“I wonder that so many people have written, who might have let it alone” (Dr. Johnson)
This is where the kind (or masochistically inclined) can find a few of my articles, plus details of various books. I have written on subjects ranging from arts to topography, for journals including the Times, Sunday Telegraph, Economist, Daily Mail, Spectator, Literary Review, Irish Times, Country Life, New Welsh Review, Unherd, Chronicles, American Conservative, Modern Age, University Bookman, Bournbrook, The Agonist, The Lady, Spectator Australia, Quadrant, and Spiked. I accept blame for several novels – A Modern Journey, Displacement, Sea Changes, with more aborning. My first non-fiction book, Edge of England: Landfall in Lincolnshire, has just been published. My main areas of interest are English literature, British topography, European culture and history, ecology, folklore, and politics.
I also edit The Brazen Head – www.brazen-head.org – an online quarterly of culture and current affairs.
I lurk in one of the obscurest of the old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, but can quite often be found at editor[a]brazen-head.org
I’m on Twitter too – @DerekTurner1964
good to see this Derek, i’ll investigate further when i’ve more time on the pc. at present i’m having a digital love affair with Titania Mcgrath.
How I love the self-deprecator!
I look forward to reading more from your pen (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Glad to find your site. Miss the old “Right Now!” days. Sad to see Allan Robertson is no longer with us.
Just now looked you up to see what you’re up to, and I see you’re putting out novels.
* Would still be chuffed to meet up again some time! — am now living out in the sticks (scenic very hilly Yorkshire gritstone land with lots of tress) having taken over the family home. You’d be welcome to visit / stay.
That would be great, Steve. As soon as the current nonsense is over (assuming we survive, of course!) we’ll sort out a state visitation. There haven’t been any novels recently, but one’s with my agent, and another’s nearing completion. I look forward to hearing what you’re doing. Send a message via Facebook
Where is the review you mentioned?
Here you are, mon brave! – https://www.derek-turner.com/2020/05/11/flows-of-history/
Where can I find old copies of the Right Now! magazine?
Hoping that Derek sees this message.
Hello Derek – I moved away from Lincolnshire in the 70’s and have just returned after living here, there and everywhere. As a returning gift a good friend bought me your wonderful book which I’m hugely looking forward to. If you have time (of course you do, there’s a lot more of it in Lincolnshire) please have a look at my ode to Lincs – I think you’ll enjoy it… Ken
If the link doesn’t work please search “Land of mud and sky – Ken Popple” on Youtube. Yes I’m pushing it I know.
Hello, Ken, and thanks for your kind comment. Thanks, too, for “pushing it”, because your ode is excellent! I wonder why I’ve never come across it before. Do you write many songs, and do you perform publicly? Do let me know. In the meantime, thanks again, and all best, D
Hello Derek – thanks for the kind remarks. I play now and again at open mics. My next venture is hopefully in Louth at Riverside theatre on Wednesday 10- it’ll be a mixed bag of song and poetry I believe. Your article btw on Boston in Unherd was a good but uncomfortable read for a conflicted liberal like myself. It’s my home town, although I don’t live there now but all my family do. My final thanks: as an English teacher I was delighted to learn the word tergiversation from your Lincolnshire book! All the best. Ken
I have only just seen this comment! Apologies. Of course I missed your Louth appearance. Let me know of any others, please. I’ll try and keep a more attentive eye on my comments, and you can always e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. As for Boston, it’s a wonderful but unlucky town, much put upon by recent fate. I’m sorry if my article was discomfiting. As for tergiversation, always glad to be of glossarial assistance, and revive vocabulary fallen into abeyance!
Do you like science fiction books?
Some. I’m not widely read in the genre
Hello Derek. Have just finished reading your fantastic book on Lincolnshire. I left the county at 18 way back in the 1970s and it’s great to see the place so well-served; I must get back and explore the bits I missed.
Hello, David. Thank you very much for this very kind comment; it’s vastly appreciated. The subject and I hit it off quite well, I think! I wrote far more than I needed to, so who knows – maybe one day there will be a follow up. Whereabouts did you live? Thanks again, and all the very best for Christmas. Derek
A couple of weeks ago I was walking from the Eastgate bus drop to the Cathedral cafe and thought I do not want to live anywhere else than this. My home in Sudbrooke, and Lincolnshire. Yet I am a geordie and have lived in Sussex and travelled extensively. I relish the history and everything about the county. It’s my place.
This Christmas week included:
19th: a return visit, after years, to Gunby Hall to enjoy the Christmas decorations, but also to be fascinated by the life of Emily Langton Massingberd.
23rd: At Lincoln Archives handling her letters to her father.
24th: A wander in the Cathedral, brought to a premature end, by the fire alarm.
26th – last night: blown away by the opening pages of the “The Edge of England” – a surprise present from my son, who lives in Manchester.
I will relish reading more. Thank you for writing it and standing up for the area that so few can pin-point.
Thank you very much for this kind note. A Christmas devoted to Yellowbelly Studies – I approve! I’m delighted you liked the book. As you will have noted, I’m a blow-in myself. One advantage of being an outsider moving into a place is that you are less likely to take it for granted. There is, of course, a strong sense of local pride amongst native-born Lincolnshire people, but it is usually tacit, rarely communicated to outsiders. I am glad to do what I can to highlight the county’s charms and significances; it’s a microcosm of the whole country, and an increasingly embattled identity. Good luck with the rest of the book, and best wishes for 2023.
