I am a recently retired sort-of academic, wanting now to explore genres that academic writing hardly encourages. I was born in Clonmel, Ireland, and brought up in England—in Manchester, Nottingham, six-months in a Franciscan novitiate in Chilworth, then Kenilworth. I completed a B.A., at London University, and a Ph.D., begun at Stanford and finished in 1972 at Cornell. My first job, and, lacking all initiative, my only job has been at Simon Fraser University. I’ve done quite a lot of talking at people for money during my academic career, and have enjoyed the paid tourism that this has involved. I greatly appreciate Japanese gardens, and have designed and built a couple locally.
I’ve published about 20 academic books, with translations into more than 20 languages, but have only published one ‘trade’ book: Building my Zen Garden (the publisher’s title—I had called it “Building a Japanese Garden—The Irish way,”) Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. I have been working on a couple of fiction books, combining academia and thrillerdom—the first described by a Literary Consultancy reader as “like a David Lodge novel set in an episode of the Sopranos.” I have also written a number of travel essays, based on fairly extensive academic speaking engagements, though they are mostly about the places and often weird characters and situations one runs into. I also have a draft of an autobiographical account of having been a Franciscan novice long ago in the last days of Latin. Now I want to explore writing in a variety of genres, and would value finding people with a similar, or not too different, interest.