(in the authors words)
I was born in Pembrokeshire in the far west of Wales, and have spent over forty years in planning, design and development consultancy for new towns and urban, industrial and regional infrastructure throughout the world. So, I am not a professional writer, but, writing has been an integral part of successfully communicating my profession.
I have lived as well as worked on all six continents, with a wide range of clients and project colleagues of every nationality, character and humour.
I am a graduate of the Universities of Oxford and Wales and my first book ‘An Urban Profile of the Middle East’ was first published in 1979, then again in 2016. My second book ‘Journeys with Open Eyes’ was published in 2017.
I live in London with Sylvie, my French/ Catalan wife of 41 years. We have two adult children, Mark and Shân and one grandchild to date, Lola.
All standard biographical details are available via my LinkedIn account.
Website address: www.journeyswithopeneyes.com
Journeys with Open Eyes; Seeking Empathy with Strangers published 2017 by i2i Manchester ISBN 9780995572997
An Urban Profile of the Middle East published by Croom Helm 1979 and republished by Taylor & Francis as a Library Edition 2016. ISBN 0-85664-712-8
Numerous conference and professional journal papers on international urban development themes over 40 years.
Journeys with Open Eyes; Seeking Empathy with Strangers
I have spent over 40 years in master planning, design and development of new towns and urban infrastructure worldwide. Living and working in more than 30 countries on all 6 continents (ok, only the permanently inhabited ones, not Antarctica!) covers lots of nationalities, cultures and languages, but even more characters and humours. These ranged from the psychopathic, taciturn and curmudgeonly to the warm- hearted, generous, loveable and downright funny. Luckily those making life worthwhile have far outnumbered those that do not. The trick is finding empathy with as many as possible; or not, which is disappointing but just as revealing as to personality and behaviour.
That is a lot of material to be dealing with but still the main theme of my second book ‘Journeys with Open Eyes’ with its revealing subtitle – ‘Seeking Empathy with Strangers’. Not just travelogue and only a passing reference to autobiography as this is about other people and a lifetime study of the diversity of human behaviour.
See also chapter headings and publisher’s blurb etc via the book’s website www.journeyswithopeneyes.com
Literary Festival Appearances
Worthing Southern Book Show 4 March 2018, then pitches to Hay, Beyond the Border (Wales), Beyond Borders (Scotland), Dulwich and Wimbledon during the Spring, Summer and Autumn of 2018.
Pitch to Publishers & Festival Organisers
Authors are the standard bearers of the oldest art form – storytelling. Before paintings appeared on cave walls or hunter gatherers sang to ward off fear or boredom, tales were being told by firelight to close family members engendering fear of the unknown, fascination with the world around them and the sheer fun of being alive. Ancient storytellers had it relatively easy when there were few other distractions and capturing imaginations was welcome relief to the sheer grind of survival. But as societies became more sophisticated, so attentive audiences became more and more difficult to attract.
Low attention spans are now the curse of our 21st century with multi-media bombardment of our senses, but the desire to be entertained, entranced and enveloped in a good story is the same as ever. The key to keeping an audience’s attention is, as my sub title implies, to seek empathy among strangers, to understand new acquaintances enough to anticipate how they will react to what you might say or do, the better to connect with them.
So my pitch to Festival Organisers is not to sell my book (though of course I want to) but to sell my storytelling. Though I now live in London, I am proud that the raconteur style of storytelling is still a well developed Welsh art form. My latest book revels in anecdotes across more than 5 decades and every social and geographical circumstance imaginable where the need to communicate was paramount to success in master planning new communities. Try me out for one of your panel story telling sessions and for me to recount tales ranging from life threatening or slightly hazardous, through the quest for relief from the mundane or only mildly stimulating, to the outrageous and downright farcical – and sometimes all of these too close together for comfort.
Contact email: hugh[proberts]@gmail.com -( remove brackets before emailing)
Contact telephone: T_0044/0 7850 794930