Department Z – Britain’s Gestapo?

‘Department Z? That sounds very mysterious.’ ‘Intelligence section,’ Parker said. ‘We identify threats and hunt down traitors.’ ‘Traitors? And what happens to them?’ Although Blackshirt Masquerade is fiction, Department Z really existed. The British Union of Fascists was established in late 1932 by Sir Oswald Mosley and grew rapidly in both support and ambition over... Continue Reading →

Return of the Boutique Litfest

Festival organiser Isabel Picornell, Jason Monaghan and Paul McCormick of Gower Financial Services who sponsored Jason's talk (Lucie Stribrska) It's back! Alderney's small but perfectly formed Literary Festival returned after a two year absence due to covid. What makes the event special is that it concentrates on historical fiction and non-fiction, achieving a satisfying coherence.... Continue Reading →

Blackshirt Masquerade

Blackshirt Masquerade is the first of a series of novels set in 1930s Britain under the shadow of fascism. Perhaps this is not the right time to read about dark episodes in our past, but perhaps this might be exactly the right time to re-learn the lesson of the chaos and suffering that a man... Continue Reading →

Guernsey, 1917

The First World War was a century ago, which is as far in the past as the American Civil War was when I was at school. Nobody who fought in it is still alive and it is harder for the modern generation to understand than the Second World War. Countless films, books and TV series... Continue Reading →

Lockdown Nostalgia

What? You ask. It’s horrible, I hate it, why on Earth should anyone be nostalgic for lockdown? We might ask the same about ‘the Dunkirk Spirit’, where we cover up the memory of one of Britain’s worst military defeats with the veneer of a victory. Or the ‘Blitz Spirit’ where we imagine plucky Londoners defying... Continue Reading →

68 Days Later

If you're not an essential worker, you will have spent the last 8 to 10 weeks locked down in one form or another. Everyone is saying what an odd experience this has been, with time slowing to a crawl in March, then April vanishing in a flash. May is dragging as we get the tantalizing... Continue Reading →

Keeping Occupied

This week should have seen the publication of my latest book, ‘Occupation to Liberation’. It would have been launched at the Guernsey Literary Festival, now sadly cancelled, and the launch was one of the 75 events to celebrate 75 years of freedom organised by Visit Guernsey. Although the UK is celebrating VE day this week... Continue Reading →

The Festival that Nearly Was

The Alderney Literary Festival 2020 was due to have taken place on the third weekend of March, but with just one week to go was cancelled due to the looming coronavirus crisis. I was already out there and brushing up for my panels when the news came that disappointed us all. Rory Clements was one... Continue Reading →

Sixty Days in a Strange World

There will be plenty of retrospective prophets this year. A few scientists will be revealed to have had perceptive papers published in obscure journals just before C-19 hit, but a larger number who predicted other crises will keep quiet. Writers of certain dystopian novels, TV series and movies will be lauded as prescient, although those... Continue Reading →

The Elephant in the Shed

There’s an elephant in the room, but there is also one out in the garden and another in the shed. In fact I’m thinking of buying the field next door to accommodate more elephants. Very few people will notice them, because these are elephants we really don’t want to see, and want to tame even... Continue Reading →

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