Sunday, 19 September 2010

'White Ravens', 'Out Stealing Horses' and my Shropshire school visit

One of the great things about travelling away from home and from work is that it often provides a few precious opportunities to catch up on some reading for the pure pleasure of it. On my recent trip to Ferryside I took with me an appropriately Welsh book - White Ravens by Owen Sheers. White Ravens is a novella inspired by a story from the Mabinogion (a collection of native Welsh tales taken from two mediaeval manuscripts). It's a very unusual book, weaving together characters from the present with a story from World War II, and linking the ravens in the Tower of London with a journey from Wales to Ireland. It was the perfect book to accompany a quiet few days in Wales and introduced me to a new publisher Seren (actually the book imprint of Poetry Wales Press). I'm currently reading another Seren book - a collection of short stories by Graham Mort called Touch.

On holiday in York, I read a beautiful novel by the Norwegian writer Per Petterson. Out Stealing Horses is another book which links the present day with the 1940s. An old man, living in an isolated part of Norway, reflects back on events that happened when he was 15. The book was so beautifully written, and so touching, I now want to read everything Per Petterson has written. Everything I've tried to read since has seemed disappointing by comparison.

I hope I'm not going to be a disappointment to the children of St. Thomas and St. Anne’s CE Primary School in Hanwood, near Shrewsbury. I am delighted to say their teacher Mrs Preece-Dawson has invited me to come in and talk with them about A Passenger in Time on Monday 11th October. Mrs Preece-Dawson is already reading the book to the children so I hope they're enjoying it and that they won't give me too hard a time when I meet with them. I'm really looking forward to my visit.


  1. Hi Mr Gillam,
    We are the children in Class 3 at Hanwood School. We are really excited that you are coming to visit our school. Thank you for agreeing to come in. We are thoroughly enjoying listening to the book and we can't wait to find out what happens.
    We're going to be asking you lots of questions, if that's ok?
    We are looking forward to Monday,
    From all of us in Class 3.

  2. Hi to Class 3 at Hanwood School!
    I'm really looking forward to visiting your school on Monday. Please do think of lots of questions to ask me in case I run out of things to say!
    See you all on Monday.


About me

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Tony Gillam is Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Wolverhampton, a freelance writer, trainer and musician. He is the author of 'Reflections on Community Psychiatric Nursing' (2002) and 'Creativity, Wellbeing and Mental Health Practice' (2018).