Meet Brian Jacques

James Brian Jacques (pronounced "Jakes") (15 June 1939 – 5 February 2011) was an English author, best known for his Redwall series of novels, as well as the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series.

Early Life

Brian Jacques (pronounced 'jakes') was born in Liverpool, England on June 15th, 1939. Along with forty percent of the population of Liverpool, his ancestral roots are in Ireland, County Cork to be exact.

Brian grew up in the area around the Liverpool docks, where he attended St. John's School, an inner city school featuring a playground on its roof. At the age of ten, his very first day at St. John's foreshadowed his future career as an author; given an assignment to write a story about animals, he wrote a short story about a bird who cleaned a crocodile's teeth. Brian's teacher could not, and would not believe that a ten year old could write so well. When young Brian refused to falsely say that he had copied the story, he was caned as "a liar". He had always loved to write, but it was only then that he realized he had a talent for it.

After Brian finished school at fifteen, he set out to find adventure as a merchant seaman. He travelled to many far away ports, including New York, Valparaiso, San Francisco, and Yokohama. Tiring of the lonely life of a sailor, he returned to Liverpool where he worked as a railway fireman, a longshoreman, a long-distance truck driver, a bus driver, a boxer, a bobby (Police Constable), a postmaster, and a stand-up comic. He even was in a folksinging group with his two brothers, known as “The Liverpool Fishermen.”

The Start of Redwall

Brian wrote Redwall for the children at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool, where as a truck driver, he delivered milk. Because of the nature of his first audience, he made his style of writing as descriptive as possible, painting pictures with words so that the schoolchildren could see them in their imaginations. He remains a patron of the school to this day.

Brian Jacques Today

His novels have sold more than twenty million copies worldwide and have been published in twenty-eight languages. Until recently, Jacques hosted a radio show called Jakestown on BBC Radio Merseyside. In June 2005, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Liverpool.

He lived with his wife in Liverpool. Jacques and his wife had two adult sons, David and Marc, and grandchildren Hannah and Anthony.

Jacques was admitted to the Royal Liverpool Hospital to undergo emergency surgery for an aortic aneurysm. Despite the efforts to save him, he died from a heart attack on 5 February 2011.

He will be greatly missed.

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