Tom Durwood is a teacher, writer and editor with an interest in history. Tom most recently taught English Composition and Empire and Literature at Valley Forge Military College, where he won the Teacher of the Year Award five times. Tom has taught Public Speaking and Basic Communications as guest lecturer for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group at the Dam’s Neck Annex of the Naval War College.
Tom’s ebook Empire and Literature matches global works of film and fiction to specific quadrants of empire, finding surprising parallels. Literature, film, art and architecture are viewed against the rise and fall of empire. In a foreword to Empire and Literature, postcolonial scholar Dipesh Chakrabarty of the University of Chicago calls it “imaginative and innovative.” Prof. Chakrabarty writes that “Durwood has given us a thought-provoking introduction to the humanities.” His subsequent book “Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism” has been well-reviewed. “My favorite nonfiction book of the year,” writes The Literary Apothecary (Goodreads).
Early reader response to Tom’s historical fiction adventures has been promising. “A true pleasure … the richness of the layers of Tom’s novel is compelling,” writes Fatima Sharrafedine in her foreword to “The Illustrated Boatman’s Daughter.” The Midwest Book Review calls that same adventure “uniformly gripping and educational … pairing action and adventure with social issues.” Adds Prairie Review, “A deeply intriguing, ambitious historical fiction series.”
Tom briefly ran his own children’s book imprint, Calico Books (Contemporary Books, Chicago). Tom’s newspaper column “Shelter” appeared in the North County Times for seven years. Tom earned a Masters in English Literature in San Diego, where he also served as Executive Director of San Diego Habitat for Humanity.
Tom, tell us about your book, The Illustrated Colonials. I believe it is part of a series.
Yes, “The Illustrated Colonials” is a trilogy following the epic adventures of six young friends who become enamored of the Colonial cause. They learn that there can be harsh consequences for taking such a stand, yet they each manage to make a contribution to the global fight for liberty.
“The Colonials’ is part of a ridiculously ambitious series of teen adventures set at turning points of history. My “Illustrated Boatman’s Daughter” and “The Illustrated Ulysses S. Grant in China” are similar tales in current release.
How did you come to be a writer of YA historical fiction?
It was never a choice – I always felt that the stories already existed, and that my job was to carve them out and give them a fair treatment.
Regarding your trilogy, “The Illustrated Colonials,” if you could distill the importance of the American Revolution into a few sentences for your YA audience, what would you say?
More than an American movement, it represented the leading edge of a global shift from a medieval world to a modern world. “One of the most mold-shattering mass action movements in recorded history.” (Gary B. Nash)
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
“The Illustrated King James’ Seventh Company” is next. This is an adventure set against the creation of the King James Bible, London in 1609, with a backstory in (of course) biblical times. A less-conventional story set at the turn of the 20th century follows that.
The Illustrated Boatman’s Daughter
An Egyptian girl fights amid intrigue and corruption for the completion of the world’s greatest man-made waterway.
The Illustrated Colonials
Heroes coming of age... and changing history.
The Illustrated ‘USG in China’ and Other Stories
A Collection of Young Adult Historical Adventures
An award-winning teacher lays out the basic rules of literary criticism in this accessible guide.
Enter your email below to receive updates from Empire Studies Press