Graeme K Talboys
Once upon a time (just after 9 o'clock in the morning one late November day in the early 1950s, to be not very precise) I was born. In Hammersmith. My family lived in a flat on the edge of Richmond Park and I spent the first five years of my life there. One of my earliest memories is the sound of red deer.
On my fifth birthday the family moved to Norfolk. As a child I took particular comfort in books and writing, setting me on a path I have never left. I also spent a great deal of time exploring the city and spent many happy hours in its museums and library.
A final move as I was approaching my teens took the family to Sussex. I went to school in Lewes and was a contemporary of and friends with the likes of Tom Morley, Pete Thomas, Eric Goulden, Andrew Ranken, and Stephen Warbeck. Given that concentration of musical talent, I can only put my adherence to writing down to the fact I have two left ears.
Beyond school, I immersed myself in cultural life, taking a keen interest in folklore and the folk scene in the Lewes area as well as the more urban literary scene that centred on the Unicorn Bookshop in Brighton, not to mention the wider contemporary music scene. I went to many concerts, especially at the Dome in Brighton, no to mention festivals from Phun City to the Isle of Wight.
In 1972, I started a three-year course at St Peter's College of Education in Saltley, Birmingham where I studied Drama and Theatre Arts, graduating in 1975 with a Certificate in Education. It was there I began a correspondence with Samuel Beckett, discussing at first elements of Waiting for Godot and then his other work. I later studied with the Open University and graduated with a BA in education and philosophy (with a side order of literature and creative writing added later on).
After a number of years teaching in schools in places such as Shropshire, Lancashire, and Sussex, I moved sideways into community education before settling in education work in museums.
I now live in Scotland with my wife and some cats (as well as 5 million Scots) where I write full time.
I had siblings seven years older than me and learned to read and write at an early age. There were always papers, magazines, and books in the house and I was encouraged to read as much as possible. I was writing stories as early as seven.
Although I read and enjoyed all the usual children's books, I also took delight in the adult books available to me. By the time I was eleven I was happily reading titles from my mother's Companion Book Club collection. I also had an adult library ticket, although this had been given on the proviso I only borrow non-fiction (presumably to protect me from the sort of thing I was already reading at home).
The move to Sussex and the onset of teenage years led to a switch from writing derivative stories (what might be termed fan-fiction these days) to the writing of poetry. Whilst much (if not all) of this was garbage, it did settle me into the habit of writing every day and experimenting with the use of words.
When I discovered New Worlds magazine and underground press publications such as International Times and Oz, I felt immediately at home. They opened my eyes to writers I might otherwise never have heard of and led to an appreciation of any writer prepared to experiment with and explore both the form and the content of literary work.
By the time I went to college, I had written three novels, many pieces of short fiction and thousands of poems. It was inevitable that, in studying Drama, I went on to write a number of stage plays (some of them performed) as well as screen- and tele-plays.
My first published pieces were generally non-fiction, appearing in various magazines of a museological, political, and spiritual nature. This encouraged me to try more mainstream publications and eventually led to my first contract for a full-length book. Since then I have had a number of non-fiction and fiction works published. And that has just encouraged me to write more.