Tombland by C. J. Sansom

Tombland, the seventh novel in C. J. Sansom’s Shardlake series is soon being published in paperback. It begins during, 1549. Two years after the death of Henry VIII, and sees England sliding into chaos, The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old and is being threatened with exile.His uncle Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Protector. Meanwhile radical Protestants are astirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry.

Since the old King’s death, Matthew Shardlake has been working as a lawyer in the service of Henry’s younger daughter, the Lady Elizabeth. The gruesome murder of Edith Boleyn, the wife of John Boleyn – a distant Norfolk relation of Elizabeth’s mother – which could have political implications for Elizabeth, brings Shardlake and his assistant Nicholas Overton to the summer assizes at Norwich. There they are reunited with Shardlake’s former assistant Jack Barak. The three find layers of mystery and danger surrounding Edith’s death, as a second murder is committed.

Then East Anglia explodes, as peasant rebellion breaks out across the country. The yeoman Robert Kett leads a force of thousands in overthrowing the landlords and establishing a vast camp outside Norwich. Soon the rebels have taken over the city, Which at the time was England’s second largestThen Shardlake is forced to decide where his loyalties lie when Jack Barack decides to support the rebels, while Nicholas,  opposes them, and becomes a prisoner in Norwich Castle. Meanwhile government forces in London prepare to march north and destroy the rebels. Then Shardlake discovers that the murder of Edith Boleyn may have connections with the rebel camp and the Norfolk gentry . . .

Batman Day

Batman day takes place annually on 17 September to celebrate fictional crime fighting hero Batman. Batman was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27, on 17 September 1939. Originally named the “Bat-Man”, the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World’s Greatest Detective. Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American playboy, philanthropist, and owner of Wayne Enterprises. After witnessing the murder of his parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne as a child, he swore vengeance against criminals, an oath tempered by a sense of justice. Bruce Wayne trains himself physically and intellectually and crafts a bat-inspired persona to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any superpowers; rather, he relies on his genius intellect, physical prowess, martial arts abilities, detective skills, science and technology, vast wealth, intimidation, and indomitable will. A large assortment of villains make up Batman’s rogues gallery, including his archnemy, the Joker.

Batman was created In 1939, when, after the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at National Comics Publications (the future DC Comics) to request more superheroes for its titles. In response, Bob Kane created “the Bat-Man”. Collaborator Bill Finger recalled that “Kane had an idea for a character called ‘Batman,’ and he’d like me to see the drawings. I went over to Kane’s, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of … reddish tights, I believe, with boots … no gloves, no gauntlets … with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign … BATMAN”. The bat-wing-like cape was suggested by Bob Kane, inspired as a child by Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketch of an ornithopter flying device Finger suggested giving the character a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, a cape instead of wings, and gloves. Finger said he devised the name Bruce Wayne for the character’s secret identity: “Bruce Wayne’s first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Wayne, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock … then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne.” He later said his suggestions were influenced by Lee Falk’s popular The Phantom, a syndicated newspaper comic-strip character with which Kane was also familiar. Kane and Finger drew upon contemporary 1930s popular culture for inspiration regarding much of the Bat-Man’s look, personality, methods, and weaponry.

Batman is an aristocratic hero with a double identity, inspired by the Scarlet Pimpernel (created by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, 1903) and Zorro (created by Johnston McCulley, 1919). Like them, Batman performed his heroic deeds in secret, averted suspicion by playing aloof in public, and marked his work with a signature symbol. Kane noted the influence of the films The Mark of Zorro (1920) and The Bat Whispers (1930) in the creation of the character’s iconography. Finger, drawing inspiration from pulp heroes like Doc Savage, The Shadow, Dick Tracy, and Sherlock Holmes, made the character a master sleuth.

Kane signed away ownership in the character in exchange for, among other compensation, a mandatory byline on all Batman comics. This byline did not originally say “Batman created by Bob Kane”; his name was simply written on the title page of each story. The name disappeared from the comic book in the mid-1960s, replaced by credits for each story’s actual writer and artists. In the late 1970s, when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster began receiving a “created by” credit on the Superman titles, along with William Moulton Marston being given the byline for creating Wonder Woman, Batman stories began saying “Created by Bob Kane” in addition to the other credits.

