Alumni authors: M-O

Many of our alumni are published authors. If you have written a book and would like to appear on these pages, please let us know via alumnicommunications@contacts.bham.ac.uk

M

Christopher Stuart MacGregor (BSc Psychology, 1995)

My Daddy's Going Away

Whether a soldier, sailor, airman, businessman, oil-rigger, truck driver, doctor, actor or sportsman - all Dads have to go away sometimes and temporary separation affects the whole family. Whatever he does, and no matter why Dad has to leave home, it is hard on all the family. If Dad's departure is understood, his absence is more likely to be accepted and this will reduce anxiety. The book My Daddy's Going Away and the website will help you and your children talk through the stressors of paternal separation and find ways to lessen the anxiety that is often felt across the family. Take a look at www.mydaddysgoingaway.com  

Peter Mason (MSc Civil Engineering, 1981)

The Pit Sinkers of Northumberland and Durham, 2012, The History Press Ltd

Shaft sinking for the extraction of minerals has taken place for centuries. Coal mining has been carried out using various methods of sinking from shallow bell pits to deep shafts. Newcastle and the collieries along the banks of the River Tyne had a tradition of exporting coal to London. Following the invention of steam engines, sinkers were quick to use them in coal mining, and these innovations were to benefit many engineering developments. However with deeper mines, explosive gases were to cause the death and injury of many miners. Miners had always lived in close communities, and this was especially so for the sinker families in the north-east. The sinkers were recognised as being the 'elite of miners'. With previously unpublished photographs, this book is a must for those interested in the region's industrial heritage.

Lorelei Mathias (BA English, 2001)

Step on It Cupid, 2006, Little Black Dress

Amelie’s life is arranged just how she likes it. Brilliant job, great social life, and on-off love-life. So it’s a shock when she realises one day that everyone she knows seem to be happily coupled up – getting married even. Is it time she thought about settling down?

Assigned an awful project in work – writing the ad campaign for Britain’s biggest speed-dating company – she is forced against her will into plenty of market research. And with her best mate Duncan, her annoying boss Joshua and her ex-boyfriend Jack all causing havoc in her life, maybe a speed-dating romance could be her salvation…

Lost for Words, 2007, Little Black Dress

Sweet-natured Daisy, assistant at a large publishing house, has two wishes in life. One, to discover the ‘next big thing’ in books and two, for her gorgeous, philandering boyfriend Miles to finally commit.

But soon work starts looking up. When the thoughtful and witty Elliot Thornton comes in for a temporary placement, Daisy quickly forms a close friendship with him. But she’d never want to leave Miles for him, would she? Then, one day, while glancing through her rejection pile, she comes across the intriguing first pages of a novel. With spine-tingling excitement she emails the mysterious author straightaway and as chapter by chapter slowly filter through to her, she becomes completely spellbound. But somehow, there’s something very familiar about the heroine and her story…

An enchanting romance about a girl who knows she’s in love – she just doesn’t know who with…

Anita Mays (BA English, 1983)

Flygirl Adventures: An Autoflyography, 2011, Austin & Macauley Publishers Ltd.

A candid, funny and heart-warming account of one girl's struggle to achieve her dream to fly. It's all here the agonies and ecstasies of failure and triumph. A sparkly and captivating read. Initially rejected for the job of an air hostess, she then learned to fly, became a flying instructor and subsequently an executive jet pilot for the worlds rich and famous and thereby offers us a unique glimpse into the world of private jet travel. She's done the lot airline, freight, filming and corporate VIP, so with her knack for breezy yet vivid description, she paints a lively and comprehensive picture of this dynamic industry. She uses her passion and sensitivity to reflect, not only on the mysterious beauty of our planet, but on the many quirky characters on her journey around it! From Siberia to the south of France, from Bulgaria to Bangkok, and from Africa to the Arctic circle, she's flown there and takes you with her on a truly global romp, told from a birds eye view. We get impounded in Siberia, ferry a WW2 bomber over the Atlantic, depressurize at night in the USA, and fly rock stars round Europe. So buckle up and enjoy this very special ride cause you're cleared for take off.

Haseen Mazhar (BSc Chemical Engineering, 1976)

HEAL:Healthy, Educated and Lawful, 2010 CreateSpace.

This book assesses the continued ability of the United States to leave a better world for the next generation, and to keep serving the promise of the American dream. The author notes the built-in features of the human body to heal and recover from daily fatigue, physical wounds, emotional trauma, and illnesses, and we make use of these natural features everyday without even thinking or knowing about it.

 These processes of natural healing, the lifeline of human existence, depend on three basic facts. First, the bodily organs must remain healthy to perform specific functions in order to sustain a normal quality of life; second, we must remain educated about the rules that keep the bodily organs healthy and functional; and third, we must have the discipline to obey these rules to protect against self-inflicted damage. These three basic facts about the on-going healing process in our own bodies are instructive in identifying the basic factors that are necessary to heal a nation. Simply put, a nation cannot continue its journey on the path of human progress if its people are not healthy, educated, and lawful. In fact, these interrelated basic factors address the essence of human existence in a free, prosperous, and civilised society.

