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 is Chairman of the All Party Arts and Heritage Group, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee, Life President of the House of Commons Magazine and Chairman of the Editorial Board.
Forrest sent Sir Patrick 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, Sir Patrick 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 lives in Spain with his wife Lynda. They have five children between them. Their home stands in the very same upland valley where Julius Caesar marched eight crack legions towards the town of Munda (now Monda) to fight the sons of Pompey who had arrayed thirteen 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.