In 1773, Parliament passed the Regulating Act: in return for a loan of £1.4 million, the East India Company agreed to accept a Governor General appointed by Parliament and Warren Hastings was appointed to the post. In addition, the Regulating Act called for the appointment of three counsellors whose job was to oversee the Governor General. Unfortunately, these cousellors were hostile to Hastings from the start, in particular Philip Francis (lover of Mrs Grand see previous email, re ladders against windows and Prince Talleyrand). Francis sought to undermine Hastings’s authority at every opportunity.
By May 1780, Hastings had had enough. He decided that it had to be death or victory. He insulted Francis in a memorandum to the Council; Francis took the bait and challenged Hastings to a duel.
At 5.30 am on 16th August the two principle members of the Calcutta Council met in the grey light of morning on the Alipur Road, both middle-aged, neither of them with much interest in exercise or fighting. Francis had never fired a pistol before and Hastings could remember doing so ‘only once or twice’. Their seconds measured fourteen paces. Hastings defered his fire while Francis misfired twice. The third time they both fired simultaneously. Francis narrowly missed but Hastings’s bullet struck Francis on the right side and lodged under his left shoulder blade. Francis called out ‘I’m dead’ and fell to the ground.
‘Good God, I hope not!’ Hastings called back and hurried over. Having checked on the damage, he rushed home in his palanquin and sent for the surgeon general and his own doctor. Philip Francis staged a remarkably swift recovery but he left for England that December.
The launch of Richard Whittingham’s biography Terence Keyes: Imperial Disguises will be held 6 – 8pm on Monday 21 October at the Morris Hall, Shrewsbury. This very well-researched book is an account of the life of a remarkable soldier, diplomat and secret agent who devised a scheme to overthrow the Bolshevik regime.
During the summer of 1919, the White Movement came within two hundred miles of Moscow and the overthrow of the Leninist regime was widely anticipated and yet, in less than a year, White resistance was effectively over. Terence Keyes was one of the major players in the British Government’s involvement in the murky world of regime change. He knew many of the most colourful characters at this pivotal moment in twentieth century history and had secret dealings with Lenin himself.
Bob Fowke, Managing Editor at YouCaxton, will be chairing a workshop at the Knighton Literary Festival on Saturday 2 November at the Public Library. The workshop will provide a brief introduction to the pleasures and pitfalls of self-publishing and there will be plenty of time for further discussion and questions over coffee afterwards.
Details: from 10.00-10.45 am, Saturday 2 November, at Knighton Public Library.
YouCaxton are holding a self-publishing workshop at the Stratford Literary Festival, 4.00 pm – 5.00 pm on Friday 3 May, at the Stratford Playhouse. It’s called ‘Self-Publishing – a Useful Map’ and it’s led by Bob Fowke. YouCaxton’s Managing Editor. The workshop will give a useful introduction to the various stages of self-publishing, including marketing, design, editing and printing. The fee is £10 (£8.00 for students).
Writer Richard Hawkins has joined YouCaxton to provide a new service of advice and editing for screenplays. The service includes an honest and objective professional critique of the work, editorial support, script development and formatting, so that presentations are up to a professional standard and maximise their chance of going forward to production.
Richard has worked as a writer and producer since the late 1980s with several critically acclaimed productions to his name, including on Broadway. His first screenplay, the internationally successful The Theory of Flight, was co-produced by both the BBC and Miramax and directed by Paul Greengrass (Bourne Ultimatum, Captain Philips). It starred Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter. Richard has also worked closely alongside the acclaimed Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love, Aida).
His own directorial debut came with the enormously well received Everything, starring Ray Winstone, which quickly became a cause celebre on the festival circuit, heralded by the Sydney Film festival as ‘The perfect model for budget feature making’ – and went on to win several international awards and a prestigious BAFTA nomination for Richard himself.
‘Everything is boldly conceived and executed, the kind of film British cinema needs more of.’ The Daily Telegraph
‘A highly promising feature debut … truthful, perceptive and moving.’ The Observer
Richard has worked recently as a creative adviser for China’s emerging film industry, playing a critical role in the establishment of several on-going, long-term relationships between American and Chinese studios. He also gives support as a specialist acting coach, taking both new and established stars and working them through various castings and/or preparing them for particular film roles. Actors worked with include Benedict Cumberbatch, Naomi Harris, Domonic Cooper, Stephen Mangan, Gugu Mbatha Raw, Ed Skrein, Danny Dyer, to name but a few.
Dianne Carrington will be speaking in Pulverbatch Village Hall on the evening of Saturday 26 January about her new book Atlantic Lady, published by YouCaxton, the story of her record-breaking row across the Atlantic. She is the oldest woman ever to undertake this extraordinary feat.
Fran Norton will be launching her new book, Isolde, Lady de Audley, published by YouCaxton, at the Castle Bookshop, Ludlow, betweeen 5.00 and 7.00 pm on Friday 23rd November. The image is of Isolde’s tomb in St Bartholomew’s churchyard, Much Marcle, Herefordshire.