Finger did not receive the same recognition. While he had received credit for other DC work since the 1940s, he began, in the 1960s, to receive limited acknowledgment for his Batman writing; in the letters page of Batman #169 (February 1965) for example, editor Julius Schwartz names him as the creator of the Riddler, one of Batman’s recurring villains. However, Finger’s contract left him only with his writing page rate and no byline. Kane wrote, “Bill was disheartened by the lack of major accomplishments in his career. He felt that he had not used his creative potential to its fullest and that success had passed him by.”[17] At the time of Finger’s death in 1974, DC had not officially credited Finger as Batman co-creator. Jerry Robinson, who also worked with Finger and Kane on the strip at this time, has criticized Kane for failing to share the credit. Kane initially rebutted Finger’s claims at having created Batman. However Finger eventually received credit for his role in Batman’s creation on the 2016 superhero film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the second season of Gotham after a deal was worked out between the Finger family and DC. Finger received credit as a creator of Batman for the first time in a comic in October 2015 with Batman and Robin Eternal #3 and Batman: Arkham Knight Genesis #3.

Batman made his debut in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939) in the story, “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate”, which was originally written in the style of the pulps with Batman showing little remorse over killing or maiming criminals. Batman proved a hit character, and he received his own solo title in 1940 while continuing to star in Detective Comics. By that time, Detective Comics was the top-selling and most influential publisher in the industry; Batman and the company’s other major hero, Superman, were the cornerstones of the company’s success. The two characters were featured side-by-side as the stars of World’s Finest Comics, (World’s Best Comics) whose Creators included Jerry Robinson and Dick Sprang. Elements were gradually added to the character and the artistic depiction of Batman evolved. Batman’s utility belt was introduced in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939), followed by the boomerang-like batarang and the first bat-themed vehicle, the Batplane, in #31 (Sept. 1939). The character’s origin was revealed in #33 (Nov. 1939), establishing the brooding persona of Batman/ Bruce Wayne, who after witnessing his parents’ tragic murder at the hands of a mugger vows to avenge their deaths by spending the rest of his life fighting criminals”.

PART TWO

In 1940 Batman’s junior counterpart Robin was introduced in Detective Comics #38 and The first issue of the solo spin-off series Batman also introduced two of his most persistent enemies, the Joker and Catwoman. By 1942, the writers and artists behind the Batman comics had established most of the basic elements of the Batman mythos. In the years following World War II, DC Comics “adopted a postwar editorial direction removing the bleak and menacing social commentary in favour of lighthearted juvenile fantasy and Batman was instead portrayed as a respectable citizen and paternal figure that inhabited a “bright and colorful” environment.

During the Silver and Bronze ages of the 1950s and early 1960s Batman became one of the few superhero characters to be continuously published. In the story “The Mightiest Team in the World” in Superman #76 (June 1952), Batman teams up with Superman for the first time and the pair discover each other’s secret identity. World’s Finest Comics was subsequently revamped so it featured stories starring both heroes together, instead of separate Batman and Superman stories.

Unfortunately The comic book industry came under scrutiny when psychologist Fredric Wertham published the book book Seduction of the Innocent in 1954 in which Wertham postulated that children imitated crimes committed in comic books, and that these works corrupted the morals of the youth, particularly Batman and Superman. Wertham’s criticisms raised a public outcry during the 1950s, eventually leading to the establishment of the now defunct Comics Code Authority. Scholars have suggested that the characters of Batwoman and the pre-Barbara Gordon Bat-Girl were introduced to allay the allegation that Batman and Robin were gay, and the stories took on a campier, lighter feel. In the late 1950s, Batman stories gradually became more science fiction-oriented, And New characters such as Batwoman, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Bat-Mite were introduced. Batman’s adventures started to include odd transformations or bizarre space aliens. In 1960, Batman debuted as a member of the Justice League of America in The Brave and the Bold #28 (Feb. 1960), before appearing in several Justice League comic series.

Sadly By 1964, sales of Batman titles had fallen drastically and DC was planning to kill Batman off altogether. In response editor Julius Schwartz made drastic changes, beginning with 1964’s Detective Comics #327 (May 1964), when Schwartz introduced more detective-oriented stories. The Batmobile was redesigned, and Batman’s costume was modified to incorporate a yellow ellipse behind the bat-insignia. The space aliens, time travel, and characters of the 1950s such as Batwoman, Ace, and Bat-Mite were retired. Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred was killed off and a new female relative for the Wayne family, Aunt Harriet, came to live with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.

Batman made it’s television debut in 1966. This had a profound influence on the character. The success of the series increased sales throughout the comic book industry. Elements such as the character of Batgirl and the show’s campy nature were introduced and Alfred returned. Predictably Although both the comics and TV show were initially successful the camp approach eventually wore thin and the show was canceled in 1968, and the Batman comics themselves also lost popularity.

In response writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams made a deliberate effort to distance Batman from the campy portrayal of the 1960s TV series and return him to The “grim avenger of the night”. O’Neil and Adams first collaborated on the story “The Secret of the Waiting Graves” in Detective Comics #395 (Jan. 1970). Which featured a grimmer, darker Batman. Detective Comics #471–476 (Aug. 1977 – April 1978), subsequently influenced the 1989 movie Batman and be adapted for Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted in 1992.

