Purl of a book about life of poetry writing coalminer
February 26, 2010
An awe-inspired author has used the memories and unpublished poetry of his late father in a new book.
John Mallaghan celebrates the life of his father – also named John – in his first novel The Knitter.
The 57-year-old Glaswegian explained how his book is a fictionalised memoir of his coalmining, poetry-writing dad.
Mr Mallaghan Sr was a musician who enjoyed art, writing and was a great teacher to his family.
His son, a management consultant who was born in a small mining town 10 miles from Glasgow and moved to Wokingham around 25 years ago, said feedback on the book has gone well.
He said The Knitter is not just a poetry book but a collection of memories and stories based on the song and verse of his father.
Mr Mallaghan said: “The Knitter isn’t really a book about my dad, although he appears in it a lot.
“It’s really written to him, a celebration of his talent, his values and the effect he had on me.
“What I hope I have done, in addition to telling some good stories, is draw through the entire narrative a feeling for the talent, intelligence and inspiration that can sometimes be found in the most unexpected places, and leave the reader a little wiser and better for the experience.
“My dad spent his working life either down a coalmine, or working above one, with a break along the way to help the country fight a war.
“With no formal training, and none of the financial and other encouragement his talent would have attracted now, he spent the rest of his time raising a family and writing poems, reading philosophy books, painting beautiful canvasses and playing piano, accordion, mouth organ and anything else he could make music from.”
The book, named after a poem written by Mr Mallaghan Sr, was launched earlier this year to an small audience at the author’s home in Finchampstead Road.
Mr Mallaghan said: “The whole process started about seven years ago and it probably took me a couple of years to decide what I was going to do, and another two years to get a final draft together.”