Venue: The Tiddy Tent.

Ken McKechnie is an author and mining expert. His latest novel The Boy in the Dark, brings to life the history of Cornish copper mining in the in the Victorian era. It tells the story of Thomas Pascoe, a young boy tormented by his father’s tragic death in the Wheal Emma copper mine. It weaves a gripping tale around the struggles of the Cornish men, women and children who made staggering fortunes for speculators, landowners and the aristocracy.

Ken McKechnie’s own experiences in the mining industry have taken him all over the world. After graduating as a geologist he spent two years living under canvas prospecting for copper and nickel in the remote wilderness of northern Canada. After three years in the Kalahari desert he returned to England to complete a Masters degree in Mineral Exploration before his next posting in Iran, where he spent the best part of a year camping in the remote mountains.

A spell in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) was cut short by the invasion by Angolan rebels in 1977 and Ken and his family were evacuated. In subsequent years Ken ran gold and diamond mining operations in Brazil, Indonesia and Africa.

Ken has written four novels as well as poetry and short stories, one having been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. The Boy in the Dark is his first historical mining novel and was inspired by a visit to the old Devon Great Consols copper mine at Morwhellam Quay on the Tamar.