 The book will focus on the founding principles of the United States and take a candid look at current facts to answer three questions: Are we healthy? Are we educated? Are we lawful? Let us see how we fare. President George Washington warned us "against the baneful effects of the spirit of party" and said, "A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume." Are we paying attention to his warning?

Jed Mercurio (MBChB Medicine, 1991)

Bodies, 2004, Vintage

Inside every hospital exists a world no outsider has been allowed to see, not even the idealistic young man who has come to start a career in medicine. What awaits him is a life of institutionalised cynicism and pitch-black humour and soon it changes him more terribly than he could ever have feared.

Clare Morrall (BMus Music, 1974)

Astonishing Splashes of Colour, 2003: Tindall Street Press

Shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize, the novel focuses on Kitty, who faces the loss of a child and tackles issues of identity struggles in a large family and the optimism of an eccentric, loving marriage.

David A Munford (BSc Civil Engineering, 1976)

Six books, each cataloguing games played along with the 'book' lines. You can see where either the author or opponent varied, and the consequences, as seen by a typical club strength player, all available from lulu.com 

Chess - King Pawn Openings (excluding Sicilian Defence) - My 1st Ten Moves

Chess - Sicilian Defence - My 1st Ten Moves

Chess - Double Queen Pawn Openings - My 1st Ten Moves

Chess - Indian Openings - My 1st Ten Moves

Chess - English Opening - My 1st Ten Moves

Chess - Miscellaneous Opening - My 1st Ten Moves

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David Newport (MSc(Eng) Work Design and Ergonomics 1994)

Foundations of Relaxation, 2009, Redfilbert

Our modern, fast paced, technological and commercialised world is full of pressures. The tendency is to succumb and let this life control you, or to vainly fight against it. The outcome is an over-stressed population prone to escapes and violence. Where is the solution for you? It is within your own evolved physiology. The questions addressed are: what is it? How can you access it? How can you derive value from it?

This book explores the patterns that lead to excess stress, the choice of less helpful escapes, and the value that can be found in your in-built relaxation response. It then takes you through the core skills and techniques to really access and use your relaxation response. The end point is that you can then control how you respond to life, the level of energy and calmness you have, including getting better sleep, and setting yourself up for life.

Richard Newton (BSc and BCom Mechanical Engineering, 1986)

The Project Manager, Mastering the Art of Delivery,Financial Times Prentice Hall. Second Edition April 2009; (First Edition April 2005)

Project management, Step by Step:How to Plan and Manage a Highly Successful Project, 2006, Prentice Hall

 
Applicable to both the new and experienced project manager, this book answers three important questions for anyone involved in projects: What is successful delivery? What makes a great project manager and how do you ensure success on a project?

Managing Change Step by Step, Prentice Hall, June 2007

The Project Managers Book of Checklists, Prentice Hall, 1st edition Oct 2008; (2nd edition Nov 2010)

The practice and theory of project management, delivering value through change, Palgrave Macmillan, Nov 2008

The Management Consultant, Mastering the Art of Consultancy, Financial Times Prentice Hall, Feb 2010

Financial Times Briefing:Change Management, Financial Times, Nov 2010

The Management Book, Financial Times, September 2011

Winner of the CMI’s Management Book of the Year 2013
Winner of the CMI’s Practical Management Book 2013

Judith Niechcial (nee Skempton) (BA English, 1963)

Mother to Hundreds (The Life of Lucy Faithfull), 2010, Aldersmead Publishing

A life-long and passionate campaigner for children, Baroness Lucy Faithfull, (1910-1996), was one of the most eminent social workers of the twentieth century. She was a Tory life peer, but she opposed, and persuaded others to oppose, so many of the measures which the Party supported in relation to the welfare of children, that the Tory whips gave her the nickname of 'Lady Faithless'.

She never married or had children of her own, but as Children's officer for Oxford City, she made a difference, directly or indirectly, to the lives of very many children and families. She was one of the first to realise that, in order to reunite families where sexual abuse had taken place and to protect children from further abuse, effective treatment of the abusers was necessary. She helped to found, and gave her name to the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, which pioneered intensive therapeutic rehabilitation for sex offenders, and is still acknowledged as a leading criminal justice charity. An account of her life is a history of child care in the twentieth century.

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Dr Letitia Eva Obeng (BSc Zoology, 1952; MSc Zoology, 1961)

A Silent Heritage, 2010

A Silent Heritage, a life story which spans over 80 years has been written in response to a special request.

It records vivid memories of the author growing up against a background of the pleasures and setbacks of rural life in the British African colony, the Gold Coast and recounts a series of transitions, sometimes awe-inspiring, but often also, hilarious. The author moves through colonial rural and urban schools to graduate studies in distant lands with strange cultures; she undertakes challenging employments, enters exciting married life, experiences the pleasures, hopes and tragedies of family life, thrills to children's education and successes and formally retires at sixty from a stimulating and fulfilling international professional responsibility.

