Brian Jacques
Brian Jacques (pronounced "jakes") was born in Liverpool, England on June 15th, 1939. Along with forty percent of the population of Liverpool, his ancestral roots are in Ireland, County Cork to be exact. He grew up in the area around the Liverpool docks. His interest in adventure stories began at an early age with reading the books of: Daniel Defoe Sir Henry Rider Haggard Arthur Conan Doyle Sir Thomas Malory Robert Michael Ballantyne Robert Louis Stevenson Edgar Rice Burroughs Kenneth Grahame He attended St. John's School, an inner city school that had its playground on the roof. On his first day at St. John's, at the age of ten, he had an experience that marked his potential as a writer. When given an assignment of writing a story about animals, he wrote about the bird that cleaned a crocodile's teeth. The teacher could not, and would not believe that a ten year old could write that well. When young Brian refused to falsely say that he had copied the story, he was caned as "a liar". He had always loved to write, but it was only then, that he realized that he had a talent for writing. Some teachers at St. John's proved to be good role models. As Mr. Jacques recalls: "My favourite teacher was Mr. Austin Thomas. He looked like Lee Marvin. Big Man. A Captain in World War II. He came to school on a big bush bike with the haversack on back. He was a man's man. Always fair. I was fourteen at the time when Mr. Thomas introduced the class to poetry and Greek literature. (Because of him, I saved seven shillings and sixpence to buy The Iliad and The Odyssey at this dusty used book shop.)" This interest in poetry extended to Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Goldsmith. It was also at St. John's that Brian met a teacher, Alan Durband (who also taught two Beatles, Paul McCartney and George Harrison), who, more than thirty years later would bring about a major change in his life. After Brian finished school at fifteen, he set out to find adventure as a merchant seaman. He travelled to many far away ports, including New York, Valparaiso, San Francisco, and Yokohama. Tiring of the lonely life of a sailor, he returned to Liverpool where he worked as a railway fireman, a longshoreman, a long-distance truck driver, a bus driver, a boxer, a bobby (Police Constable 216D), a postmaster, and a stand-up comic. During the sixties, when the Beatles put the world spotlight on Liverpool, he and six others including his two brothers, formed a folksinging group known as The Liverpool Fishermen. Both his brothers emigrated to New Zealand. His older brother, Tony, a carpenter, lived there with his children and grandchildren, until 1998 when he passed away. His younger brother, Jimmy, returned to Britain after twelve years. He is a prison officer in Lancaster, is married to Sandra, and has twin sons, Paul and Sean, age 19. Mr. Jacques has written both poetry and music, but he began his writing career in earnest as a playwright. His three stage plays Brown Bitter, Wet Nellies, and Scouse have been performed at the Everyman Theatre. (In case you're curious, "scouse" is a slang term for someone from Liverpool, named after the cheap, nearly meatless stew that is a staple in the traditional Liverpool working man's diet.) One child actor in the three stage plays was a young talent named Craig Charles, who later grew up to become one of the stars of the hit British comedy, Red Dwarf. Mr. Jacques wrote Redwall for the children at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool, where as a truck driver, he delivered milk. His style of writing is very descriptive, because of the nature of his first audience, for whom he painted pictures with words, so that they could see them in their imaginations. (He remains a patron of the school.) His writing gained acclaim when Alan Durband, his childhood English teacher, read Redwall, and showed it to a publisher without telling Brian. This event led to a contract for the first five books in the Redwall series. (If you look, you'll find a dedication to Alan in the front of The Bellmaker.) He now hosts his own weekly radio show, Jakestown, on BBC Radio Merseyside. It airs Sunday afternoons on 95.8 FM in Liverpool, where Brian shares his comedy and wit, and plays his favourites from the world of opera. (He is a veritable expert on The Three Tenors.) He has two grown sons, both who live in Liverpool. Marc (32) is a builder, a carpenter, and a bricklayer. David (34) is a professor of Art, and a muralist. (He paints large murals in Children's hospitals, soccer stadiums, and trade union offices as far away as Germany, Mexico, and Chile.) Brian wrote Mariel of Redwall in honour of his granddaughter, Jade, and dedicated The Great Redwall Feast to her. Mr. Jacques enjoys walking his dog, "Teddy", a white West Highland Terrier, and completing crossword puzzles. When there's time he reads the works of Mario Puzo, Damon Runyon, Richard Condon, Larry McMurtry, and P.G. Wodehouse. (He doesn't read children's books because he doesn't want to be influenced by other writers' works.

Books by this author

Mariel of Redwall
Martin the Warrior
Bellmaker, The
Outcast of Redwall
Pearls of Lutra, The
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