Hollingshead, teacher of History at Dulwich College From the chart-topping podcast The Rest is History , this book is a whistle-stop tour through the past, taking on the most curious moments in history and answering the questions we perhaps did not even think to ask. Iain has a number of books under his belt, and here he has collaborated with ‘the nation’s favourite historians’ Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook. The Phoenix Economy Felix Salmon (82–90) Uncertainty Deconstructed , co-written by Dowshan with Bruce Garvey and Storm Le Roux, questions our tendency to blame uncertainty for inaction or poor decision-making, when we could better lay the blame at the door of poor foresight, inflexible strategy and an unwillingness to apply creative thinking to complex problems. The authors argue that the majority of future events are foreseeable when viewed as ‘inevitable surprises’ or ‘known-unknowns’. As well as getting to grips with uncertainty’s component parts, the authors also present practical approaches to making better decisions under uncertainty. Uncertainty Deconstructed Dowshan Humzah (83–90)


Galápagos Sketchbook David Pollock (61–68)

Cleopatra and The Undoing of Hollywood Patrick Humphries (63–69)

This beautifully produced facsimile of a watercolour artist’s book records many of the most fascinating birds and animals of the Galápagos Islands, with profits going to the Galápagos Trust. David has drawn and painted for as long as he can remember. He favours slow travel over whistle-stop multi-country tours in order to be able to take in all the details of the sights and sounds that surround him. Jeremy has built a reputation as a conceptual artist with a strong focus on community collaboration and provocative political work. Although much has been written about him over the years, this is the first time that Jeremy has tied up the key works of his career, such as a re-enactment of the clash between miners and the riot police and an inflatable Stonehenge, and explored the wide-ranging cultural touchstones that inspired each piece. There is something for everyone in Art is Magic , which Jeremy describes as a children’s book for adults, designed to look like ‘one of those annuals you’d get for Christmas when you were a kid’. Art is Magic Jeremy Deller (77–84) Bright The Vision: Public School Missions from the Victorian Age Contribution by Jeremy Baker (53–60) Edited by Malcom Tozer, this book explores the history of charitable giving from public schools in the Victorian Age. It is composed of individual essays from schools who not only had their own early mission to contribute to the social, moral and spiritual welfare of poor communities, but also had enough material in their archives to support an essay and, more importantly, an author willing to take on the task. Dulwich College’s chapter was written by Jeremy Baker.

Patrick has been a professional writer and journalist for over 40 years with many books to his credit. He began writing about Cleopatra while he was Film Editor at Vox magazine, and Cleopatra and The Undoing of Hollywood is the culmination of years of thorough research, exploring how the film earned its place as one of the most fabled blockbusters of all time. What began in 1958 as a US$2 million vehicle for Joan Collins eventually opened five years later having cost more than 20 times that amount and almost singlehandedly set in motion the decline of the major studios. This memoir begins on the author’s sixth birthday, when he and his mother arrive in Libya to meet his father, a British Army officer who is all but a stranger to him. He later arrives at boarding school, which practised eyes may recognise to be Dulwich College, and finds the emotional support he was craving in friends and teachers. As a young graduate teaching in Nigeria, the author is exposed to new, transformative perspectives, and later unravels hidden scandals in his family. The title Dangerous Ways exploits the various senses of the word ‘way’ by describing both the routes travelled by the author and his habits and behaviour. Dangerous Ways George Buchanan (pseudonym)

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