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Meet Ian Clayton: Author of A Song For My Father
Mon 9 May 2016, 18:30 – 19:30 BST
Ian Clayton: Song For My Father
‘Another humble masterpiece from our finest accidental historian’ Andy Kershaw
Ian Clayton introduces Song For My Father
It all started with me wanting to write a book about being middle-aged. I had this idea of creating a series of stories about the thresholds we all have to step over as we grow; rites of passage you might say. I wanted it to be about leaving older, more ordinary worlds behind and discovering new ones.
I had written about a third of a book, when one morning my dad phoned me right out of the blue. ‘Now then, narrow… how are you going on?’ I had only seen him a couple of times in the previous forty years, but recognised his voice (and the way he called me ‘narrow’) straight away. I didn’t really know what to say back, so I just told him that I’d heard from my younger brother that he was poorly. ‘I’m riddled with cancer,’
he replied. ‘The doctor says I’ve got about six weeks, so I wondered if you’d like to see me before I pass to t’other side.’ My dad was very hard of hearing, so I found myself talking about his cancer at a volume that didn’t seem appropriate. I told him that I would visit him. He said, ‘Well don’t dawdle!’
I went three times before he died and phoned him on about a half-dozen other occasions. He told me a lot of stories that I didn’t know and we swapped a lot of reminiscence about when I was a lad. I started to write down these things and realised that I could combine this with the writing I had already been working on.
What transpired was a book about journeys; some of the book is set in Hull; other parts are in China where I travelled to work and America where I travelled for adventure. It is also a story of discovery; Song For My Father is about having a dad at the beginning and then not having one in the middle and then finally having a dad again just before the end.