Tom Fort recently launched his new book, at the Bell Bookshop,”The Village News: The Truth Behind England’s Rural Idyll”.
The book charts the background to village life: a social history of the evolution of the village from earliest times to the present and how villages have been organised and run, their changing function, how they are doing now – which kinds of village are thriving and which are not – possible lessons in how to allow them to grow and renew without being swamped by new housing etc.
Tom grew up in Twyford and now lives in Sonning Common. He is married with five children and is author of six books (Under the Weather, Downstream , Against the Flow, The Grass is Greener, The Far From Compleat Angler and The Book of Eels). Tom read English at Balliol College, Oxford before going on to work as a reporter on a newspaper and then on to the BBC where he worked for over 20 years.
Tom said, “As I have lived in two villages for more than half of my life, I thought it would be a good basis for a book – it’s always good to write about things you know about.”
The book starts with Twyford and then goes on to include chapters on 19 different villages across the UK from Cumbria to Wiltshire. The last two chapters focus on Tom’s home village, Sonning Common.
At the launch Tom said, “I did my research riding around the villages on my bike talking to different people. I tended to avoid vicars as they talk too much!”
“My hope is that people who live in villages or used to live in villages or have a close interest in villages will recognise their experiences and concerns in my book and perhaps will sympathise with the way I have tried to present village life and explore ways to ensure that it continues,” added Tom”