IF it hadn't been for Jimmy Savile, life might have been very different for author Jack Sheffield. Hear him in conversation at the 2009 Ilkley Literature Festival.
A chance encounter in the 1960s sent him on the career path that forms the basis of his successful first novel.
Teacher, Teacher! told the story of new headmaster Jack Sheffield as he finds his feet at Ragley Village Primary School in the late 1970s, supported by an unlikely cast of characters that include a 20-stone caretaker with a heart of gold, a groundsman who cultivates unfeasibly large carrots and a host of children who could melt the heart of even the sternest of school inspectors.
The book spawned a series that may yet rival the Nicholas Rhea and James Herriott franchises of country policemen and vets respectively.
In this new programme, he is in conversation with the Yorkshire Post's Digital Editor David Behrens at the Craiglands Hotel, Ilkley.
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Having grown up on the Gipton estate in Leeds, Jack Sheffield spent much of his teaching career in North Yorkshire, finally coming a full circle to work as a senior lecturer in primary education at Bretton Hall near Wakefield, where he had once risked life and limb as a pitch boy, at the start of his working life, carrying bitumen up a ladder to repair the roof.
He wrote Teacher, Teacher! after his retirement, finally fulfilling a life-long ambition and a promise to his mum. The follow up, Mister Teacher, is due to be published early next year and he is well underway with the third in the series, Dear Teacher, as well as working on a novel for teenagers.
Sheffield lives in York with his wife and splits his time between Yorkshire and Hampshire.
Teacher, Teacher! is published by Corgi Adult and is available for 7.99 from bookshops, ISBN 9780552155281.