A multitude of experiences, including undertaking an MA in Chinese Studies and a love of running, provided the inspiration for local author Roy Peachey’s first published novel for children, The Race.
While at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Roy learnt more about Scottish athlete Eric Liddell, who died in a Japanese internment camp in China in 1945:
“Like most people, I knew Eric from the film Chariots of Fire but I didn’t realise what had happened to him after the Olympics. That story is more incredible than the one we already know and I thought it needed to be told.”
Roy’s depiction of Eric’s inspiring life is offset against the modern-day challenges faced by Lili, a 12-year-old Chinese girl who has been adopted and is now growing up in England. Liddell was also born in China, and there are many parallels between the two stories, with the themes of sport, overcoming adversity, and identity uniting the two protagonists.
The Race’s dual narrative offers a realistic portrayal of both adoption and the meeting of Western and Chinese cultures. There are poignant situations throughout but the overall tone is uplifting. Roy says:
“Lili’s family, particularly her father and grandmother, are mildly eccentric and give the story many funny moments.”
Roy, who is also a teacher at Woldingham School, has published several non-fiction books, and a novel for adults, Between Darkness and Light, some of which he researched at Caterham’s East Surrey Museum.
The Race was published in June and is available to order via Cranachan Publishing.