During 1986 Frank Miller’s limited series The Dark Knight Returns returned the character to his darker roots, both in atmosphere and tone. The comic book, which tells the story of a 55-year-old Batman coming out of retirement in a possible future, reinvigorated interest in the character and sparked a major resurgence in the character’s popularity. In 1986 Dennis O’Neil took over as editor of the Batman titles and set the template for the portrayal of Batman following DC’s status quo-altering miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths. In the 1987 “Year One” storyline in Batman #404–407 Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli redefined the character’s origins. Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland continued this dark trend with Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the Joker, attempting to drive Commissioner Gordon insane, cripples Gordon’s daughter Barbara, and then kidnaps and tortures the commissioner, physically and psychologically. In 1988 The Batman comics garnered major attention, when DC Comics asked readers to vote on whether Jason Todd, the second Robin, lived or died. The 1993 “Knightfall” story arc introduced a new villain, Bane, who critically injures Batman after pushing him to the limits of his endurance. Jean-Paul Valley, known as Azrael, is called upon to wear the Batsuit during Bruce Wayne’s convalescence.

Writers Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, and Alan Grant worked on “Knightfall”, plus Batman crossovers Cataclysm” and 1999’s “No Man’s Land”, storylines which featured the effects of an earthquake-ravaged Gotham City. Another writer who rose to prominence on the Batman comic series, was Jeph Loeb. Along with longtime collaborator Tim Sale, they wrote two miniseries (“The Long Halloween” and “Dark Victory”) that pit an early in his career version of Batman against his entire rogues gallery (including The Joker, Penguin, catwoman, bane, The Riddler, Poison Ivy and Two-Face). Jeph Loeb and artist Jim Lee then began work on: “Batman: Hush” Which has Batman and Catwoman teaming up against all of Batman’s other enemies whilst pursuing the mysterious supervillain Hush. Bob Schreck also replaced O’Neil as editor. Writer Judd Winick wrote another multi-issue story, “Under the Hood”. In 2005, DC launched All-Star Batman and Robin, a stand-alone comic series set outside the main DC Universe continuity. Written by Frank Miller and drawn by Jim Lee.

From 2006, Grant Morrison and Paul Dini were the regular writers of Batman and Detective Comics, and Morrison began reincorporating controversial elements of Batman lore including the science fiction element from the 1950’s. Morrison’s run climaxed with “Batman R.I.P.”, in which Batman confronts the villainous “Black Glove” organization, which sought to drive Batman into madness. “Batman R.I.P.” segued into Final Crisis (also written by Morrison), in which Batman confronts Darkseid. In the 2009 miniseries Batman: Battle for the Cowl, Wayne’s former protégé Dick Grayson becomes the new Batman, and Wayne’s son Damian becomes the new Robin while Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne saw Bruce travel through history. The story Batman Incorporated features Bruce taking his crime-fighting cause globally. DC Comics announced that Grayson would be the main character in Batman, Detective Comics, and Batman and Robin, while Wayne would be the main character in Batman Incorporated. Bruce also appeared in, Batman: The Dark Knight.

In September 2011, DC Comics’ entire line of superhero comic books, including its Batman franchise, were canceled and relaunched with new #1 issues as part of the New 52 reboot. Bruce Wayne is the only character to be identified as Batman and is featured in Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, and Batman: The Dark Knight. Dick Grayson returns to the mantle of Nightwing and appears in his own ongoing series. Batman Incorporated was relaunched in 2012–2013 to complete the “Leviathan” storyline. Starting with the New 52, Scott Snyder was the writer of the Batman title. He wrote “Night of the Owls”, where Batman confronts the Court of Owls, a secret society that has controlled Gotham for centuries. “Death of the Family”, where the Joker returns to Gotham and simultaneously attacks each member of the Batman family and “Batman: Zero Year”, which redefined Batman’s origin in The New 52. This followed Batman #0, which explored the character’s early years. The final storyline before the “Convergence” (2015) storyline was “Endgame”, where Batman again confronts the Joker.

Starting with Batman vol. 2, #41, Commissioner James Gordon takes over Bruce’s mantle as a new, state-sanctioned, robotic-Batman, debuting in the Free Comic Book Day special comic Divergence. However, Bruce Wayne is soon revealed to be alive, albeit now suffering almost total amnesia of his life as Batman and only remembering his life as Bruce Wayne through what he has learned from Alfred. Bruce Wayne finds happiness and proposes to his girlfriend, Julie Madison. However the villainous Mr. Bloom heavily injures Jim Gordon and takes control of Gotham City and threatens to destroy the city by energizing a particle reactor to create a “strange star” to swallow the city. However With help from Alfred, Bruce wayne/Batman returns to help Jim Gordon against Mr. Bloom. In 2015, DC Comics released The Dark Knight III: The Master Race, the sequel to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again. In 2016, DC Comics’ entire line of comic book titles was relaunched and Batman was rebooted in Batman: Rebirth #1. Which introduced two vigilantes, Gotham and Gotham Girl. The Batman series Detective Comics resumed its original numbering system starting with June 2016’s #934, which featured a team consisting of Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, and Clayface, led by Batman and Batwoman. While The New 52 series was labeled volume 2 and went from issues #1-52. In 2017 DC Comics ended the Rebirth branding, opting to include everything under a larger “DC Universe” banner.

