1st January 2020


Following the Christmas celebrations I’m sitting at my desk again to begin a new novel. It’s the fourth prequel to the Teacher series set in 1976/77, the year before ‘Teacher, Teacher!' So I feel as though I have come full circle to where it all began many years ago when my first novel, to my surprise, proved so successful. So it’s a new year, a new decade and a new story.

I was asked to write a series of prequels to the Teacher series beginning with ‘Starting Over’, set in 1952/53 followed by ‘Changing Times’ set in 1963/64. Both of these novels are now in the bookshops. The next, ‘Back to School’, set in 1969/70 and featuring the young Jack Sheffield early in his career will be launched in Waterstones Milton Keynes on Thursday 3rd September 2020 followed by a series of signings around the country including Waterstones York on Saturday 5th September 2020.

‘Changing Times’ is the second prequel to the Teacher series, set in the 1960s and is a follow-up to ‘Starting Over’ that was set in the 1950s. The story is intended to capture the essence of the time and the research has included sixties culture, the assassination of John Kennedy and the emergence of the Beatles on the popular music scene. I've enjoyed the change of focus and I do hope my regular readers enjoy stepping back in time when some of the popular characters, including Vera the Secretary and Ruby the Assistant Caretaker, were living in the village long before they appeared in 'Teacher, Teacher!' set in 1976/77.

Meanwhile . . . many thanks to everyone who went out and purchased a copy of ‘Starting Over’. I have made an audio recording of this novel along with ‘Changing Times’ at the Soundings Studio near Newcastle.

The thirteenth novel in the series, ‘Back to School’, has been completed and passed on to my editor. It is another prequel set in 1969/70 and follows a year in the life of the young Jack teaching in a tough school in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

A list of speaking engagements is being organised for me including a Literary Lunch in London at the prestigious Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall on Tuesday 29th September 2020. More details will follow on the Events page.

Following the award of the honorary title of Cultural Fellow of York St John University I am required to give a series of lectures over the coming years. I was there again to deliver a short speech on behalf of alumni who were receiving honorary degrees.

Also sincere thanks to the countless readers, particularly those from Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada and France, who have emailed me saying how much they enjoyed the latest novel. I've received a number of emails from partially sighted readers who are enjoying the audio editions of the Teacher series. So thank you . . . it is rewarding to think my stories are providing some relaxing entertainment in your lives.

Very best wishes to you all for a happy and healthy 2020.



                      Left-handed inspiration!

Jack in recording studio

Jack recording his latest novel.


Jack with the inspirational author, Matt Haig, on the day Matt received his Doctorate at York St John University.