Bob has been lecturing and speaking for many years on Devon history, cultural associations, ghosts and folklore.
He taught evening classes on Totnes history for the WEA and Devon County Council in the 1990s, and has given numerous talks to Women’s Institutes, local history and museum societies, the U3A, branches and sections of the Devonshire Association and other groups.
His main focus is currently on the lives and works of Devon writers, either born or adopted or just passing through, and their relationship to the places in which they lived or which inspired them. These include such diverse and sometimes unexpected figures as Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Keats, Agatha Christie, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, Samuel Johnson, Sean O’Casey, Beverley Nichols, Evelyn Waugh, Desmond Bagley, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, John Galsworthy, Elizabeth Goudge, Robert Graves, P. C. Wren, J. D. Salinger, Jean Rhys and many others.
Talks are available on the literary associations of Totnes, Torbay, the South Hams, Dartmoor, Plymouth and Exeter, or on the following individual authors:
Sabine Baring-Gould, squire, parson, antiquary, novelist, folklorist, song collector, hymn writer and much more.
M. P. Willcocks, Devon’s pioneer feminist, novelist, critic, biographer and activist.
John Trevena, Dartmoor’s weirdest writer.
Beatrice Chase, writer and instigator of Dartmoor traditions.
Henry Williamson, novelist, naturalist, creator of the much-loved Tarka, but tainted by his fascist sympathies.
Vian Smith, novelist, journalist, trainer of race horses and author of some of the best 20th century Dartmoor writing.
Marcia Willett, author of many novels set in South Devon, with others set further afield in Cornwall and Somerset. Bob knew her well, and wrote her first ever review.
For more information about some of these writers, see Articles.
Contact Bob on 07530026575 if you are interested in a talk on any of these subjects, or arrange for one tailored to your particular needs.