Batman has become An American cultural icon garnering enormous popularity and is among the most identifiable comic book characters. Batman has been licensed and featured in various adaptations, from radio to television and film, and appears in merchandise sold around the world, such as apparel, toys, and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatris$ts, with many offering interpretations of his psyche. In 2015, FanSided ranked Batman as number one on their list of “50 Greatest Super Heroes In Comic Book History”. Kevin Conroy, Rino Romano, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller, Anthony Ruivivar, Jason O’Mara, and Will Arnett, among others, have provided the character’s voice for animated adaptations. Batman has been depicted in both film and television by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The novel Lord of the Flies by by Nobel Prize-winning British author William Golding was first published 17 September 1954. The book focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island after a British aeroplane crashes in a remote region of the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors include Two boys—the fair-haired Ralph and an overweight, bespectacled boy nicknamed “Piggy”— who find a conch, which Ralph uses as a horn to convene all the survivors to one area. Ralph is optimistic, believing that grown-ups will come to rescue them but Piggy realizes the need to organize: And Ralph is elected “chief”.

The members of a boys’ choir, led by the red-headed Jack Merridew, form a separate clique of hunters. Ralph establishes three primary policies: to have fun, to survive, and to constantly maintain a smoke signal that could alert passing ships to their presence on the island and thus rescue them. The boys establish a form of democracy by declaring that whoever holds the conch shall also be able to speak at their formal gatherings and receive the attentive silence of the larger group. Jack organises his choir into a hunting party responsible for discovering a food source. Ralph, Jack, and a quiet, dreamy boy named Simon soon form a loose triumvirate of leaders with Ralph as the ultimate authority. The boys discover fruit and wild pigs for food and use Piggy’s spectacles to create a fire.

Sadly, Despite this promising start the situation gradually get worse and The semblance of order quickly deteriorates as the majority of the boys turn idle. Piggy is quickly made into an outcast by the older boys. Simon, in addition to supervising the project of constructing shelters, feels an instinctive need to protect the “littluns” (younger boys). The older boys give little aid in building shelters, spend their time having fun and begin to develop paranoias about the island. Jack, who has started a power struggle with Ralph, gains a level of control over the group. A ship travels by the island, however the signal fire goes out and vessel continues without stopping. Ralph angrily confronts Jack about his failure to maintain the signal. Jack assaults Piggy, breaking his glasses. Piggy persuades Ralph to remain leader in order to protect him from Jack.

One night, an aerial battle occurs near the island while the boys sleep, during which a fighter pilot ejects from his plane and dies in the descent. the twins Sam and Eric, now assigned to the maintenance of the signal fire, find the dead pilot. Later Jack leads Ralph and Roger, to explore the other side of the island, where they discover a mountain of stones, Castle Rock, and they also discover the dead parachutist” Jack then tries unsuccessfully to turn the others against Ralph, before forming his own tribe. Roger and the older boys abandon Ralph to join Jack’s tribe. Jack’s tribe continues to lure recruits from the main group by promising feasts of cooked pig. Jack’s tribe begin to paint their faces and enact bizarre rites, including sacrifices to the beast.

Ralph and Piggy decide to go to one of Jack’s feasts and witness Jack and his followers conducting a sacrifice to the imaginary Beast who rules the island whom he dubs “Lord of the Flies”. The boys start displaying feral, warlike behaviour as any semblance of order breaks down. Then When Simon discovers the truth behind “The Beast” he finds himself in great danger from the other tribe members. Jack and his rebel tribe steal Piggy’s glasses the only means the boys have of starting a fire. Ralph, journeys to Castle Rock to confront Jack over Piggy’s glasses accompanied by Piggy, Sam, and Eric. However the tribe capture and bind the twins under Jack’s command. Then Ralph confronts Jack, while Roger confronts Piggy with tragic consequences. Ralph manages to escape, but Sam and Eric are tortured by Roger until they agree to join Jack’s tribe. Sam and Eric warn Ralph that Jack and Roger intend to hunt him and behead him. Jack orders his tribe to begin a hunt for Ralph and Ralph faces a fight for survival as he tries to escape Jack’s rampaging savages.

