British author Alan Wilkinson always wanted to write for a living, but he soon learned that there’s not much money in fiction. He has written newspapers articles, magazine features, travel, TV soaps, radio drama. And he’s ghosted - for a variety of entrepreneurs, a cop, an ex-smuggler and Britain’s only bounty hunter. And, of course, the sky-diving Elvis impersonator.
Alan first came to Nebraska in 1991, and can’t stay away. This will be his sixteenth visit.
In 1994 he borrowed a bike and cycled across the state, an adventure recorded in a book familiar to Chadron Library regulars - There Used to Be a Guy… But He Died.
In 2011 he holed up in a tumbledown hunting lodge in the Sandhills. ‘I wanted to get a feel for the land that inspired authors like Willa Cather and Mari Sandoz,’ he says. His six months on the range inspired The Red House on the Niobrara, which has earned praise from rancher-writer Linda Hasselstrom and eminent western historian Richard Etulain.
In April this year he published his first novel. Cody, The Medicine Man and Me contrasts the cowboy dreams of an English boy in the 1950s, blown away by the nightly TV westerns, and the realities he discovers as an adult, searching the American West for a long-lost uncle. It has already earned praise from eminent Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya: ‘A real prize winner. Compelling story & characters, smooth narrative, tone, attention to details that matter… and mystery!’
Alan will talk about his career as a professional writer, what draws him back to Nebraska, and why it took him 25 years, from starting his novel, to seeing it in print. Learn more Monday, October 16, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at Kearney Public Library.