An excellent review in the Oxford Times, 18 January 2018 by Christopher Gray of Ian Flintoff’s novel, Gatsby at Trinity, production and distribution by YouCaxton Publications:
‘THE television showing over Christmas of the excellent 2013 film version of Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio (and an even better Tobey Maguire) prompted me to take out a book that had languished some months in my ‘waiting to read’ pile. This was Gatsby at Trinity (Pitchfork Production, £9.99) by the Oxford-based actor, writer and director Ian Flintoff – and what a delight it proved. Impeccably researched and elegantly written, the novel traces the mysterious millionaire’s formative years, after First World War service in the US army, as an undergraduate at Oxford University. His student days are, of course, alluded to in The Great Gatsby, though it is never entirely clear whether they were pure invention. Gatsby certainly convinced the sinister character Meyer Wolfsheim. Who can forget his observation: “He’s an Oggsford man. He went to Oggsford College in England. You know Oggsford College?” The college in fact was Trinity, alma mater to Ian Flintoff too. Tom Buchanan, supercilious about Gatsby’s claim in The Great Gatsby, is shown a photograph of Jay in Trinity Quad – “the man on my left is now the Earl of Doncaster”. We get to meet the aristocrat as Lord Cusworth, one of Gatsby’s college companions, in Gatsby at Trinity. It turns out that it was his expression “old sport” that came to be borrowed by Gatsby. “Where’d you pick that up?” Tom asked him in The Great Gatsby, but answer came there none.
In the prequel we learn from Lord Cusworth that he employs the device as a means of disguising the fact that he has forgotten someone’s name. “Nobody’s offended and the old memory gets a decent break for a change.” Highlights of the novel (and Gatsby’s Oxford social life) include a ball at Blenheim where guests include Bernard Shaw, Noel Coward and Edward Elgar.
During the eighteenth century some remarkable young women crossed the ocean to India to seek their fortunes. Margaret Maskelyne who married Clive of India and was sister to Nevill Maskelyne, Astronomer Royal, was one of the cleverest – and funniest. YouCaxton Managing Editor Bob Fowke will be exploring her life and the network of her friends, at Bishop’s Castle Town Hall on Wednesday 21st February at 2.00 pm in a talk that relates to his upcoming book.
‘Women were an essential element within the Company from its earliest days. The gravestones and memorials around Saint Mary’s Church in Fort St George, Chennai/Madras, bear ample testimony; around a quarter of them are of women, several dying early in childbirth. But those tragic deaths tell only part of the story. It took courage, ambition and a spirit of adventure to travel to the far side of the world in search of love and fortune and the young women who undertook that journey were exceptional people, setting out of their own accord, sometimes with only the grudging consent of parents or guardians, and confidently accepting the risks. Many of them traded independently and some were of high intellect …’
The Self-Publishing Expo of the Shrewsbury Festival of Literature is being held this year, on the 25th November 11am-2pm, at the University Centre, the former Borough Council building in Frankwell. Bob Fowke, Managing Editor of YouCaxton Publications, will be master of ceremonies. A number of publishing experts and some successfully self-published authors will be speaking and will be available to take questions.
‘You’ve Written a Book, Now What? Routes to Publication: an Information Day’ was a day-long workshop held at the Bleddfa Centre in Powis on Sunday 22 October. It was chaired by Caroline Sanderson, writer and associate editor of the Bookseller. Around forty writers attended and there was a series of talks and discussions by published authors, publishers, a literary agent and from YouCaxton, represented by Bob Fowke our editor. It was a very productive day and especially interesting in that it spanned the gap between traditional trade publishing, independent publishing and self-publishing. Bleddfa will be holding more workshops in the future.
The Shrewsbury Drapers Company by Nigel Hinton, published by YouCaxton, is being launched tomorrow September 8th in the historic Drapers’ Hall in central Shrewsbury. Publication is quite a significant moment and the mayor and other dignitaries will be attending.
Colin Sharp, author of Button Gwinnett, Failed Merchant, Plantation Owner, Mountebank, Opportunist Politician and Founding Father, published by YouCaxton, will be talking on ‘Button Gwinnett and the American Declaration of Independence’ at St Mary & Corpus Christi Church, Down Hatherley, on Sunday 3 September at 3.00 pm as part of the Gloucester History Festival. Colin will be asking how a Gloucestershire man became the second signatory on the American Declaration of Independence and his talk will feature local historians and members of the Gwinnett family. He will also describe how Button’s parents’ tomb in Down Hatherley churchyard was recently restored.
Nonviolent Resistance to the Nazis by George Paxton, published by YouCaxton, has been receiving consistently good reviews.
Peace News (UK): ‘… a goldmine of information, fascinating stories and inspiration for peace activists, this book deserves a wide readership.’
The Ghandi Way (UK): ‘Here is a proverbial labour of love. Over many years, I suspect, George Paxton has compiled information on nonviolent resistance to Nazi-occupied Europe. There are many stories of individual resistance, hard here to summarise in the review, and indeed I think the best way we can demonstrate this exceptional courage is to tell as many of these stories as possible… Paxton has done us a great service in writing this book.’
Jewish Affairs (South Africa): ‘Paxton also boldly wrestles with the sensitive question of whether the Holocaust might have been averted has German Jews responded at an early stage of their persecution with nonviolent resistance.’
Satyagraha Foundation (Netherlands): ‘George Paxton… has collected an impressive amount of research and combined it into “a perspective on the Nazi era which is rarely put forward,” … The first two parts provide a treasure trove of information, but it is the last part where the book comes into its own. Here he discusses, among many other things, the potential of nonviolent resistance, what makes people potential resisters and rescuers, what makes countries more prone to nonviolent resistance, and what a Gandhian style of nonviolent resistance might have looked like.’