Agatha Christie

British crime novelist Dame Agatha Christie, DBE was born 15th September 1890 to a wealthy upper middle-class family in Torquay, Devon, Christie served in a hospital during the First World War before settling into married life with her first child in London. Although initially unsuccessful at getting her work published, in 1920, The Bodley Head press published her novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring the character of Poirot. This launched her literary career. She also wrote short stories, and plays and romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections, most of which revolve around the investigations of such characters as Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple and Tommy and Tuppence.

Among her best known novels are: And then there were none, Final Cases, Poirot and the Regatta, Mystery, The Thirteen Problems, Crooked House, The Murder at the Vicarage/Body in the Library/The Moving Finger, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Five Little pigs, Murder on the Orient Express, Towards Zero, Death on the Nile, A Murder is Announced, Problem at Pollensa Bay, Sleeping Murder, 4.50 From Paddington, Pocket Full of Rye, Endless Night, The Clocks, The ABC Murders, Ordeal By Innocence, Appointment with Death, Cat Among the Pigeons, Endless Night, Evil Under the Sun, Why Didn’t they ask Evans, Towards Zero and Passenger to Frankfurt.

Agatha Christie sadly passed away on 12th January 1976, However According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly four billion copies, and her estate claims that her works rank third, after those of William Shakespeare and the Bible, as the world’s most widely published books. And Then There Were None is Christie’s best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time, she is also the most translated individual author, and her books have been translated into at least 103 languages. Due to their enduring popularity Many of Christie’s books and short stories have also been filmed, adapted for television, radio, stage, video games and comics. Christie’s stage play The Mousetrap also holds the record for the longest initial run: having opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London on 25 November 1952 and was still running in 2012 after more than 24,600 performances.

Geraldine Brooks

Pulitzer prize winning Australian American journalist and novelist Geraldine Brooks AO was born 14 September 1955. Geraldine Brooks grew up in its inner-west suburb of Ashfield. Her father, Lawrie Brooks, was an American big-band singer who was stranded in Adelaide on a tour of Australia when his manager absconded with the band’s pay; he decided to remain in Australia, and became a newspaper sub-editor; her mother Gloria, from Boorowa, was a public relations officer with radio station 2GB in Sydney. Her older sister is the writer Darleen Bungey. She attended Bethlehem College, a secondary school for girls, and the University of Sydney. Following graduation, she was a rookie reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and, after winning a Greg Shackleton Memorial Scholarship, moved to the United States, completing a master’s degree at New York City’s Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1983. The following year, in the Southern France artisan village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup, she married American journalist Tony Horwitz and converted to Judaism.

She began working As a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East, with the stories from the Persian Gulf which she and her husband reported in 1990, receiving the Overseas Press Club’s Hal Boyle Award for “Best Newspaper or Wire Service Reporting from Abroad”. In 2006, she was awarded a fellowship at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Brooks wrote her first book Nine Parts of Desire in 1994. It was based on her experiences among Muslim women in the Middle East, was an international bestseller, translated into 17 languages. Foreign Correspondence (1997), which won the Nita Kibble Literary Award for women’s writing, was a memoir and travel adventure about a childhood enriched by penpals from around the world, and her adult quest to find them. Her first novel, Year of Wonders, was published in 2001, and became an international bestseller. It is Set in 1666, and depicts a young woman’s battle to save fellow villagers as well as her own soul when the bubonic plague suddenly strikes her small Derbyshire village of Eyam.

Her next novel, March (2005), was inspired by her fondness for Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, which her mother had given her. To connect that memorable reading experience to her new status in 2002 as an American citizen, she researched the Civil War historical setting of Little Women and decided to create a chronicle of wartime service for the “absent father” of the March girls. Some aspects of this chronicle were informed by the life and philosophical writings of the Alcott family patriarch, Amos Bronson Alcott, whom she profiled under the title “Orpheus at the Plow”, in the 10 January 2005 issue of The New Yorker, a month before March was published. The parallel novel received a mixed reaction from critics, but was nonetheless selected in December 2005 selection by the Washington Post as one of the five best fiction works published that year, and in April 2006, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Although she was only eligible for the prize by virtue of her American citizenship, she was also the first Australian to win the prize.

Brooks published her next novel, People of the Book in 2008. This featured the fictionalized history and events surrounding a sacred Jewish text called the Sarajevo Haggadah and it’s amazing journey from the Middle East to Moorish Spain, through Jewish settlements in Prague and Renaissance Venice, to Nazi Germany before being rescued and ending up in a New York Library. This novel was inspired by her reporting (for The New Yorker) of human interest stories emerging in the aftermath of the 1991–95 breakup of Yugoslavia. The novel won both the Australian Book of the Year Award and the Australian Literary Fiction Award in 2008.

