WHO IS JEREMY STRONG?
Well, actually he’s a bit daft sometimes, thank goodness. And I should know, because I am Jeremy Strong, writing this. Maybe I should start at the beginning, because I wasn’t born daft. I just kind of grew into it. I blame my parents. After all, who else is there to blame?
So, the beginning – 1949 – that’s when I was born. Yes, I know that makes it last century and it means I am incredibly old and ancient. Believe it or not I still have my own teeth, not falsies. And some of my original hair too. I’ve also got all my own legs and arms and things so, hey, Life’s not too bad, is it?
When I was three I fell out of a first floor bedroom window and landed on my head. Yes, of course it hurt! I had a ginormous headache, a broken right arm and I spent a week in hospital. I think I was a bit accident-prone as a child.
I broke various bones and had stitches here, there and just about everywhere. This was because I spent most of my time out in the fields near our house playing. The ‘stitches score’ went something like this:
Riding a bike at a thousand miles an hour – five stitches.
Falling out of tall trees – four stitches.
Playing kiss-chase – three stitches.
At primary school I enjoyed playtime, lunchtime, and half past three. I hated Country Dancing, which meant prancing up and down holding hands with girls. Aaaargh! (I don’t suppose the girls liked it either.) After that I went to a grammar school and that wasn't nearly such fun. In fact I had a pretty miserable time for the first four years. After that things slowly got better. (Luckily schools are very different places now! In those days, the 1950s and 60s, we had the cane and the slipper and detention and teachers turned a blind eye to bullying.)
I have always loved making things up and writing stories. I spent most of my teenage years writing poems for my girlfriend, until she gave in and married me. After a successful marriage of thirty years, (and two children, Daniel and Jessica, now grown-up), we decided we both needed to go in different directions and we separated. (We’re still friends.) Two years later I met Gillie and we got married in June, 2008. Between us we have four children, six grandchildren, two cats and two hens.
I got my first book published in 1978. (Smith's Tail.) For several years I wrote stories and I also taught in primary schools in Kent. I loved doing that, well, most of the time anyhow! I was teaching during term time and writing stories and getting them published during the holidays. Nowadays I quite often meet children I used to teach, except that they are now grown up and parents themselves and they are bringing their children to get their book signed! It's lovely to see them again and find out what they are doing now. (I don't think I'd want to see many of my old teachers from grammar school again!)
Eventually it felt as if it was time to leave teaching, so I did, in 1991. Ever since then my time has been given over to writing and visiting schools, libraries and book festivals up and down the UK and right across the world. I think I have the best job ever. (This article was updated in February 2016.)