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Robert John Goddard
So - who am I? I was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, in 1952. I attended the local school until 1963, passed the 11 plus exam and went to Rutlish School, Wimbledon. I have a B.A. in History (1976), a Postgraduate Diploma in International Marketing (1990), and a Masters Degree in Education (1996). I have lived and worked in Italy, Portugal, Jordan and Germany. All of my novels contain elements of my experiences in these places. I currently live near Frankfurt with my German wife and 14-year-old son, Anton. I also have a 38-year-old son, Alexander, from my first marriage. I have written 6 novels and 2 novellas as well as several short stories and a book for university teachers entitled: "Teaching English for International Business." People frequently ask me what my books are about! That is a difficult one to answer but I often begin my reply by saying the books are not about me or my life and, to a certain extent, this is true. However, there are a number of themes that I come back to again and again. The first of these is how the past can impact on the present, and the second theme, perhaps related to the first, is the relationship between parents and children. Why is this? Perhaps because I have been fascinated by history as long as I can remember and that fascination remained intact even after studying the subject at university. History has not helped much in my academic career but it has clearly influenced me in more subtle ways that I only now recognise. When I am not writing, I do some teaching; I study German and keep fit by cycling and walking in the hills between Darmstadt and Heidelberg either alone or with my wife and son.
Recent Activity
Beautiful lines from Nobel-prize-winning Poet Rabindranath Tagore about the inevitable and eventual separation of parents and their children. Time runs so fast... Silly daughter of mine, was it you speaking? What gave you the strength To say so emphatically, “I won’t let you go”? What made you feel you could... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2022 at Thoughts and words
Here is something really special. I saw expressions of joyous humanity, empathy and understanding the other night. Where did I see it? On the TV, of course, while I watched a drumming weatherman drumming for Children in Need and two wonderful dancers on "Strictly" who danced for several seconds to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2021 at Thoughts and words
I don't have a title. I have written a novel, and I have no title. Should I be worried? After all, received wisdom says that the book's title is the most important marketing tool I have, important in the sense that it will encourage potential to readers to pick it... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2021 at Thoughts and words
The world does not bring everybody together. When I was a boy, I would take the same train, every weekday, from Surbiton to Wimbledon and I would see the same people and they were often standing at the same spots on the platform. I, on the other hand, would always... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2021 at Thoughts and words
Research into happiness and emotional well-being during the covid lockdowns suggests that being outdoors with others is associated with increased emotional wellness and an easing of feelings of loneliness. It occurred to me that this finding might tell us something interesting about the pursuit of happiness. Perhaps the word "pursuit"... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2021 at Thoughts and words
She is barely remembered these days but without her, he would probably not have flourished. If she is remembered at all, it is for having no friends, for having eyes that pierced, for collecting stuffed toys, for cooking her own rabbit, for spitting at people she did not like and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2021 at Thoughts and words
2 2020 – on the terrace 2 Toni Meldrum opened his eyes, pushed at the armrests of his deckchair, leaned forward and cocked his ear to a distant sound – perhaps an accelerating car – reminding him that there was a world beyond these aromas, these garden walls and this... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2021 at Thoughts and words
1 2020 – on the terrace 1 All stories start and end at some place and at some point in time. Initially, I wanted to say that the story I am about to write starts and ends on the terrace of this house in the hills outside Treviso. However, second... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2021 at Thoughts and words
Apart from founding the language school, Captain Meldrum’s legacy was this villa built on land bombed during the war and snapped up by his father when Toni was born in 1960. Built in the typical Veneto style, the villa was situated a few kilometres from the city of Treviso in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2021 at Thoughts and words
Described by E. M. Forster as “a Greek gentleman in a straw hat, standing absolutely motionless at a slight angle to the universe." Who is this motionless man? It is the poet C.P Cavafy and here he is with a favourite poem - Waiting for the Barbarians. What are we... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2021 at Thoughts and words
“Yes, I know who you are,” she said and looked up at him with those large blue eyes, smiled and cocked her head towards the group of waiting dancers. “They told me…” “Told you?” “Who you are.” The need to ask her why she wanted to know was crowded out... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2021 at Thoughts and words
Life as a child was endless summer all the way until that night in 1985 because “that night” marked a point of change. He was happy for a while but the events of that evening returned to haunt him and later turned his life into a cold-north-wind-infested night. They were... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2020 at Thoughts and words
Book sales (mainly paperbacks) are going through the roof. Is it because of lockdown and/or Christmas coming? Or is it because of the covers that were done earlier this year? Or could it be a combination of the three? Perhaps people even like the books. Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2020 at Thoughts and words
A lot has happened to me since Monica posed for these pics I took of her while on a kibbutz in Israel in 1971. She was my "girlfriend" at the time, and I recently dug out these photos. They helped me look back on some good times. Why did I... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2020 at Thoughts and words
“That place…I know it…” Half sleep, half words and utterances, and mouthed while Toni’s eyes flickered behind lids now closed to the perfumed darkness of the night. “Yes, that place…those people…I know them still…” And Toni woke with a start, lifted his mind from the dream and put it where... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2020 at Thoughts and words
"Journey's End" - read the novel adaptation of this 1928 play in the 1960s, and found this film adaptation of a group of soldiers waiting for an attack (their journey's end) very powerful and so much more powerful than "1917." Anti-war films don't get much better or more haunting. The... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2020 at Thoughts and words
The evening breeze was no cooler than that of the daytime but now the moon was shining in a darker shade of blue, and Venus was posturing in her own sky, inviting her audience to admire and enjoy her presence along with the conjured-up memories of moments from other warm... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2020 at Thoughts and words
Video of book club interview Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2020 at Thoughts and words
You are invited to join us online for our October talk with author Robert John Goddard (Sunday October 25 at 6PM - Berlin time). Participants are welcome to join in as our guest will take questions posted via online chat. This event is part of the Book Club Bergstraße talk... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2020 at Thoughts and words
About 30 years ago, I wrote a short story called "Porridge." The basis of the story emerged from questions I was asking myself at the time as to whether or not an individual's character remained fixed or changed over time Here is the opening paragraph. For Dick and I, the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2020 at Thoughts and words
Yesterday, reflecting on relationships, I wrote that: "...shared reality is a perceived commonality of inner states, for example: feelings, beliefs and concerns. What this means is that two people are drawn to be friends or lovers because they see and share the same truth. Eventually, this shared reality becomes a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2020 at Thoughts and words
I would not like to put an exact number on it, but it seems to me that the vast majority of popular songs are about love, happiness through love, break-up and loss. For example, look at the words of this Bill Withers song, "Ain't no Sunshine." Wonder this time where... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2020 at Thoughts and words
Power, abuse of power and corruption are explored in literature on many different levels. From Robin Hood to Shakespeare's Macbeth and to Lord of the Flies, characters in books (and history) have been doing terrible things to acquire power, and worse things to keep it, and readers love to read... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2020 at Thoughts and words
It has often struck me how much other types of art inspire my writing. A visit to a local picture gallery, for example, can send my imagination into overdrive. But, for me, the most inspirational of other artistic pursuits is photography - or to be more precise - the old... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2020 at Thoughts and words
John Le Carre's 2001 novel, The Constant Gardener, is a story about political corruption and corporate greed. It is also one of my favourite novels, and I would argue that now is the time for more books that expose the rotten state of current politics. I urge this because it... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2020 at Thoughts and words