Mad Hatter Blog #10

THE CHILD’S PERSPECTIVE AS NARRATOR You return to that earlier time armed with the present, and no matter how dark that world was, you do not leave it unlit. You take your adult self with you. It is not to be a reliving, but a rewitnessing –  Michael Ondaatje,...

Mad Hatter: Blog #9 – My life as a spy

MY LIFE AS A SPY One of the two narrators in Mad Hatter is a child called Katie, who speaks from adulthood, recalling her post-war life. In early childhood she makes a remarkable discovery. I could hear Vera’s voice floating down the corridor as she sang along with...

Mad Hatter Blog #8

LATCHMERE HOUSE    In this blog I share an account of my research trip to Latchmere House, a former MI5 headquarters during WW2 where my father was held and interrogated for 3 weeks in the summer of 1940. This piece is based partly on an excerpt from Mad Hatter, which...

Mad Hatter Blog #7

RESEARCHING MAD HATTER I’d been sitting on this story all my life, too afraid to tell it because, I had told myself, it’s not important, everyone’s got a better story. But the real reason was, it felt too shameful.  Wanting to be heard, yet afraid to tell: this...

Mad Hatter Blog #6

WHY MAD HATTER? My father was a hat manufacturer. Not hands-on. He was management, a director of his grandfather’s hat factory, entitled to sit in an office and shuffle papers, take business trips abroad, that sort of thing. But in fact he was a hands-on man. In the...

Mad Hatter Blog #5

MY FRANCOPHILE MOTHER Cynthia Hélène Cynthia Brooke, the central female character in Mad Hatter is based on my own mother, also named Cynthia. She was a Francophile who had been sent to Paris to live with a family and learn French. This period was, I believe, the...