Q & A with
What is your favourite book(s)?
fond of the Patrick O’Brien series that was the basis of the film Master
& Commander. I like travel books—favourite writers would be Jonathan
Raban and Paul Theroux. I collect cricket books, particularly those on
cricket history—David Frith would perhaps be a favourite there. John Gierach
is a superb writer on fishing.
What are you reading now?
just finished the remarkable Book of Dave by British novelist Will
Self, Absolute Friends by John LeCarre, and reading a whole bunch of
articles on “Communicating Environmental Geoscience” for a book I'm
What other jobs have you had besides being a writer?
geologist by profession, but I have also worked at a variety of other
things, including non-executive director of the Internet company CricInfo (http://www.cricinfo.com)
and as a student worked as a kitchen porter. I pumped gas, did production
line work in a factory, was a laundry worker, and perhaps in preparation for
my eventual move to Newfoundland, worked as a labourer in a fish plant in
the Shetland Islands.
What was your first piece in print (book, review, or article, etc)?
scientific paper on a fascinating lake in the St. Elias Mountains of the
Yukon, published in the Canadian Alpine Journal; subsequently I’ve written a
lot of scientific papers, but also have done some cricket journalism and
written on cricket history.
What do you like to do in your free time?
spend a lot of time in volunteer activities, particularly with skating
(formerly club president of Prince of Wales Skating club, director with
Skate Canada Newfoundland and Labrador) and soccer (volunteer with the NLSA,
referee with the St. John’s senior league and provincial level
competitions). I help maintain websites for a number of groups, including
skating, Canadian cricket, and soccer. I like to fish, particularly for
salmon, and tie my own flies. I play the mandolin, although not as much as
I’d like these days.
What is your favourite food?
food of any description. I developed a fondness for it when traveling in
India many years ago.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Traditional Irish, Scottish, and Newfoundland.
What is your favourite movie(s)?
big movie fan—perhaps Days of Heaven (see
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077405/). Superbly filmed in southern
If you could live during any time period and in any place, when and where
would you choose?
now, and I’d prefer to be mobile rather than stuck in one place!
Make a question of your own and then answer it.
did a Ghanaian born Englishman end up in Newfoundland?
I only lived in Ghana for a couple of months—my father was working for the
British Government at the time, so I spent my first twenty years or so in
England and Scotland. I went to Alberta to study for a masters
degree, returning there later for a Ph.D. after a spell in the British
oil industry and eighteen months traveling. I was just finishing up my
doctorate when the opportunity came up to work for the Geological Survey of
Newfoundland & Labrador. We moved here expecting to stay for a couple of
years—twenty years later it is hard to imagine living anywhere else.