A conversation with Wayzata Reads featured author P.S. Duffy

Neuroscience and World War I

P.S. DuffyIt’s not every day you come across a writer like P.S. Duffy. Aside from gaining critical acclaim for her debut novel, “The Cartographer of No Man’s Land,” Duffy’s likely the sole name at the center of a Venn diagram of people who’ve authored both a graduate-level textbook in neuroscience and a fiction novel set during World War I. It’s safe to say that “multifaceted” is a world that would fit within the “special skills” section of the Minnesota author’s resume.

“The Cartographer of No Man’s Land,” which tells the story of a father at war and a son coming of age at home without him, was selected as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. It was also a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, an international award that recognizes the power of literature to foster peace. The book has been published in Britain, Taiwan, Canada and will soon be out in Hebrew in Israel.

Fortunately for Wayzata readers, fans of Duffy won’t have to travel far to hear more about her career-shifting piece of literature. The author is getting ready to leave her Rochester home and travel north to lead Wayzata in the second-annual Wayzata Reads community book club discussion Thursday, Feb. 26, at Wayzata Library and city hall. Cartographer

The novel was selected by Wayzata’s former longstanding bookstore, The Bookcase, and the event was organized by the City of Wayzata, Friends of the Wayzata Library and the Wayzata Chamber of Commerce. A pre-presentation book discussion is 1 p.m. at Wayzata Library, followed in the evening by a 7 p.m. author presentation in the Community Room at Wayzata City Hall.

Between Duffy’s scientific research and thinking about her next novel, which the author has decided to keep mum about, she found time to talk with the Sun Sailor about her inspiration for the book, the research that went into it and how it feels it be making a return trip to Wayzata.

This article was first published in the Sun Sailor by Jason Jenkins on 

To read the full article, including a Q&A with the author, please click here.

Myrmidon author visits the world’s ‘most humane prison’

HarmattanGavin Weston, author of Harmattan, Writer-in-Residence at HMP Magilligan and editor of the prison magazine TIME IN recently visited the world’s ‘most humane prison’ at Halden in Norway. During the visit he met and interviewed prisoners who were receiving professional training as journalists, musicians, chefs and artists, as well as a jury of young inmates who were serving as judges for an international multimedia project for prisons organised by the PriMedia partnership.

In March, Gavin plans to visit the notorious Buca prison, in Gavin WestonIzmir, Turkey, where he will represent the Prison Arts Foundation and help prisoners establish an e-journal.

You can learn more about these projects by following Gavin on Twitter: @WestonOfTinTown







Mural at Halden prison by Norwegian artist Dolk

Tim Murgatroyd will be celebrating the 2015 Chinese New Year at Sheffield City Hall

Sheffield Chinese New Year 2015: Monday 16th February at Sheffield City Hall

Tim MurgatroydTim Murgatroyd will be one of the speakers at this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations held at Sheffield City Hall. There will be events on throughout the day and will finish with a spectacular evening performance.

The Sheffield Chinese New Year celebration 2015 will be hosted yet again in the beautiful grade II listed building of the Sheffield City Hall, situated in the heart of  Sheffield city centre. A flavour of Chinese culture and authenticity will be promised at this year’s Chinese New Year celebration!

The evening will include traditional Chinese dance and music with glittering authentic costumes throughout the show. The performance also includes the highly visual and artistic Dragon Dance, specialist Chinese performers soaring all the way from China to perform, plus much more to be announced very soon!

After Tim’s event he will be signing copies of his Chinese trilogy in the City Hall Ballroom from 4pm.

Celebrate 2015 Year of the Sheep

Sheffield Chinese New Year Show

China Land of Wonders

4.00pm – 6.45pm Pre-Show in the City Hall Ballroom

7.00pm – 8.30pm Irwin Mitchell Oval Hall Main Performance

For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Sheffield City Hall website: http://www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk/events/Sheffield-Chinese-New-Year-Show-




The Fat Boy book launch goes off with a Bang!

The Fat Boy with the Bomb and 299 of the World’s Craziest Politicians was launched with a bang by authors Brian O’Connell and Norm Chung at Blackwell’s bookshop, Oxford on Tuesday 2nd December.
















It was a successful launch with a good turn out and appearances from Sales and Marketing Manager, Kate Nash and Publisher, Ed Handyside.










The Fat Boy with the Bomb and 299 of the World’s Craziest Politicians profiles individuals from every corner of the world; 18 of the included politicians come from Africa, 70 from North Americas,19 from Central and South America, 47 from Asia, 16 Australasia as well as 80 from Western Europe and 43 from Eastern Europe. And all have a bespoke illustration by artist Norm Chung.

Laura Purcell’s debut novel is editor’s pick in the Historical Novels Review

LauraQueen of Bedlam is ‘pick of the week’

‘Queen of Bedlam is a masterfully written and well-researched novel written by someone who has truly mastered the craft of evoking readers’ emotions. Not only does it give us a historical account of the depth and degrees of the mental illness of King George, but additionally, and perhaps more importantly, it gives voice to the family members who are often forgotten but are still intensely affected by it.’

For the full review please visit the Historical Novels website here.

The Road to Rome: Three authors, one incredible journey

Three authors. Two charities. One long road (and an awful lot of armour).

