Derek Robinson (novelist)
12 April 1932 |
|Pen name||Dirk Robson|
|Occupation||screenwriter, author, Rugby Union referee, broadcaster|
|Alma mater||Downing College, University of Cambridge|
|Notable works||Goshawk Squadron, Piece of Cake, The Eldorado Network, A Darker History of Bristol
A Load of Old Bristle: Krek Waiter's Peak Bristle, Run with the Ball
Derek Robinson (born 1932) is a British author best known for his military aviation novels full of black humour. He has also written several books on some of the more sordid events in the history of Bristol, his home town, as well as guides to rugby. He was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1971 for his first novel, Goshawk Squadron.
After attending Cotham Grammar School, Robinson served in the Royal Air Force as a fighter plotter, during his National Service. He has a History degree from Cambridge University, where he attended Downing College, has worked in advertising in the UK and the US and as a broadcaster on radio and television. He was a qualified rugby referee for over thirty years and is a life member of Bristol Society of Rugby Referees. He was married in 1964.
Unlike many who have researched the Battle of Britain and Nazi Germany's plans for invasion of the United Kingdom in 1940, Derek Robinson changed his mind after researching historical records for his novel Piece of Cake (1983). He is absolutely clear that it was the supremacy of the Royal Navy in the UK's coastal waters that caused Adolf Hitler to postpone invasion plans and not the Battle of Britain, as commonly claimed by the Royal Air Force (interview, BBC Radio 4 Broadcasting House - Sunday 8 September 2013: "RAF veteran disputes the 'myth' that fighter pilots saved Britain from invasion in 1940").
- War Story (1987) is set in 1916 with Hornet Squadron flying the F.E.2b. and F.E.2d which they prefer to the BE2Quirks.
- Hornet's Sting (1999) is set in 1917 with Hornet Squadron flying the Sopwith Pup, Nieuport and the Bristol F.2B Fighter.
- Goshawk Squadron (1971) is set in 1918 with the squadron flying the S.E.5a.
Novel set in the inter-war era:
- A Splendid Little War (2013) is set in 1919 with a British Squadron taking part in the Russian Civil War and flying Sopwith Camels.
Novels set in RAF squadrons during the Second World War:
- Piece of Cake (1983) is set during the Phoney War and Battle of Britain with Hornet Squadron flying the Hurricane. The TV mini-series (1988) with the same name is based on this book.
- A Good Clean Fight (1993) covers the Desert Air Force during 1942 with Hornet Squadron flying the Curtiss Tomahawk.
- Damned Good Show (2002) covers RAF Bomber Command's early bomber operations and has fictional No. 409 Squadron RAF flying the Handley Page Hampden.
Novel set in the Cold War:
- Hullo Russia, Goodbye England (2008). It begins in 1943, as Silk (the main protagonist from Damned Good Show) is on his second tour, and moves into the early 1960s when he rejoins the RAF as an Avro Vulcan pilot during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This novel was originally self-published and only available from Robinson's own website but a paperback edition was published by MacLehose Press in 2012.
All eight of Robinson's aviation novels were released in paperback editions by MacLehose Press in 2012-2013.
Luis Cabrillo Novels
Novels featuring Luis Cabrillo:
- The Eldorado Network (1979), about counter-espionage in WWII Spain and Portugal.
- Artillery of Lies (1991), set mostly in England and Germany.
- Red Rag Blues (2006), about espionage and the McCarthy witchhunts in 1950s America.
- Operation Bamboozle (2009), Luis Cabrillo travels to Los Angeles and tangles with the Mob. Self-published and available from his website.
- Son of Bristle (1971) Abson Books. A guide to Bristle azit's poke.
- Rotten with Honour (1973), about Cold War-espionage.
- Kramer's War (1977) is set on the island of Jersey in 1944.
- Run with the Ball (1984). Collins. Guide to Rugby Union play.
- The Best Green Walks in Bristol (1994). Westcountry Books. Local walking guide.
- A Load of Old Bristle: Krek Waiter's Peak Bristle (2002). Robinson, Derek, and Wiltshire, Vic. Countryside Books. More infermasun on howter's peak Bristle.
- Kentucky Blues(2002), about life in a nineteenth-century American town.
- Sick Sentries of Bristle (2004). Countryside Books. "A slapstick dash through 600 years of local excitements".
- Invasion, 1940 (2005), a non-fiction work about World War II which aims to debunk "two powerful myths": first, that the RAF alone prevented an invasion of Great Britain by Hitler's Germany; and second, that such an invasion force would inevitably have conquered Britain.
- A Darker History of Bristol (2005). Countryside Books. "A fair share of cruel, inglorious and scandalous episodes that are generally little referred to".
- Rugby: A Player's Guide to the Laws (2005). HarperCollinsWillow. The laws of the game made simple.
- Better Rugby Refereeing (2007), co-authored with Ed Morrison.
- "Prize archive: 1971". www.themanbookerprize.com. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
- "Aviation Paperbacks 1973" (MS Word). University of Paisley Library Services. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
- "Downing Record 2002" (pdf). Downing College, University of Cambridge. 2002. p. 24. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
- "Bristol Referees". Gloucestershire Rugby Football Union. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
- "Downing Record 2002" (pdf). Downing College, University of Cambridge. 2002. p. 36. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
- "Observer review: Red Rag Blues, by Derek Robinson". The Guardian (UK). 30 July 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
- Moore, Charlotte. "KENTUCKY BLUES – Derek Robinson". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
- Redfern, Simon (20 January 2008). "Better Rugby Refereeing, by Ed Morrison and Derek Robinson – Reviews, Books – The Independent". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 11 January 2009.