A Silent Heritage is based on a rich life experience resulting from extended interactions with a large number of people - family, friends, acquaintances - worldwide, in a variety of situations and places.

Dr Geoff Ogram (BSc Industrial Metallurgy, 1958; PhD, 1961)

Magical Images: A Handbook of Stereo Photography, 2016 (2nd ed.), ATBOSH Media Ltd

Magical Images: A Handbook of Stereo Photography provides both practical and theoretical understanding of stereoscopic imaging, primarily via photographic techniques, both film and digital.

The book is in three sections covering practical aspects of stereo photography, theoretical principles, and supplements that give greater detailed analysis of various topics, including practical projects.

The book details can be found on the publisher’s website www.atbosh.com  It is a kind of reference book in some ways. Readers do not need to through-read so it will be useful to beginners and to experienced workers who need some specific information. It is in the form of an 8 x 12 inches softback volume available as a colour version or as a black and white one. It also downloadable as e-book or Kindle versions via Amazon.

Notes from the Author:

I began the original book in 1995 when I retired from thirty years of teaching metallurgy. Focal Press were interested at the time but felt it was too specialist, even for them, who published many very specialist books on photography!  I decided to self publish (this took place in 2001) and over the years sold about 350 copies, many in the USA but in other countries too, not a best-seller but satisfying as it was received well. In 2012 the Professor of Holography at De Montfort University, having bought my book and valued it, asked me to contribute to a book which he and other co-authors compiled. My contribution was two chapters on stereo photography. That book, Techniques and Principles in Three-Dimensional Imaging, appeared in  2014, published as a hardback by IGI Global in the USA.

Back to my own book – a member of the Ohio Stereo Society contacted me early in 2015 and expressed his admiration for the book, and said he wished to publish it through his vanity publishing company but at no cost to myself. I agreed but made a few very minor changes and updated the chapter on Digital Imaging, which in 2001 was virtually non-existent and  digital stereo cameras were not available – they did not materialise until about 2009. So the new book is a second edition.

Paul Oppenheimer (MSc Thermodynamics, 1955)

From Belsen to Buckingham Palace, 2002, Beth Shalom

This is a fascinating life-history of the experiences of a Jewish family, before during and after the Holocaust.

Maureen Oxley (BA Creative Writing, 2009)

Myself and Other Strangers, 2016, Olympia Publishers

Maureen Oxley's new book Myself and Other Strangers is an eclectic collection of short stories that explore the many facets of love and sexuality. 'An Imperfect Past', where a shocking revelation in the confessional box has a profound effect on the confessor. Memories and regrets stirred by an impending funeral are explored in 'In Thoughts of You'. We see in 'Just another Day' how the depths of despair and anguish following the death of a loved one can eventually be overcome by a new love, only for happiness to be dashed again. The stories contained in Myself and Other Strangers are often poignant, frequently dark, looking at many aspects of the emotion of love and the consequences that can occur. A collection of stories the reader will find difficult to put down.

Myself and Other Strangers is available from Amazon and all good book shops: ISBN 978-1-84897-802-7, £8.99 paperback. 

Notes from the Author: 

Each story is inspired by a painting by Jack Vettriano.  Each picture carries a narrative which I can identify with.  It may be connected with me, my own life events or those of my contemporaries.   Although my narrative is not his, his work has been a source of inspiration and allowed me to take a look into the lives of and situations of fascinating characters

Jack has read these stories, really enjoyed them and very kindly agreed to my using the images in the publication.

I have long been a great fan of Jack Vettriano.  Born in the same year, 1951, I greatly appreciate the subject matter of his work - in particular the glamour, sexual passion, hope and regret which his work depicts.

'People watching' is a favourite hobby of mine.  I was a teacher and Head teacher all my working life and, as you can imagine, the opportunities to observe so many characters in so many situations has nurtured my understanding of the human condition and the events which shape it.

I have been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil but things took a more serious turn when I completed a part-time degree in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham at the age of 58.  I met many more people as I worked through this course - including my fellow students, the products of their imaginations and, not least, authors of established literary and popular fiction and their creations.

I have been faithful to the spirit of Jack's work.  Each story carries the same title as the art which inspired it and is preceded by a high res image of the art work.

I am now retired and live in Kidderminster.  I previously lived in Bromsgrove but was born and raised in Birmingham, living there until I retired in 2009.

I wasn’t quite ready to settle down to knitting and jam making, so while continuing my writing career, I tried on-line dating.  I met some memorable men including my wonderful husband John – a Derbyshire man through and through.  He makes a great cup of tea.  We were married in Bromsgrove on 22 October 2011.  

The title of the collection reflects not only the autobiographical element of the stories but also the impact of the art on my own psyche and the bitter-sweet nostalgia which it evokes.

This collection is a ‘must read’ for those who remember the art of romance as well as for those who never had the opportunity to ‘live the dream’.

Maureen Oxley