New Memoir    SOME SCHOOLS

SOME SCHOOLS, described as a "professional memoir", was published by John Catt Educational Ltd in September 2016. It is an 80,000 word account of the various schools Jonty Driver worked in after his arrival in the U.K. in 1964, immediately after his release from detention in solitary confinement by the South African security police as a consequence of the two years he spent as President of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS).

 

The schools are:  Sevenoaks (1964-5, 1967-73), Matthew Humberstone Comprehensive School (1973-8), Island School, Hong Kong (1978-83), Berkhamsted School (1983-9), and Wellington College (1989-2000).  The positions he held in those schools were: English teacher, then Housemaster of the International Sixth Form Centre; Director of Sixth Form Studies; Principal; Headmaster; and Master (a Chinese friend, a stranger to English terminology, once murmured, "Downhill all the way").

 

SOME SCHOOLS has a generous foreword by Sir Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington 2006-2015. The book is available from the publisher, from local bookshops or from Amazon.

Other Recent Publication

 

In September 2015, the Crane River Press published, in Cape Town, a short biography, THE MAN WITH THE SUITCASE, The Life, Execution and Rehabilitation of John Harris, Liberal Terrorist.  Fifty years ago, John Harris was hanged for having placed a bomb in the concourse of Johannesburg station, which caused the death of a bystander and injured horribly others nearby.  Although Harris had warned the police and the press about the bomb, no effort to clear the concourse was made.  Driver has come up with new evidence that the decision not to clear the concourse after the warnig may have been made as deliberate policy.

 

C.J.Driver is one of the patrons of the new literary magazine, STANZAS, first published in September 2015, and edited by Doug Skinner and Patricia Schonstein - see www.stanzas.co.za for details. Jonty has had a number of poems in that magazine.

 

In a recent number of NEW CONTRAST there are six of Jonty's unrhymed sonnets about six photographs from his youth.

COMING SOON

 

On Saturday 8th July, from 3-00 to 4-00 p.m., in the church of St Mary the Virgin in St Mary's-in-the-Marsh, near New Romney, Jonty will be reading some of his sequence of poems, The Journey Back, as part of the JAM Festival in the Romney Marshes.  The Journey Back was written in 1992 and published in 1994 as a sort of "travel book in verse" and describes some of the places visited on what was Jonty's first visit to his home-country after the travel-restrictions placed on him by the apartheid government were lifted (in effect he had until then been made a prohibited immigrant to South Africa). 

 

In between some of the poems Peter Fields will be playing on the violin Corelli's variations known as La Folia.  

 

Admission is free, though there will be a collection for the Hantam Community Education Trust in the Karoo.

 

 

Other Events

 

*In May 2017, Jonty and Isobel Dixon did a combined reading of their poems in the Faculty of English, Cambridge University, to a small but apparently appreciative audience.

 

*In March 2014, Jonty was invited to be one of the readers at the Mandela Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey, and there read a short passage from the 'Robben Island Bible', i.e. an extract from Julius Caesar which Nelson Mandela had signed and dated in 1977.

 

*In November 2014, at the evening service in Westminster Abbey, the Revd Chris Chivers read the sequence of poems entitled REQUIEM, first published in 1997, with a cello accompaniment by Brian O'Kane (excerpts from J.S.Bach's 1st Cello Suite).  The poems were printed in the order of service. In July 2015, Jonty himself read the sequence as part of the JAM festival in the Romney Marshes, with Peter Fields' playing on the violin pieces from the Bach Suite No 2. 

 
*In 2014 and again in 2015, Jonty was a guest at the Boekbedonnerd Festival in Richmond in the Karoo, South Africa, reading from recent books and answering questions.
 
* In June 2013, the Kingston University Press (KUP) published My Brother & I, one of its series of short biographies, and joint-winner of the anonymous competition organised by the KUP in 2012. My Brother & I is available from the Legend Press (£6.99 plus postage) or from Amazon.

 

* In September 2013, Mampoer Shorts published as an e-book Used to be Great Friends, an essay in autobiography, a revised and updated version of an essay published first in Granta in 2002. Unfortunately, it is no longer available.

 

* In November 2013, the Happenstance Press published a pamphlet of twenty-four selected poems with the title Citizen of Elsewhere. It is now out of print. 

* In July 2016, in the church of St Mary-in-the-Marsh, Jonty read his sequence of 22 poems, entitled BEFORE, with the violinist, Peter Fields, playing a variety of solo pieces (some classical, some popular, some jazz) between the poems. The performance was part of the John Armitage Memorial festival in the Romney Marsh churches. The poems in BEFORE were written while Jonty held a fellowship at the Hawthornden International Writers' Centre in Scotland in 2011, and were first published in the South African literary magazine, New Contrast, No. 161, in 2013; they have not yet been published as a pamphlet or in a collection.