Ian Whybrow taught English at John Lyon in the 1980s and 1990s before becoming such a successful children's author that he decided to leave us! Fortunately for us, he has kept in contact with the School - and is a great source of information about former staff when we are trying to track someone down!
Earlier in the summer he got in touch to let us know about his lockdown poetry writing:
"I’ve written more than a hundred children’s books in my career but lockdown has allowed me to focus on poetry – and the chance to raise some money for Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope a unique and important little charity, of which I'm a proud patron, along with Joanna Lumley. What it does is provide prosthetic limbs and care for amputee children in Africa and India who can’t afford either.
"Since 15 July 2020, I’ve been writing at least one poem a day for a collection called Poetry with Legs. Inspired by the legendary Captain Tom, I am hoping that Lyonians and OLs might sponsor me while I stagger to get to the finishing line of my own particular marathon. Everything donated will go to the charity, details of which can be found at www.ianwhybrow.co.uk and https://elizabethslegacyofhope.org."
Ian also sent us a selection of poems for the BBC see here:BBC selection.
Ian, however, is not alone amongst Lyonians who have become authors. A number of others have been in touch recently about their books which may well be of interest to OLs who knew the authors and more generally:
Martin Thiebaut (OL 1951 - 1958) has written many books under the pseudonym of Graham Fulbright. He lists the following amongst his work:
'Driving Mad' - illustrated compendium of maniacal driving habits.
'The Man with a Charmed Life' - with tributes to Hitchcock's 'North by Northwest', this geopolitical thriller sees a Brussels-based English interpreter recruited to thwart the ambitions of a French President threatening world peace.
'The Khazar Codex" - part theological, part historical thriller with a West End theatre's revival of Tom Stoppard's 'Arcadia' as its starting-point.
'The Milan Briefcase' - thriller set against the backdrop of the unconscionably one-sided reporting of Ukraine's continuous shelling of and drone attacks on children and the elderly in the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.
'Snowcub' (scheduled for publication end-June 2021) - in tandem with a furry creature's quest for self-realisation, this is the story of a young girl's bid to wake people up to yet another inconvenient truth, that of animal rights.
Douglas Model (OL 1944 - 1948) also sent us his lovely book "My Friend The Sea" (also available on Amazon!). Douglas writes:
"It is a story of adventure about an Old Lyonian who joined the Merchant Navy and travelled the world by sea for ten years, visiting faraway lands such as Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the remote island of Pitcairn at a time before globalisation, when each country was the way it had been for many decades.
"The story starts with two years on a Spartan Training Ship, followed by eight years roaming the world, experiencing the beauty of the sea in all its moods, sometimes as flat as a sheet of steel, at other times like a roaring angry tiger. Along the way, I met all manner of men, eccentric relatives in Australia, old friends in New Zealand, a drunken captain, and another captain who was a tyrant. On passenger ships there were girls aplenty. The story even involves quelling a mutiny. But eventually, after a youth like almost no other, inspired by all I had experienced and seen, I realised that life as an officer on a large ship was too easy, and that I wanted to lead a more academic life that involved helping people, and finally I lighted upon the idea of trying to become a doctor. The story includes the way I set about that."
And finally, Alan Poulton (OL 1954 - 1961) sent us his autobiography, "A Nice Conundrum, My life in Two Parts." Alan writes of his book:
"An only child brought up in post-war middle-class suburbia. Piano lessons from an early age to relieve the boredom - then seven years at the Lower School of John Lyon between 1954 and 1961.
"Not yet eighteen he is sent out to work in the sales ledge department of an American tyrw manufacturer.
"Four years later he joins the industrial gas giant, British Oxygen (BOC). An enforced early retirement at fifty-two gives him the opportunity to return to his musical roots and to forge a new career as a free-lance pianist and entertainer. Already he has befriended Sir Malcolm Arnold and life for Alan and his family will never be quite the same again...."
For Alan's book, price £15 (post free to OLs) - order via Alan Poulton firstname.lastname@example.org.