Ian Mortimer


What's New?

4 April 2017
Essential Classics

Great fun today going up to London to record an appearance on 'Essential Classics'. Normally this programme sees a celebrity interviewed about his or her favourite classical music. Today, the producers decided to do something different, and to ask me to be the guest. The idea was that I would talk about the Reformation. Brilliant - but I decided it would be even better if I could turn the whole week into an exploration of history and music, to show how music can itself be historical evidence for appreciating the past and, at the same time, history can inform our appreciation of the music. I talked about early and late medieval music, Renaissance and inspirational classics. We were able to hold have a premiere recording of a piece of medieval music that otherwise is not available (which is ironic, considering you already know it, albeit in a different form). I came away wishing I could work more with radio. It really is the best broadcasting medium for history. Perhaps one day. My five episodes of Essential Classics will be broadcast on Radio Three on 1-5 May.

2 April 2017
Martin Simpson

On Friday I felt very privileged because the great guitarist and songwriter Martin Simpson came to Moretonhampstead to be my guest. I'd met Martin three years earlier at the Elizabethan Session, and had long hoped I could entice him to Moreton. I contacted his manager, a deal was struck, and he came to play in the church here - and the evening was simply fantastic. He played by the light of my candelabra to a full house (or full church) of two hundred people. Afterwards, a fair bit of wine was consumed in my dining room as we chatted late into the night. Next day, after breakfast, we had a snap taken before he headed off to his next concert. A memorable night, for all those who were lucky enough to be there.

31 March 2017
Early sales

I understand that, due to last weekend's very positive reviews of The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain, copies will be released early. Branches of Waterstones and independent bookshops don't have to wait for next Thursday but can start selling them as soon as they receive them; deliveries have been brought forward so they should be on the shelves today. Amazon is taking pre-publication orders of the book at a knock-down price of just £13.

28 March 2017

There are still places to hear my talk to launch The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain at Devon Heritage Centre, Exeter, on the afternoon of Monday 3 April. Phone Stuart Tyler on 01392 384253 to book a place. Books will be available for sale and I'll happily sign copies.

In addition, I'll be doing a one-off bookshop talk about the new Time Traveller's Guide in London on Tuesday 4 April at 6:30pm at the Waterstones in Hampstead. No reservation necessary.

26 March 2017

Great to read two very positive reviews of the new Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain in this weekend's newspapers - Andrew Taylor writing in The Times and Andrew Holgate in The Sunday Times.

14 March 2017
Bath Half Marathon

Regular readers might have picked up on the fact that I have resolved to run fifty races in this year I turn fifty: forty-five parkruns and five half marathons. The idea is that I write about each one. (For the introduction, see this page.) Two days ago I took part in the Bath Half Marathon - the first competitive long run I've done for five months and the first since stopping running to allow a hip injury to heal. If you click on the image of pain below, you'll read part of my description of the run - and find out why it hurt so much.

9 March 2017
Belated pride

My prep school, Bickley Park School, which I attended from 1975 to 1980, is coming up to its centenary next year. This has led to a renewed interest in contacting old boys from the school. When I received an email from one of the current teachers, Marcus Cash, I rather cheekily asked him if the old honours board was still up in the dining room. I used to look up at that huge board ('huge' as it seemed to me at the time), in awe of all the names of the boys who had won scholarships to their next schools from Bickley Park. My particular reason for asking was that, when I myself sat the scholarship exam for Eastbourne College in 1981, I had already left Bickley Park and therefore I had never seen my name printed in gold up there. Very kindly Marcus sent me a picture of my moment of glory - which I enjoyed seeing at last, albeit thirty-six years after the event.

8 March 2017

I'm tentatively thinking of writing a book about the meaning of running. A draft of the start of the introduction is available by clicking on the picture below.

In case you're wondering, yes, I have had running shirts made which show the cover of my new novel on the back and The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain on the front. I'll be wearing them at every parkrun and half-marathon I do for the next six months. If you see a 6-ft tall chap with my book on his chest or back, come and say hello.

7 March 2017
The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain

It's arrived! Here is a finished copy, received this morning, looking proper handsome alongside its brothers.

6 March 2017
The Outcasts of Time

Yesterday Richard and Jay came to my house and filmed me reading from The Outcasts of Time in my library. The book does not come out until 15 June but some advance reader copies have been distributed. The first reader to comment has hugely enjoyed it - see her review on Goodreads here. After the recordings, we headed out to film on the moor, at Scorhill, a stone circle that is crucial to the story, and at Exeter Cathedral. Scorhill saw us soaked to the skin and frozen in a very sharp hailstorm, with 30-40mph winds blowing ice into our faces. Exeter Cathedral - another main 'character' in the novel - was more clement. Richard took a picture of me at Scorhill just before the hail hit (below).

I've started putting together some webpages for the novel, including a section on the writing of the book.

28 February 2017
The launch of The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain

I have put up details of how to book a place for the launch of my new book at Devon Heritage Centre on 3 April 2017. Go to the events page of this website and use either the telephone number there or the email to reach Mr Stuart Tyler, who is in charge of the bookings for this event.

Every day I am tweeting a fact from the book on the official Time Traveller's Guides twitter feed. To see the first eight weeks' of messages, go to the TimeTravGuide twitter page.

14 February 2017
Update on news

I have not updated this page yet all year. Sorry. Been Busy. But by way of making amends, here is a photograph of the bound proofs of my two next books. I have to say, there is something extremely satisfying about having the proofs of TWO forthcoming books in your hands. One, The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain is non-fiction, due for publication on the 6 April; the other, The Outcasts of Time is a novel about two medieval brothers who travel forwards in time, which will appear on 15 June.

What else is news? I think I'd better make a list:

  • The launch for The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain will take place at Devon Heritage Centre on 3 April as part of an afternoon-long event arranged by the Friends of Devon's Archives (of which I am currently the chairman). This will involve a talk about the book by me, and will be open to the public for no charge - but you will need to register in advance with the Secretary of FoDA, Mr Stuart Tyler, to secure a place.
  • I've agreed to a short extension to my position on Dartmoor National Park Authority while DEFRA arranges the appointment of a replacement. I will thus stay on the committee until July.
  • This year I turn fifty so have set myself fifty New Year's Resolutions. So far I've only broken one - to answer every email I receive within the week. That was a tad optimistic. Others range from running 45 parkruns to listening to a newly released CD every month and playing my guitar every day.
  • As the above implies, my hip is almost recovered, I'm running again and planning to do the 'Bath Half' on 12 March, which will my next long run.
  • I have arranged a series of concerts to take place in the acoustically wonderful Moretonhampstead parish church. The idea is to draw in solo performers with an international reputation who can make the most of the space. The first concert on Friday 31 March will be the folk singer and guitarist, Martin Simpson. Tickets for that are already available on Eventbrite. The second concert will be the virtuoso violinist, Peter Sheppard Skaerved, on 2 May, playing music from five centuries on instruments dating from as far back as 1629.

What was new in previous years