About the Authors

Linda Proud
Born in 1949 in Hertfordshire, as an only child she started writing books early, if only in her head. Around the age of 14 she discovered the novels of Mary Renault, set in ancient Greece, and fell in love with historical fiction.

In 1971 she began a career in picture research in publishing and, after a few years, went freelance in order to devote more time to writing. The Botticelli Trilogy had seeded itself as an idea in 1974, but it was to take 11 years to do the research and develop writing skills. The first part, A Tabernacle for the Sun, was eventually published in 1997. It was not her first published book, however. Whilst trying to find a publisher she wrote Consider England, four essays on the elements of the nation, illustrated by the painter, Valerie Petts (Shepheard-Walwyn, 1994). Further commissions included three from Pitkin Guides: 2000 Years of Christianity, Icons – a Sacred Art, and Angels. She also wrote Knights of the Grail, stories of King Arthur for reading out loud to young children.

A Tabernacle for the Sun won a bursary award from Southern Arts and a month’s residence at the writers’ retreat of Hawthornden Castle. It was published by Allison and Busby in 1997.

Linda gave up picture research with the twentieth century, her skills and experience made redundant by the advent of the new technology. She also gave up the single life, marrying in 2000. She and her husband, David Smith, set up a small business in publishing services, doing editorial work and organising production and printing. Frustrated by the publishing business being geared to books of mass appeal, it was a natural and easy step to found Godstow Press.

The first publication was Pallas and the Centaur.

Noel Cobb
Noel Cobb co-founded, with Eva Loewe, both the London Convivium for Archetypal Studies and Sphinx: Journal for Archetypal Psychology and the Arts. He lectures in the UK and abroad and his publications include five books of poetry as well as Prospero's Island: The Secret Alchemy at the Heart of The Tempest, and Archetypal Imagination: Glimpses of the Gods in Life and Art.

Noel studied philosophy at the University of Michigan, then moved to Norway where he took a six year degree in psychology from the University of Oslo. In 1966 he came to England to study and work with Dr R. D. Laing and was a member of the Kingsley Hall Community in London's East End. He has made expeditions to the Ahaggar mountains of the Algerian Sahara, North Afghanistan, Swat and the Himalayas of the Nepal. In India he studied meditation under several masters of the Mahamudra tradition.

He lives in Kent with his wife, Maria.

See details of Falling out of the Skin into the Soul: A Divan for Scherherazade
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Jeremy Naydler
Jeremy Naydler has worked as a gardener for many years, serving his apprenticeship in York in the 1970s and subsequently working in various gardens in the leafy Victorian suburbs of north Oxford. The poems gathered together in this volume stem from his experience of gardening as a labour that ‘seems ever to bend itself back toward soul’. For him, all gardening is soul work, and these poems live at the interface of soul and garden, where inner experience finds itself reflected in outer reality, and where outer reality speaks of deep, often deeply challenging, inner experience. Ultimately, the work of the gardener involves not only ensouling the garden but also gardening the soul.

As an author, Jeremy is best known for his in-depth researches into the religious life of the ancient Egyptians: Temple of the Cosmos (1996) and Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts (2005). He is also author of How Caterpillars Acquire Wings, and Goethe on Science and his articles and reviews have been published in a variety of journals including Resurgence, The Ecologist and Caduceus. As well as being a gardener and a writer, Jeremy holds a doctorate in theology and religious studies and has for many years worked in adult education, lecturing at the universities of Oxford, Reading and Southampton on the history of philosophy and on ancient Egyptian religion. Click here to see an excerpt of Soul Gardening.

James Pickles
James Pickles was born in Epsom on 14 May, 1975. He was educated in London at St James Independent School for Boys before going on to study History at King's College London. He is currently deputy editor at TV Sports Markets, a subscription newsletter looking at the business of televised sport. He has self-published two small volumes of poetry, To My Friends (1993) and The Arms of Spring (1998), and has had poems published in several magazines including The Spectator, Poetry Monthly and Magma.

His poetry is largely based on observation, and the attempt to be as truthful to that observation as possible. 'By truthful I don't mean truthful in a literal sense, or in a way that sidelines imagination, but truthful in the sense of being faithful to the essence or spirit of subject.'
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Michael Shepherd
Born in 1929, Michael read English Language at Oxford under Christopher Tolkien. After this magnificent education, he ended up working as an invoice typist in bookshops, but found his way into literary journalism through the Times Educational Supplement. This led to short stints at the New Statesman and Guardian and, eventually, he became Art Critic for the Sunday Telegraph, Commissioning Editor for Arts Review magazine, and a contributor to the Times Obituary Department.

Concurrent with these he worked for twenty years as Graduate Thesis Tutor at the Royal Academy of Art. He has also appeared on both radio and television, and was the first non-American to select and judge the Mid-States Art Exhibition in Indiana.

For about thirty years he has been part of a team translating and annotating the letters of Marsilio Ficino, and he put together the volume Friend to Mankind (Shepheard-Walwyn, 1999) to celebrate the quincentenary of Ficino’s death.

Michael came late to writing sonnets, which seem to pour out of him. Despite - or perhaps because of - the strictness of the form, they give apt expression of one man's quest for Truth. Click here to see an excerpt of When I Awaken to Myself.