Personal History

I'm Cornish, and very proud of it. It's where I live now. I've been married four times, which seems extraordinary even to me: twice divorced, once widowed. I live with my fourth wife Angela, a Canadian, and I have three children: Caitlin, Sean and Ross.

Favourite poets: Pushkin, Frost, Akhmatova, Shakespeare, Yeats, Charles Causley, Emily Dickinson.
Music: Sibelius, Rachmaninov, Elgar, American musical, Cornish methodist hymns... Johnny Cash, spirituals.
Favourite painters: Vermeer, Munch.
I love: singing round a piano; elegant, feminine women in vintage fashion; rugby, cricket, smoking, politics when there's some drama and conflict, political incorrectness.

You can find out a lot more by reading my memoirs: 'Memories & Hallucinations', 'Bleak Hotel' and 'Child of Love and War'.

A chronology...
1935 b. Carnkie, Redruth, Cornwall, to Harold and Amy Thomas. My father was a plasterer.
1940-45 Trewirgie Primary School, Redruth.
46-49 Redruth Grammar School.
49 Moved with my parents to Melbourne, Australia, following my sister Lois, a war-bride.
49-51 University High School, Melbourne.
51 Returned to England, to live in Carnkie. Back to Redruth G.S.
53-55 National Service, mostly learning Russian.
55-58 Read English at New College, Oxford. Took first-class honours.
58 Married Maureen Skewes.
59 First publication, a short story in the University magazine 'Isis'.
59-63 Taught English at Teignmouth G.S.
1960 Death of my father.
1960 Birth of our daughter Caitlin.
1962 Birth of our son Sean.
63-78 Lectured in English at Hereford College of Education.
1968 First book collection, 'Two Voices' (poetry).
75 Death of my mother.
76 Married Denise Aldred.
77 Birth of our son Ross.
78 College closed, accepted redundancy. Published my first novel, 'The Flute-Player'.
78-79 Sabbatical year at New College, Oxford, where I wrote 'The White Hotel' and translated Pushkin.
87 Moved with Denise and Ross to Truro.
98 Death of my second wife Denise.
98 Published 'Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century in his Life'.
99 Married Victoria Field.
2004 Produced first (and only) play, 'Hell Fire Corner', at the Hall for Cornwall, Truro
2005 Married Angela Embree.
2018 British Library acquired my archive. Earlier material is at Wisconsin University.
2023 Passed away at home in Cornwall.