Running the Rapids: From Uttar Pradesh to Ontario

Poet, travel writer, teacher, film extra in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, quiz-show presenter, broadcaster - Kildare Dobbs has played many parts, met many people, been many places. His life journey, marked by frequent diversions and detours, reflects the exuberant eclecticism of the man himself. In Running the Rapids , Dobbs takes us on that voyage, from a gas-lit big-house childhood in 1930s Tipperary, to college days at Cambridge, enraptured by Carl Jung and Wilhelm Reich, to commando training and naval service in the Second World War, protecting Allied convoys from Uboat attack. From 1948 to 1952 he was a colonial administrator in Tanganyika, where he learnt Swahili below the 'immense, unearthly bulk' of Kilimanjaro, and was falsely imprisoned for ivory theft. He then moved to Canada, where he became an editor at Macmillan, managing editor of Saturday Night magazine from 1965 to 1967, and literary editor of the Toronto Star in the seventies. Friendships with novelists Mordecai Richler and Brian Moore; journeys across the Canadian wilderness; encounters with Anne Wilkinson, Marshall McLuhan, Wilfred Thesiger and Ronald Searle are all vividly evoked. His self-portrait is of a fascinating man of letters driven by a restless hunger for adventure.