In 2011 Brooks published the novel Caleb’s Crossing. This is inspired by the life of Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk, a Wampanoag convert to Christianity who was the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College, an achievement of the seventeenth century. In 2011 at the invitation of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Brooks delivered the prestigious Boyer Lectures. These have been published as “The Idea of Home”,and reveal her passionate humanist values. In 2015 Geraldine Books published the historical novel The Secret Chord, which is based on the life of the biblical King David in the period of the Second Iron Age.

John Power (The La’s, Cast)

Best known as the frontman of Cast and bassist and backing vocalist for the La’s, English singer, songwriwwter and rhythm guitarist John Timothy Power was born 14 September 1967 in in Allerton, Liverpool. Power grew up in Allerton, Liverpool near Penny Lane and attended Quarry Bank School. In 1986 John Power met Mike Badger of Liverpool band The La’s, at a course for unemployed musicians. The La’s had previously struggled to find a permanent bass player since their formation, So they recruited then 18-yeaer-old John Power to play Bass For them . Whilst still quite inexperienced on bass guitar, Power was mentored by Lee Mavers (a former bass player himself) and the core trio of Mavers, Badger and Power rehearsed and performed extensively until December 1986 when Badger left the band.

The La’s fanbase grew rapidly after the arrival of Power and the group recorded some of the demos which helped them gain a record deal the following year. For the remainder of the La’s’ history, the band’s line-up would change frequently with a constant duo of Lee Mavers (guitar, vocals) and John Power (bass, backing vocals) and various other guitarists and drummers. Power played on the band’s early singles “Way Out” (1987) and “There She Goes” (1988) and was part of the recording of the band’s debut album “The La’s” released in 1990. Whilst in the La’s, John Power Wrote two songs “Alright” and “Follow Me Down” which were performed live by the band during 1991 Following increased tension between Power and Lee Mavers, John Power left the La’s in December 1991

After leaving the La’s in 1991 john Power formed english rock band Cast in 1992 as a singer and guitarist ,alongside Peter Wilkinson (backing vocals, bass), and drummers, Liam “Skin” Tyson (guitar) and Keith O’Neill (drums) who joined Cast in 1993. After Emerging from the Britpop movement of the mid-1990s, Cast signed to Polydor Records and their debut album All Change (1995) became the highest selling debut album for the label. Further commercial success continued with the albums Mother Nature Calls (1997) and Magic Hour (1999), however a departure in sound on the band’s fourth album Beetroot (2001) was met by a poor critical and commercial reaction and contributed to the band’s split two weeks after its release.

After four albums and a string of hit singles, Cast split in 2002. Following the dissolution of Cast, Power embarked on a solo career. Following the split, Power released the John Leckie produced solo album, Happening for Love in June 2003. In 2005, he briefly reunited with the La’s, It was then announced in 2005, that the La’s make a series of festival appearances in the UK, Ireland and Japan. Following the La’s reformation, Power went on to release 2 further solo albums, more in the acoustic folk vein.

Cast re-formed in November 2010 and released their fifth album Troubled Times in November 2011. Bassist Peter Wilkinson confirmed his departure from the band in March 2015, after abruptly leaving a previous tour in December 2014. He was replaced on that tour and in the band by Power’s frequent collaborator Jay Lewis, who would also feature on their sixth album Kicking Up the Dust, which was released In 2017. Noel Gallagher of Oasis described watching the band live as being like a “religious experience” and they were labelled “The Who of the 90’s”. It has been suggested that the name “Cast” was taken from the final word on The La’s eponymous album (the song “Looking Glass” ends with the repeated line “The change is cast”); John Power has since confirmed this to be true, despite previously playing the link down to coincidence.

Power released the solo albums Willow She Weeps in October 2006 and Stormbreaker in January 2008. From 2006 to 2009, Power performed live with the John Power Band featuring backing musicians Jay Lewis (bass, slide guitar) and Steve Pilgrim (drums). Oli Hughes replaced Pilgrim as drummer after he left to play with Paul Weller. After undertaking a solo “Cast Acoustic Show” tour in June 2010, Cast announced they would reform to work on new material and tour in November/December 2010. Cast released the album Troubled Times in March 2012, followed by Kicking Up the Dust in April 2017. In 2015 John performed a solo acoustic tour in North West England alongside Jay Lewis.

