DON ROBERTO: THE ADVENTURE OF BEING CUNNINGHAME GRAHAM
Horseman, politician, writer, adventurer – it would be impossible to invent Don Roberto today. He is best known as the co-founder, with Keir Hardie, of the Scottish Labour Party, forerunner of the modern Labour Party, and later as founding president of the Scottish National Party, but in a long and extraordinary life he was many other things besides ...
As a young man in Argentina he became an expert horseman and rode with gauchos. In middle age he went searching for Roman gold in northern Spain and was held to ransom by a warlord in the Atlas Mountains. At Westminster he advocated abolition of the House of Lords, declared himself the first ever socialist member of parliament, and was imprisoned for rioting.
A champion of the oppressed, a crusader for social justice and freedom of speech, and a vehement anti-imperialist, he was fêted by his literary peers as the Scottish Maupassant. Painted by Lavery and sculpted by Epstein he was descended from King Robert II of Scotland.
James Jauncey's vivid and personal portrait of his great-great-uncle weaves together Don Roberto's story with his own in an exploration of what it means to have a near-mythical figure in the family background.
Don Roberto: The Adventure of Being Cunninghame Graham June 2023 £24.99
“In this remarkable book, Jamie Jauncey has performed the great service of reminding us of a wonderful figure from Scotland’s recent history. The story is told with consummate skill: Don Roberto is there before us in all his glory.”
~ Alexander McCall Smith
James (Jamie) Jauncey is a Scottish author who has published novels for adults, young adults and children. His most recent book, Don Roberto, is a portrait of the Scottish politician and writer, RB Cunninghame Graham, his great-great uncle.
Raised in Edinburgh, then Perthshire, Jamie was educated partly in Scotland and partly in England. He read law at Aberdeen Unversity before moving to London where he worked for twenty years as a journalist, publisher and business writer.
On his return to Scotland, he served for a number of years on the board of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where he moderated many events. He also chaired the Society of Authors in Scotland, and was a member of the Literature Committee of the Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland). He has chaired the judging of both the Pushkin Prizes and the Scottish Children's Book Awards.
Jamie is a co-founder of , the creative writing for business programme. With his wife, Sarah, he also runs personal development workshops under the banner of .
He lives in Perthshire and has four children and four grand- children. He is also a musician and he blogs intermittently at and .
more books ...
Photo: Simon Jauncey
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Staying with her grandmother in the West Highlands, Christie and her reluctant holiday companion Tom accidentally uncover an extremist plot to blow up a NATO fuel dump. Meanwhile Christie is struggling to come to terms with troubling visions.
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DON ROBERTO AND ME is a fast paced, entertaining and heavily illustrated portrait of an extra- ordinary life, interwoven with the story of how Jamie came to his famous ancestor late in his own life.
There are two versions of the talk: a shorter one-hour version; and for a longer evening, two forty-five minute halves with an interval.
"Jamie Jauncey brings the astonishing Robert Cunninghame Graham to life before our eyes. It's a truly marvellous story which has now found its ideal storyteller." Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre
GABRIELLE DE LA BALMONDIERE is the story of the woman who became Robert's wife – a story even more extraordinary than his own, involving a lifelong deception and a false identity only uncovered eighty years after her death. Writer, biographer, poet, political activist, gardener, chain-smoker Gabrielle led a life to match that of her famous husband. But who really was she?
A one-hour illustrated talk.
"Your talk was utterly fascinating, and you had everyone in the palm of your hand." Professor Joe Farrell, Chair, The Cunninghame Graham Society
"A wonderful biography."
~ Melanie Reid,
"I know him better and admire him more after reading this biography ..."
~ Allan Massie,
"... casts fascinating new light on a man driven by almost implausible energy, purpose and passion."
~ Magnus Linklater,
"By God, it is an exceptional book, beautifully written, brilliantly researched, peppered with magnificent descriptive passages and acute judgments ... highly enlightening."
~ Joe Farrell, Chair, The Cunninghame Graham Society
"A terrific book, beautifully pitched, and measured carefully and very effectively with [the author's] autobiographical parallels or contiguities shadowing or being buoyed up by the story."
~ Alan Riach, Professor of Scottish Literature,
University of Glasgow
"Jamie Jauncey has truly done justice to what he calls the 'maverick spirit' of his kinsman ... rich in family lore, shrewd psychological insight and a strong sense of place, it fills many a gap in the story of the Grahams."
~ Laurence Davies, co-author of Cunninghame Graham:
A Critical Biography
"[He] has woven the bare historical facts into something absorbing, merging his personal story with that of his famous relative ... at last, 'Don Roberto' has come alive."
~ Lachlan Munro, author of RB Cunninghame
Graham and Scotland
"All libraries in Scotland should possess one." ~ Clydesider
"Endlessly fascinating and beautifully written."
~ Chris Dolan, novelist, poet and playwright
"A combination of all that is best in biography, memoir and history."
~ Caroline Moorehead, historian and biographer
"Just finished reading this exhilarating and revealing study of Don Roberto's extraordinary life."
~ Michael Russell, President, Scottish National Party
"... a rich and rewarding canter through family memory, cultural history, and political and literary biography. At times ... [it] feels akin to eavesdropping on a multi-generational family conversation played out in the pages and margins of texts ... this lively intertextuality is one of the book’s conspicuous strengths."
~ Charlie Lynch,
"… [a] fine portrait of one of the most fascinating Scots of his era."
~ David Robinson,
"A fascinating book about an astonishing man ... a strikingly personal memoir."
~ Nick Higham, @highamnews
"... articulate[s] the vulnerability and struggles, existing alongside and beneath all that privilege and aplomb ... bringing us in our time closer to this so very vivid yet elusive and paradoxical human whose words and actions still resonate maybe more than ever."
~ Donald Smith, Director, Scottish International
"The most comprehensive biography to date." ~ The National