In an ideal world, writer and occasional Classics teacher Mark Walker would earn his living as a mandolin virtuoso, but sadly that job has already been taken by Chris Thile (curse him!). And besides, Mark just doesn't practice enough.
Forced to earn a pittance so that he can clothe his 35 children in squalid rags and feed them boiled cabbages, Mark has translated into Latin J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (as Hobbitus Ille, HarperCollins, 2012), and translated from Latin into English verse Geoffrey of Monmouth's 12th-century poem Life of Merlin (Amberley Publishing, 2011), for which Herculean labours he has so far received little praise from an indifferent world.
Some years ago he decided to write an ambitious novel with distinctly literary pretensions, the result being Amida: A Novel (Pineapple Publications, 2004), an historical epic set during the declining days of the Roman Empire. Mark soon discovered that no one is interested in reading ambitious novels with literary pretensions set during the declining days of the Roman Empire, apparently. Still, if you are one of the rare few who find the prospect tempting you can now buy this very cheaply for your Kindle.
He has also written three non-fiction books about Latin, all published by The History Press: Annus Horribilis: Latin for Everyday Life (2007), Annus Mirabilis: More Latin for Everyday Life (2009), and Britannica Latina: 2,000 Years of British Latin (2009).
In 2010 he founded VATES: The Journal of New Latin Poetry, which is available for free to anyone interested in reading about or writing Latin verse.
During his previous career in publishing and journalism, Mark was the editor of the Gramophone Film Music and Musicals Good CD Guides, and continues to write about music and movies whenever anyone will pay him to do so.
He owns a Breedlove Cascade mandolin and a bass guitar that says Rickenbacker on the head but is in fact a fake. He would dearly like to be the owner of a real Ricky one day. Oh, and to supplant Chris Thile as the world's greatest mandolin player. Both scenarios seem unlikely.
A very, very youthful Mark in 1985 with his fake Ricky
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