Steve Gaines/Ed King (Lynyrd Skynyrd

Steve Gaines, American singer-songwriter and guitarist with Lynyrd Skynyrd was born 14 September 1949 in addition Ed King, American guitarist and songwriter (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hunger, and Strawberry Alarm Clock was also born 14 September 1949. Best known for popularizing the Southern hard rock genre during the 1970s Lynyrd Skynyrd were Originally formed In the summer of 1964, when teenage friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, and Gary Rossington formed the band “The Noble Five” in Jacksonville, Florida. The band changed in 1965 to “My Backyard”, when Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns joined. In 1968, the group won a local Battle of the Bands contest and the opening slot on several Southeast shows for the California-based psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock. The group eventually settled on the name “Leonard Skinner”, a mocking tribute to a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School, Leonard Skinner, who was notorious for strictly enforcing the school’s policy against boys having long hair. Throughout the early 1970′s the band underwent many line-up changes and in 1972 the band was discovered at one of their shows at a club in Atlanta, GA.

They soon changed the spelling of their name to “Lynyrd Skynyrd”and their fan base continued to grow rapidly throughout 1973, largely due to their opening slot on The Who’s Quadrophenia tour in the United States. Their 1974 follow-up, Second Helping, was the band’s breakthrough hit, and featured their most popular single, “Sweet Home Alabama” helping them rise to worldwide recognition. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s third album, Nuthin’ Fancy, was released in 1975 and the fourth album Gimme Back My Bullets was released in January 1976, but did not achieve the same success as the previous two albums. Steve Gaines joined the band in June 1976 and the newly-reconstituted band recorded the double-live album One More From the Road at the Fox Theatre (Atlanta, Georgia) in Atlanta, and performed at the Knebworth festival, which also featured The Rolling Stones. The next album 1977′s Street Survivors turned out to be a showcase for guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines and included the iconic rock anthem “Free Bird”.

Sadly though, On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and at the peak of their success, three members (Including Gaines) all died in an airplane crash, Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band’s second platinum album and reached No. 5 on the U.S. album chart. The single “What’s Your Name” reached No. 13 on the single airplay charts in January 1978. Surviving members re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother Johnny as frontman. A version of the band continues to tour and record, with only Gary Rossington of its original members remaining as of 2012. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2003.

Roald Dahl

British novelist, short story writer, poet, fighter pilot & screenwriter Roald Dahl was Born 13 September 1916 in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales. He was named after the polar explorer Roald Amundsen. Dahl first attended The Cathedral School, Llandaff. Thereafter, he transferred to Saint Peter’s Boarding School in Weston-super-Mare, and in 1929, he attended Repton School in Derbyshire, During his school years He was never seen as a particularly talented writer , although He excelled at sports, and was made captain of the school fives and squash teams, and also played football. As well as having a passion for literature, he also developed an interest in photography and often carried a camera with him. During his years at Repton, Cadbury’s, would occasionally send boxes of new chocolates to the school to be tested by the pupils. Dahl apparently used to dream of inventing a new chocolate bar that would win the praise of Mr. Cadbury himself; and this proved the inspiration for him to write Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and include references to chocolate in other books. His first job of selling kerosene in Midsomer Norton and surrounding villages in Somerset, south West England is also a subject in Boy: Tales of Childhood.

After finishing his schooling, he went hiking through Newfoundland with the Public Schools’ Exploring Society and in July 1934, joined the Shell Petroleum Company, & after two years of training, he was transferred to first Mombasa, Kenya, then to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. In August 1939, as World War II loomed, plans were made to round up the hundreds of Germans in Dar-es-Salaam. Dahl was made an officer in the King’s African Rifles, commanding a platoon of Askaris, indigenous troops serving in the colonial army. In November 1939, Dahl joined the Royal Air Force as an Aircraftman and was promoted to Leading Aircraftman on 24 August 1940. Following six months’ training on Hawker Harts, Dahl was made an Acting Pilot Officer. He was assigned to No. 80 Squadron RAF flying obsolete Gloster Gladiator biplanes, but did not receive any specialised training in aerial combat, or in flying Gladiators. Sadly during one mission, he was forced to attempt a landing in the desert because he was running low on fuel and night was approaching, unfortunately the undercarriage hit a boulder causing the aircraft to crash, fracturing his skull, smashing his nose and temporarily blinding him. luckily He managed to drag himself away from the blazing wreckage and passed out and was rescued and taken to a first-aid post in Mersa Matruh, then taken by train to the Royal Navy hospital in Alexandria.

After his recovery, Dahl took part in the “Battle of Athens”,On 20 April 1941, alongside the highest-scoring British Commonwealth ace of World War II, Pat Pattle.In May, Dahl was evacuated to Egypt and flew sorties every day for four weeks, shooting down a Vichy French Air Force Potez 63 and a Ju-88, but he then began to get severe headaches that caused him to black out, so He was invalided home to Britain. Though at this time Dahl was only a Pilot Officer on probation, in September 1941 he was simultaneously confirmed as a Pilot Officer and promoted to war substantive Flying Officer.

