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Published alumni: James Goddard – Knowledge Waits

BA Modern English alumnus James Goddard has finally seen his long-term ambition of publishing a novel come to fruition. With over 30 years of teaching English under his belt, find out what inspired James to write about the emotional tensions of the faculty staff in his very first book.

Knowledge WaitsJames's comic novel, Knowledge Waits, is set in a nameless private school for boys. It follows the lives of the broken souls who teach at the school as they attempt to manage their damaged lives and the demands placed upon them by the equally damaged Malcolm Davies, Director of Quality and Cultural/Equality Officer at the school.

The first half of this comic novel adopts a multi-first person narrative as the teachers introduce themselves and their troubled lives and question how they ended up in the school. A staff meeting, arranged to launch a new school initiative serves as the climax for the story. 

With each member of staff succumbing to the pressures of their personal lives, frustrations are clearly simmering and it is only a matter of time before they reach boiling point.

Although this may be a story with no hero, the tragic lives of the characters will resound with any reader, and James feels certain that anyone who has ever worked in education will sympathise with the issues these teachers have to face.

Looking at James's time at New College, Swindon it would be easy to assume that the characters and emotions described in Knowledge Waits, were based on characters he has met and worked with there. This is not so, however James admits that some characters from his book bear a resemblance to teachers that he worked with in different schools earlier in his career.

With the aim of publishing his first novel by the time he was 60 years old, a deadline he missed by a matter of weeks, James has always been a keen writer. Having reduced his working week to three days at New College, and with a rumour that there might be another book in progress, we hope to be hearing more from James in the next few years.

Read more about Knowledge Waits, or download the book from Amazon.

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