Come and meet Bernard! He will be signing books at Waterstones, 69 Saddler Street, Durham City, from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturday 1 July.
Bernard will be interviewed on Bishop FM Radio at 8 am on Saturday 1 July.
Bernard is featured by The Literary Consultancy as their Showcase Author for January 2017. For further information go to:
Article by Mike Amos, The Northern Echo, Tuesday 9 May 2017
BACK in the 1970s, Bernard Hall was an economics lecturer at Durham University and wrote occasional pieces for The Northern Echo. “As a young man I was going to be the next Tolstoy,” he recalls. “I ended up doing bits for the Echo.”
Our paths have crossed before. I’d mentioned him back then, “promoted” him to professor – “much to the chagrin of my more ambitious colleagues” – had to carry a correction.
Chair pulled from under him, Bernard joined Durham County Council in the 1980s, became a social worker covering Spennymoor and Shildon, hoped to make the world – or that
blessed part of it – a happier place.
It’s that which is the background for his first novel, Miss Perfect. Durham County Council becomes Rudham – clever, eh? – Spennymoor is Moortown and Shildon, less obviously, Brownlow.
It’s in Brownlow that he swears he encountered the fabled council house horse, the one that lived in the back bedroom. (Others swear it was Woodhouse Close.)
Madge Perfect, that name also changed, was one of his gaffers, a single woman in her 50s with a heart for the job and for her social service clients.
Others in the department were more concerned about stabbing her in the back. Rudham, says Bernard, had “an ageist and very sexist culture”.
The book’s wry, amusing, perceptive, insightful and greatly entertaining. There’s much to which both town and gown will relate, though the Golden Slipper massage parlour surely couldn’t have been in Shildon.
Bernard’s now 78, lives on the south coast, swears he’s trying to tunnel northwards. On July 1 he hopes to be signing books at Waterstone’s in Durham; at 7pm on July 6 he’s
addressing the Local History Society in Shildon Methodist church hall. Or Brownlow, as the case may be.
Bernard Hall worked as an investment analyst in Edinburgh then taught economics at Glasgow and Durham universities before becoming a social worker. After failing to make the world a richer or happier place he now writes about growing up in apartheid South Africa, racism in sport, and the life and times of his great-great grandfather, born in Cork, who eloped with a nun and died a member of the first Cape Parliament.