Talks and Events
Talks and Events
Recent & Forthcoming
My Cold War true-life thriller ‘Hunter Killers’ has been the main focus for talks in recent months and also will be for up-and-coming events that are still being organised (more on them later).
At the York Festival of Ideas it was a pleasure to share the platform with Ben Wilson, author of ‘Empire of the Deep’ (another Orion Publishing Group book). It was all chaired by Captain Steve Upright RN (Retd). I actually first met Capt Upright way back in the early 1990s when he brought his diesel submarine home from a mysterious patrol ‘East of Suez’ and I was Defence Reporter of the Evening Herald in Plymouth.
The theme for the talk at York was ‘Ruling the Waves’ and, among other things, I touched on was the fact that during the Cold War the key confrontation was at sea between the submarine forces of NATO and the Soviet Union.
That was also inevitably discussed when I went to Hampshire to give a talk at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum (RNSM) in Gosport. That night’s event raised a fair amount for the museum’s coffers too, via tickets and the sale of some hardback edition books that myself and publisher Orion donated to boost the worthy cause of furthering the museum’s continued existence.
There were enjoyable Q&As afterwards in both places and it was also wonderful to meet some readers. Aside from the staff and organizers of each event – especially Sarah Mitchell & Naomi Richards at York University and Bill Sainsbury & Laura Nastase at the RNSM – thanks are also due to Rob Forsyth and Pitt.k. Those two stars of ‘Hunter Killers’ did a fine job sharing the Q&A with me at the RNSM. Tribute is due to Vice Admiral Sir Tim McClement (Chairman of the RNSM) for agreeing to chair the Gosport evening.
The York Festival of Ideas will be staged again next year and is well worth a visit both for the city itself and the range of interesting events at the festival. The web site for the 2014 event here.
The Royal Navy Submarine Museum is good value any time, especially the newly revamped HMS Alliance, which is a fantastic immersive experience with all bangs and whistles.
Very ably supported by my friend and colleague Capt Peter Hore RN (Retd) – an erudite and highly experienced public speaker – it was fantastic to find surviving veterans of the Bismarck Action in the audience and chat to them afterwards.
Giving a talk on contemporary naval matters as the guest speaker at a subsequent annual reunion of the HMS Cossack Association was similarly a highlight (the WW2 destroyer Cossack was another warship featured in ‘Killing the Bismarck’).
The Bismarck book also formed the main subject when I was invited to meet members of an exclusive dining club at a London hotel, which was (inevitably) more of a round table discussion with fine wine and food than a lectern and audience style event.
Jumping ship, in a manner of speaking, I was next after dinner speaker at an annual reunion weekend for the HMS Warspite Association. This was very special to me as over the years since writing ‘Warspite’ I got to know many of the sailors and marines who saw action in the battleship during WW2.
Latterly of course, as the baton has passed from one generation of veterans to another, the association has been run by the submariners of the Cold War era Warspite (a nuclear-powered submarine, also featured prominently in ‘Hunter Killers’). More on the Warspite Association here.
I am already lined up for another talk in the New Year and just working out the details with the organizers. As soon as I have some details I can release I will post them on the web site.
Poster for the RNSM talk by Iain Ballantyne. Image: RNSM.
A billboard at the museum directing people to the RNSM talk. Photo: Iain Ballantyne.