Dahl began writing in 1942, after he was transferred to Washington, D.C. as Assistant Air Attaché. His first published work was “Shot Down Over Libya” which described the crash of his Gloster Gladiator. C. S. Forester also asked Dahl to write down some RAF anecdotes so that he could shape them into a story. After Forester read what Dahl had given him, he decided to publish the story exactly as Dahl had written it. The original title of the article was “A Piece of Cake” but the title was changed to sound more dramatic, despite the fact that he was not actually shot down. Dahl was promoted to Flight Lieutenant in August 1942. During the war, Forester worked for the British Information Service and was writing propaganda for the Allied cause, mainly for American consumption.[33] This work introduced Dahl to espionage and the activities of the Canadian spymaster William Stephenson, During the war, Dahl supplied intelligence from Washington to Stephenson and his organisation known as British Security Coordination, which was part of MI6, where he worked with other well-known officers such as Ian Fleming and David Ogilvy.

After the war Dahl held the rank of a temporary Wing Commander (substantive Flight Lieutenant)in August 1946 he was invalided out of the RAF. He left the service with the substantive rank of Squadron Leader. His record of at least five aerial victories, qualifying him as a flying ace. Dahl went on to become one of the world’s best-selling authors, writing works for both children and adults and has been referred to as “one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century”. In 2008 The Times placed Dahl 16th on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″. His short stories are known for their unexpected endings, and his children’s books for their unsentimental, often very dark humour. Some of his notable works include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine and The BFG. In the 1986 New Years Honours List, Dahl was offered the Order of the British Empire (OBE), but turned it down, purportedly because he wanted a knighthood so that his wife would be Lady Dahl. Dahl is the father of author Tessa Dahl and grandfather of author, cookbook writer and former model Sophie Dahl (after whom Sophie in The BFG is named). Roald Dahl sadly passed away on 23rd November 1990 at the age of 74 of a blood disease, myelodysplastic syndrome, in Oxford, and was buried in the cemetery at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England. Roald Dahl’s novels remain popular and have been the subject of numerous television and film adaptations including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches, Esio Trot and the BFG.

W. Heath Robinson

Best known for his wonderfully outlandish illustrations of all sorts of wierd & wonderful contraptions, the English cartoonist W. Heath Robinson, sadly passed away on 13th September 1944. He was Born into a family of artists His father and brothers (Thomas Heath Robinson and Charles Robinson) all worked as illustrators. Robinson’s early career involved illustrating books – among others: Hans Christian Andersen’s Danish Fairy Tales and Legends (1897); The Arabian Nights, (1899); Tales From Shakespeare (1902), and Twelfth Night (1908), Andersen’s Fairy Tales (1913), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1914), Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies (1915), and Walter de la Mare’s Peacock Pie (1916). In the course of his work Heath Robinson also wrote and illustrated three children’s books, The Adventures of Uncle Lubin (1902), Bill the Minder (1912) and Peter Quip in Search of a Friend (1922). Uncle Lubin is regarded as the start of his career in the depiction of unlikely machines.

During the First World War he drew large numbers of cartoons, collected as Some “Frightful” War Pictures (1915), Hunlikely! (1916), The Saintly Hun (1917) and Flypapers (1919), depicting ever-more-unlikely secret weapons being used by the combatants. He also produced a steady stream of humorous drawings for magazines and advertisements. In 1934 he published a collection of his favourites as Absurdities, such as: “The Wart Chair. A simple apparatus for removing a wart from the top of the head”, “Resuscitating stale railway scones for redistribution at the station buffets” and “The multimovement tabby silencer”, which automatically threw water at serenading cats. Most of his cartoons have since been reprinted many times in multiple collections, and the machines he drew were frequently powered by steam boilers or kettles, heated by candles or a spirit lamp and usually kept running by balding, bespectacled men in overalls. Many of his machines involved complex pulley arrangements, threaded by lengths of knotted string.

Robinson’s cartoons were so popular that in Britain the term “Heath Robinson” is used to refer to an improbable, rickety machine barely kept going by incessant tinkering. (The corresponding term in the U.S. is Rube Goldberg, after an American cartoonist with an equal devotion to odd machinery. In the UK, the term “Heath Robinson” has entered the language as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contraption, similar to “Rube Goldberg” in the U.S.

Similar “inventions” have also been drawn by other cartoonists in many countries, with the Danish Storm Petersen being on par with Robinson and Goldberg.) One of his most famous series of illustrations was that which accompanied the Professor Branestawm books by Norman Hunter. The stories told of the eponymous professor who was brilliant, eccentric and forgetful and provided a perfect backdrop for Robinson’s drawings.One of the automatic analysis machines built for Bletchley Park during the Second World War to assist in the decryption of German message traffic was named “Heath Robinson” in his honour. It was a direct predecessor to the Colossus, the world’s first programmable digital electronic computer.