Alistair Forrest decided to be a writer on the day his English teacher ticked him off in front of his classmates for being too descriptive in his essay on Macbeth.
Quietly defiant, he embarked on a career in journalism with the South Wales Echo, always endeavouring to report the facts without resorting to the ‘sin’ of flowery wordiness. His career took him through court and political reporting for several newspapers, as principal of a PR company, then as editor of a series of magazines in the photographic, health and travel markets.
His English teacher, meanwhile, went on to forge an impressive career in Parliament as MP for the former constituency of Cannock, now South Staffordshire. Sir Patrick Cormack, now Lord Cormack, was Chairman of the All Party Arts and Heritage Group and Chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee, and is Life President of the House of Commons Magazine and Chairman of the Editorial Board.
Forrest sent Lord Cormack a copy of his first novel, Libertas, and begged for a better mark this time. Delighted to have contributed in an unusual way to a former pupil’s literary career, Lord Cormack wrote back: “To think that my strictures should have stimulated you in this way is extremely gratifying and I do congratulate you on Libertas and on what has obviously been a fascinating and thoroughly rewarding career to date.”
He provided this comment on Libertas: “Forrest has the gift of the true story teller – the ability to engage his readers’ interest from the very first sentence…”
Forrest and his wife Lynda have five children between them. For six years they lived in the very same upland valley in Spain where Julius Caesar marched eight crack legions towards the town of Munda (now Monda) to fight the sons of Pompey who had arrayed 13 legions against him. It was to be the last, bloody battle in Caesar’s civil war, just a year before he was assassinated.
Inspired by the eagles that hunt in the surrounding olive groves, Forrest began to write Libertas. The book took almost a year to write, and then months of re-writing following reviews by friends and fellow members of The Arts Council-funded YouWriteOn.com, the website from which it was selected by the publisher Quaestor2000.
Since then Forrest has written his second historical novel, Goliath, which retells the story of David and Goliath as it might have been before the religious scribes crafted their propaganda, and has embarked on a third, Shamash. And writing as Adam Fox his unique and unusual novel Cell Wars - The Battle for Brian was the first of an allegorical fantasy series.