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 09.05.08In 2013, historical fiction authors Ben Kane, Anthony Riches and Russell Whitfield walked eighty miles along Hadrian’s Wall, in full Roman armour. They did it to help two charities, Combat Stress and Medecins Sans Frontieres; in the process they raised almost £19,000.

In 2014, they decided to repeat the madness by walking in Italy – one hundred and thirty miles from a Roman amphitheatre at Capua, to the Colosseum in Rome. Wearing between 2.5 and 4 stone of armour and equipment each, they by turns endured heavy traffic, bemused locals and animals, and recreated what it might have been like to march in a Roman legion. In the process, they bled (a little), sweated (a lot) and suffered blistered feet (a decent amount). There may have been some cursing too. However, with £26,000 raised for charity, it may have been worth it.

Narrated by Ian McKellen, The Road To Rome is a feature-length documentary and can be viewed here.



Firecracker of a book to illuminate crazy world politics

Fat BoyGuy Fawkes was foiled in a plot to blow up the British Parliament but a brand new book published today aims to set off some fireworks among political establishments all over the world. The Fat Boy with the Bomb and 299 of the World’s Craziest Politicians by American journalist, Brian O’Connell, and cleverly illustrated by British artist, Norm Chung is published today on Bonfire Night. The book identifies the downright dangerous leaders, as well as the just plain stupid lawmakers from around the world. Joining Bible-belt Americans, African dictators and neo-Nazi Europeans among the 300 in the book are a crazy clutch of UK politicians who stand out from the mainstream.

“The US is known for producing stupid politicians,” says author Brian O’Connell. “But if I wasScreen Shot 2015-01-29 at 09.03.07 handing out an award for the dumbest politician on the planet right now, it would have to go to Harvard and Oxford-educated, former banker, Brooks Newmark, although he’s not the first politician to snap and share a selfie of his family jewels. Lars Ohly, former chairman of Sweden’s Left party, accidentally shared his on instagram.”

Joining Newmark are Brits Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Bill Etheridge, Mark Reckless, George Galloway, Nadine Dorries, Douglas Carswell, Zac Goldsmith, Neil Hamilton, Kate Hoey, Denis Skinner, Alex Salmond, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Eric Joyce. “The UK actually has more than its fair share of whacko politicians,” says O’Connell. “They’re just more inbred and insipid than some of the crazier Americans.”

The Fat Boy with the Bomb and 299 of the World’s Craziest Politicians profiles individuals from every corner of the world; 18 of the included politicians come from Africa, 70 from North Americas,19 from Central and South America, 47 from Asia, 16 Australasia as well as 80 from Western Europe and 43 from Eastern Europe. And all have a bespoke illustration by artist Norm Chung.

“I’m not trying to shock,” says O’Connell. “Anyone can point a stick at the world’s dictators, such as Equatorial New Guinea’s ‘President for Life’ Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, where it’s reported in some precincts that he garners 103% of the vote. But this book is really about lifting the lid on the mad and bad that the world doesn’t yet know, like Quincy Timberlake who says he plans to stand in the 2017 Kenyan presidential elections, but has been charged with the murder of his three-year-old son.”

The Fat Boy with the Bomb and 299 of the World’s Craziest Politicians by Brian O’Connell and Norm Chung is published by Myrmidon on 5th November 2014 ISBN 9781910183090 Priced £12.99.


International bestselling novel, The Garden of Evening Mists, moves to the big screen

The Garden of Evening MistsWhen a Malaysian columnist suggested in her article (back in 2012) that The Garden of Evening Mists would make a great film, little did she know that her piece would be read, and her advice taken.

‘Thanks to Aunty, a local film studio has set itself the ambitious task of turning an international bestselling novel into a movie.’ The Star

‘Suffused with a satisfying richness of colour and character, it still abounds in hidden passageways and occult corners. Mysteries and secrets persist. Tan dwells often on the borderline states, the in between areas, of Japanese art: the archer’s hiatus before the arrow speeds from the bow; the patch of skin that a master of the horimono tattoo will leave bare; or the “beautiful and sorrowful” moment “just as the last leaf is about to drop”. ’  The Independent

‘This is a novel that overflows with historical and specialist information, and like The Gift of Rain, it showcases Tan Twan Eng as a master of cultural complexities.’ The Guardian

It’s not hard to see why Henry Tan (chief operating officer for strategy, content and marketing for film company Astro), fell in love with this novel.

For the full details please see the original news article below.


The wait is over – Toby Frost Tour Dates are here!

TobyEnd of Empires, the fifth exciting instalment of the cult Space Captain Smith series, is out now.

After a very successful launch at the Forbidden Planet store in London, Toby Frost will now be touring the Waterstones stores during September and October.

We kick off the tour with an evening talk and signing at Waterstones Ipswich on Saturday 20th September from 6:30pm. Nibbles and refreshments will also be provided.

Throughout October Toby will be signing on:

Saturday 4th October – Milton Keynes (Midsummer Place) 11am till 1pm

Saturday 11th October – St. Albans 11am till 1pm

Saturday 18th October – Hemel Hempstead 11am till 1pm

Saturday 25th October – Amersham 11am till 1pm

And to top it all off the ebook has now arrived – hurrah! To purchase your ebook copy please click the link here.