Affiliation with UVic English: Alumni; B.Sc. Maths, Physics & Political Science, 1964
Special Book: Ecclesiastes, Unknown
When did you first read this book: At age six (in 1942, with the assistance of Aunt Dorothea).
Which sentence from this book has special significance for you?
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
What does the sentence mean to you?
Choosing one “special book” is an impossible task from a lifetime of reading them, and writing them. My first thought was for Pilgrim’s Progress (also read to me at age six, by my mother’s guardian, Aunt Dorothea, the daughter of an Anglican Bishop), with its “All the trumpets sounded” and Bunyan’s magnificent hymn. But the language of the King James Bible over-arches all other scribblings, both in the majesty of its prose and irony in its message. I could never approach the former but the latter probably turned me to writing political thrillers. The reason that I have chosen the passage from Ecclesiastes, together with further details of Aunt Dorothea and my mother may be found in my new novel, The Charlatan Variations.