Many thanks and best wishes to you for 2023 – as we see our world seemingly falling apart.
I have sent our shared messages to my son in Manchester – it was he who bought me your book for Christmas.
I’ve just seen this. Thanks for troubling to reply, and I’m glad you cc-ed your public-spirited son! All the best to you, and to him, for 2023.
Wishing you a very Happy New Year coupled with av’Thank you’ for the mention in ‘EDGE OF ENGLAND’ (page 119). With best regards from the nonagenarian at Croft.
Thank you so much, Colin (and Happy New Year back). How splendid to hear from you. I am delighted you saw your mention, and I’m just sorry I never asked your name, after all your kindness in showing me around. You are a worthy keeper of the keys for a fantastic and unique church; long yet may your association continue! Again, thank you, and all the very best. Derek
Have very much enjoyed your study of Lincolnshire, based on an amazing breadth of sources and so evocatively written. I was born in Lincoln and brought up in Spridlington, one of the least known Cliff villages, but have lived most of my adult life in the south for work reasons, and your book brought it all back. I have family roots in the Isle of Axholme too – one of those urn tombs at Epworth you mention was an ancestor. One small thing to draw your attention to, though, the last execution at Lincoln was at the Greetwell Road prison, not the castle. You don’t mention the Victorian prison (you can’t cover everything of course!) but it also held for a short time Irish republican leader, Eamon de Valera. Thank you for writing about our neglected county, and best wishes.
Thanks very much, Graham. I’m very glad you liked the book, although I’m vexed to discover the error about the execution. I should have used more, err, despatch in that section! I was sorry not to be able to mention de Valera, but I had to cut a lot of text near the end to fit within the limit, and EDV was one of the victims. If there is ever a follow-up, perhaps his forbidding features may look out from those pages. Thanks again; your kindness is vastly appreciated
Impossible to cover everything Derek, and I thought your priorities were right. A follow up volume would be great. Still more hidden corners to illuminate – Buslingthorpe (interesting knightly effigy and brass, birthplace of Roger Scruton) and on a lighter note, Market Rasen (Bernie Taupin, ‘Saturday night’s all right for fighting’) and doubtless many more from our little known county.
Lots of hidden corners and odd connections indeed! I had no idea RS (Whom I used to know a little) had been born in Buslingthorpe; for some reason, that never came up in our conversations. I do know the church there, though. I mention Taupin briefly, and had hoped to quote some of his lyrics of Elton John’s song about Grimsby, but song lyrics are cloaked in copyright restrictions, and an e-mail to him asking for permission went unanswered. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to revisit him, and much else, some day.
I don’t think Scruton’s family lived there long, to be fair. A shame about Taupin and the copyright issue, hadn’t thought of that. There’s also Jim Broadbent at Holton cum Beckering and the associated theatre there. Aviation – Scampton, which I gather has now closed, and the East Kirkby recreated WW2 bomber station with Lancaster etc. So much just in mid-Lincs!
Roger’s father was in the RAF, I believe, so a peripatetic childhood. Again, poor Jim B had to be edited out for space reasons – but he’s still in there in the overmatter. I’ll definitely return some day
Not sure if this is the right place to leave these comments, but I’ve just finished ‘Edge of England’ and wonder if you’re aware of one or two slight errors?
On page 367, the title is Duke, not Earl of Rutland. Page 378, the speed record for Mallard was on 3rd July, not 7th, and it was set to the south of Grantham, between Little Bytham and Essendine. Confusion may have arisen, because the record run started north of Grantham Station.
Lastly, where are the machine guns in Wyndham Park? I’ve never seen them, although there is a replica pair in the form of a relatively new memorial sculpture.
Hello, Malcolm, and thanks for your interest in the book. It’s always galling to find errors, even when they are just typos, as I like to get things right. I try to be big enough to be grateful whenever they are pointed out! Seriously, thanks for these pointers; I’ll incorporate them if I can into the paperback edition, due out in autumn. Earl instead of Duke was sheer carelessness, and I am presently kicking myself hard; I can’t remember offhand where I culled the info about the Mallard, but will check. It might be someone else’s original error, but of course even if it is, I am still at fault for not taking more care. The Grantham machine guns were always replicas (the ones you have seen); I should have made that clear. Congratulations on your acuteness, and thanks. Derek
I came across your book by chance. Knowing little of Lincolnshire I have found myself absorbed in Edge of England, thanks to your wonderful combination of scholarship, sympathy and poetic prose. I look forward to new discoveries and sharing some of your pleasure in the county.
Thank you! It’s very kind of you to take the trouble to tell me so. It seemed to me to be a book that HAD to be written; I’m very glad if something of my enthusiasm came through. Of course, it fell short of my own expectations, but then all semi-conscientious writers feel that way about ‘finished’ work. I am now pondering a follow-up book that builds on some of EoE’s themes, although what exactly I’m still not quite sure. We shall see. In the meantime, thanks again, and best wishes. Derek