Brian Jacques Researching the Writer
Redwall is, in my opinion, the best book series I have read. Brian Jacques is the author of this amazing series. However, until I started researching for this paper, I did not know that he is as interesting as his books. For example, I didn’t know that he has two sons, or that he has two brothers, or that Brian was his middle name, James being his first. Huh, and I thought I was a big Redwall fan!
Other than writing, Brian did many different jobs. When he was fifteen he left school to go to sea. He became a merchant seaman and sailed from Liverpool. Afterwards he seemed to know and love the sea: the colors, the moods, and the weather driven risks of it. Having read all but one of his books, I know as a fact that he included the sea in several of his Redwall books. Later he became tired of the lonely sailing life and went back to Liverpool to work as a fireman, longshoreman, bus driver, and several other things.
Apart from his later life, Brian also had an interesting childhood (“A divvil of a lad”, his grandmother called him). He was born on June fifteenth, 1939, right in the beginning of World War II. He was the middle child of three brothers (James, the youngest, and Tony, the eldest) and lived in a “respectable Catholic working- class home” not far from the docks. He and his brothers grew up making their own entertainment: gathering shrapnel from the bombs that pelted Liverpool, running on rooftops to get to the movie house to sneak in through a side door, telling stories, and singing, always, always singing. Brian knows over six hundred Irish songs.
One event in his childhood marked his potential as a writer. He attended St. Johns Elementary School, or as he called it, “St. Johns School for the Totally Bewildered”. One day in class, his teacher assigned them to write an essay about peculiar animals. He wrote about the bird that cleans a crocodile’s teeth. His essay was so good, that when he turned it in, he was punished for lying. His teacher thought he had copied it out of a book, and could not believe that a ten year old could write that well. It was then that Brian realized that he had a talent for writing.
Someone once asked Brian how a person like him had come to be in a magical world full of mice, rats, adventure, and courage. He replied that one day he had been recovering from an illness and lay down in the warm sun outside. He then saw a mouse at eye level through the grass. It was an apprentice sort of mouse, moving with uncertainty and clumsiness. However, the mouse was a good mouse, and was on it’s way somewhere. But there was another presence. Something evil. The mouse had adversaries! Rats, perhaps, creatures of evil! Over the weeks that followed Brian took notes and thought more about the mouse. Brian was seeing what would soon become the story of Redwall.
When writing his Redwall books, Brian based some characters off real people. In Mattimeo, Sir Harry Livermore, whom Brian always thought was a good man, becomes Sir Harry the Muse, an owl. In Martin the warrior, Tramun Josiah Cuttlefish Clogg, a stoat corsair, is modeled after American publicist Chris Turman. Readers can best see Brian himself in a combination of Matthias the warrior mouse and Gonff the Mousethief.
Here are some final trivia facts about Brian Jacques before I end: Favorite food: spaghetti Best subject in school: English Worst subject in school: math Favorite book when young: King Solomon’s Mines Favorite character from his own books: Gonff the Mousethief Worst habit: putting things off until the last minute. If he was not a writer, Brian would want to be: a film director or a tenor.
At first, I just liked the books. Now I know I like the author. If you ask me, not many people I know have had lives as interesting as Brian Jacques.