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There has been significant progress as regards my books. HANG THE TEACHER OUT TO DRY has been available for over a year, and whilst sales have not been fantastic, it has received rave reviews. It is now in a second edition, available in hardback, softback and as a Kindle, and much improved. I was sad to lose the original cover, but it kept getting banned, which does not help sales! My first two novels, CHINESE WHISPERS - SISTERS and CHINESE WHISPERS - MOTHERS, have been written, re-written, edited and re-edited; both are ready. The lead book of the pair, CHINESE WHISPERS - SISTERS, is now in the hands of a few literary agents. I hope one of them will take me on board, and we'll get the book to a publisher in 2023. For those of you that do not know, I was left hanging last year when a publisher told me they would take on the novel, only to let me down four months later; it knocked the stuffing out of me a bit, and it took me a while to get back on track, but here I am; alive and kicking!

Cover page Hang the Teacher Out to Dry. An agama resting in the sun in Lilongwe, Malawi.

No more marking, no more planning lessons, no more writing curriculum and no more alarm calls at 5.30 am. However, I miss the students who kept me going over the thirty years of my teaching career, including the good, the bad and the seriously misguided.

HANG THE TEACHER OUT TO DRY charts my final year of teaching, including some fiery relationships with school management and looks back over thirty years of mostly positive relationships with students, parents and teachers in six countries around the world.

There are stories deriving from each that broaden your smile, make you laugh out loud or cringe in desperation behind the sofa. From school trips to school plays, the best action is rarely in the classroom, even though that was my main stage for over three decades. This book is dedicated to the students who filled those classrooms and the cleaners who cleaned them.



"...a very engaging style of writing, and a sense of the absurd - very necessary in many situations!" Carol Spalton 

"For me, the more personal the book became, the more I enjoyed it; so many of the personal anecdotes were excellent and many quite moving and illuminating." Peter Gray

Cover page of Chinese Whispers - Sisters. A yaodong in China.

Set at the beginning of the second millennium BCE, SISTERS is focused on a time of massive change. Fledgling city-states compete to dominate their hinterlands, while male warrior kings fight for control of what becomes the first dynasty. Genocide, femicide, misogyny, torture and mutilation are simply tools in the hands of the Lóngshān warlords. Women are subjugated and relegated to using power covertly, if at all. Environmental destruction snowballs across the land, making survival increasingly arduous for desperate farmers.  

Only the Sisterhood and the Xià stand in the way of the terrible overlordship of the Lóngshān, persuading their people to relocate into more temperate climes and to more fertile soils. The Xià arrange the fall of Táosì, the migrations, and the rise of Èrlǐtou, whilst the Lóngshān squabble amongst themselves.


The Sisterhood aim to restore women’s rights, which had been eroded as societies turned from hunter-gathering to farming. The Sisterhood also envision a new form of state where all individuals can participate in decision-making. The book focuses firmly on the female cast:

  • Líng, a teenager, becomes their leader and tactician,

  • Hòutú is the arch-communicator, scarred by torture,

  • Tú, her daughter, has been imprisoned since birth, and

  • Túshānshì, a beauty who follows a more selfish agenda and is married to

  • Yú, who was supposedly the first Chinese emperor, is Túshānshì’s husband.


The ability to control the natural environment is the deciding factor in determining the result of their struggle.

Cover page of Chinese Whispers - Mothers. Turtles pile on to of each other in China.


MOTHERS continues the story from the first book, SISTERS. Therefore, I need to avoid including a spoiler and will provide only a minimal description.


Following major battles and helping establish an empire, the Sisterhood reform and move away from the established centre of power, knowing their task will be never-ending. The tale follows them in their trials and tribulations as they attempt to secure the ground for continued liberalism and proper governance whilst faced with the rump of the Lóngshān, persistent misogynistic attitudes, and backsliding amongst the males of their people.


There are a few nasty surprises tucked away, both in Èrlǐtou and as the tale moves further up the Yellow River, where some societies have not reached the same level of development. Once again, natural events significantly impact people, but growing individual greed is the central theme.


If anyone were to ask if there is a happy ending, I would have to laugh in their face. I don’t do ‘happy endings’!

Cover page of Chinese Whispers - Ancestors. A mountain range in China.


ANCESTORS 1 & 2 are prequels to SISTERS and MOTHERS, set over a thousand years earlier. At that time, China was not China, and the Chinese were not yet Chinese.


The tale commences around the shores of Lake Baikal (now in Russia) with a people facing a climatic nightmare and the need to move further south. The demands of migration force the tribes to move away from their sexual liberation and matriarchal roots, which precipitates the slide toward pair-bonding, patriarchy and misogyny that is to be found in SISTERS.


The journeys from Lake Baikal split the tribe, who take on two different routes with entirely different experiences. The result is that two completely different societies arrive in what will become China, one based on the Yellow River and the other on the Yangtze. From innocent beginnings, we see the birth of nascent forms of democracy, communism, fascism and dictatorship.


There are fights for life, fights for freedom and fights for peace. The Ying and the Yang encircle them yet also pull them apart; these are the ANCESTORS of modern China. 

Cover page of Chinese Whispers - Philosophers. A garden in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China.


PHILOSOPHERS 1 & 2 are sequels to SISTERS and MOTHERS but are set some twelve hundred years later. The Chinese already had dynasties; possibly the first was the Xia, but as a matter of historical record, the Shang and Zhou. This story commences as the Zhou Dynasty falls apart in the Spring and Autumn period. Small statelets tumble in disputes, and division dominates any ideal of unification. Each statelet searches to stabilise governance with bureaucratic solutions from the wandering and mercenary PHILOSOPHERS.


Women have become mere chattels, of little or no significance, hardly considered human. The PHILOSOPHER’S voices boom from courtyard to courtyard, reinforcing misogynistic sentiment, whilst the cultural shift all but silences women. In the Forty (a development of the Sisterhood), a few brave females keep the flame burning and push back against subjugation and the idea that they are only belongings.


The story follows Confucius (Kong Qiu) as he sets about establishing himself on what could be regarded as a world stage. Possible contemporaries, such as Lao Zi, Sun Tzu, and further afield, Siddhārtha Gautama, vie with each other to bend the ears of the men with the power. Embedded in the principles of the Chinese PHILOSOPHERS was the idea that women were of lower status than men.


However, there are some great dichotomies in Confucius’s outpourings, and there is little doubt that some were placed there deliberately. At times it seems like a completely different set of values influenced him. Confucius changed China and possibly the world; who was he, who was bending his ear, and could he sing?

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