Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Meet the participants of the #LlandeiloBookFair: John and Sarada Thompson

John Thompson 

John was born in the district of Eton in 1942, and spent a happy and carefree childhood in the rural setting of Old Windsor. After attending Windsor Grammar School, John went to the University of Aberdeen, graduating in 1965 with an Honours Degree in History. He followed this by reading for an M.A. in American History at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and happened to be in the United States when both Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated – tempestuous times!

John taught at a private school in London on his return to the U.K., and eventually became side-tracked into Law, reading for an external degree from the University of London and then taking the Bar examinations in 1976. John spent the next two decades as a practising barrister.

John has always been a voracious reader, devouring many of the classics while still at junior school, and can remember writing stories in his teenage years and reading them to his grandmother, who pretended to be suitably impressed. 
John has an abiding interest in the human psyche, having studied Psychology as a minor subject in his first degree, while twenty years of practice in divorce and criminal law exposed him to every aspect of the human mind!
John is a keen member of his local writing group, Llanelli Writers’ Circle, which provides excellent support and critical analysis. Over the last decade or so John has specialised mainly in short stories, and has won awards from the ‘National Association of Writers’ Groups’ and been short-listed several times in other competitions, notably those contained in ‘Writing Magazine’, which he would recommend to any aspiring writer.

From his early twenties John developed a keen interest in Hindu religion, while recognising that all the major religions teach in essence the same values. History shows, however, that religion can be perverted by mankind to justify various objectives, often resulting in acts of barbarity and genocide. On the smaller scale, charlatans may use religion in order to impose their will upon others, whether for sexual gratification, pecuniary reward, or simply the exercise of personal power – and in some cases all three!

This is the thrust of ‘The Brindavan Chronicle’, in which a charismatic man uses his charm to bend the will of others to his own purpose. The real interest in such a situation is not that the gullible and guileless can be taken in by such a man, but how they respond when they manage to see through the veil of delusion.

Sarada Thompson 

Sarada is an Indian artist and writer, resident in the U.K. since 1973 and in Wales since 1990. Born in Singapore she worked as a journalist for local newspapers. When she arrived in London, she looked set to read law, but then spent the next two decades raising a family; writing for the Northampton and Milton Keynes weeklies during this time.

She has exhibited her artwork in various venues in England, Wales, Ireland and Australia and offered story-telling workshops through art, drama and writing in schools and universities; and also art therapy for mental health patients. The Hindu Story-Telling workshops also involved writing, as part of the National Curriculum in schools, colleges and universities.

Sarada has won awards in mini-tales in the ‘National Association of Writers’ Groups’ in Durham, the ‘Travel Award’ in 2009 and the ‘President’s Award’ in 2010 in the local writers’ circle and has had a few of her short stories published in both the University’s Anthology ‘Shadow Plays’ in 2010 and more recently in the local ‘Athena’.

She was awarded her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at Trinity St. David Carmarthen; University of Wales in 2012.

Recently Sarada has published several unique illustrated Hindu story books - notably 'Ganesha - Ten Tales', 'Savitri' and 'Meenakshi - Warrior Princess' and is a regular contributor to the Indian Informer.
At present she is preparing her novel 'The Neem Tree’ for publication.

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