Johnny Richardson: A Funny Fictionalised Memoir

Fictionalised memoir of teaching experience proves big hit

Fictionalised memoir of teaching experience proves big hit

Johnny Richardson’s fictionalised memoir “Sir…Are You A Virgin?” is a literary gem.

The book is a mish-mash of funny and eye-opening experiences gleaned from his fifteen+ years as a science teacher set in a fictional north Belfast secondary school. The fictionalised style protects the identity of those involved.

The book touches on the author sailing close to the wind with his teaching career in exchanges in the classroom with pupils, to conversations in the staff room, to accidentally firebombing his pupils, to the climax, his (fictionalised) punishment beating by paramilitaries.

Throughout Johnny has maintained a humorous and consistent tongue-in-cheek style, at times an irreverent edge that is the hallmark of this excellent first publication that his readers will want to read more of.

Speaking just before the launch of “Sir…Are You A Virgin?”, Johnny Richardson chatted to Down News and said: “I’m delighted to be launching my first book.

“It’s been a long journey over the past seven years in writing short stories and pieces. Now I have put them together under the one cover of “Sir… Are You A Virgin?”

Johnny Richardson, a County Down science teacher, has launched his fictionalised account of life as a teacher called “Sir… Are You A Virgin?” at the South Prom Café in Newcastle. (Photo by Jim Masson.)

“The various sections are about mainly my experience in teaching for fifteen years from day one. I did take a career break for three years and went to Kazakhstan and Moscow, hence the references to that geographical area… and to Soviet ladies’ underwear (where I attempted to buy a gift.)

“I’d like to thank everyone who helped me along the way to getting into print especially Pauline McNulty who assisted with the editing and ‘Frodo’.

Also many thanks to friends Al, Jeff and Nev who helped keeping my creative energy in check and helping to bring characters such as Snatters to life. And a special thank you to graphic designer Jonathan Temples (Creative@jonathantemples) for designing the book cover.

“A couple of years ago I attended Words for Castle Ward writing poetry sessions and Olive Broderick then was very encouraging and helped me develop a more mature approach to wring poetry. I’ve included four pieces of poetry in the memoir.”

Johnny added: “The book has only been out in print for two weeks, but so far it has been well received… my teaching colleagues are enjoying it and recognise the warts-and- all approach I have taken in describing teaching at the coal face.

“Some time ago I attended sessions at Words for Castle Ward which helped me on my way to become an author. I have managed to develop my own writing voice and It has been great fun.

“I still have a lot of material I did not use in the book, and you never know, you might even see a second one emerging in time.

“Essentially, this book is aimed at people who seldom read books. It is an attempt to reach out to them and talk about teaching as it really is… as I see it, albeit in its fictionalised version necessary for privacy reasons.

“I know work colleagues who are passing the book on to their spouses and it seems to be raising a few eyebrows in a nice kind of way about the teaching profession.”

There might even be a move now to see Johnny transferred from the Science to the English department!

Checkout out Johnny Richardson on Facebook at “Sir…Are You A Virgin?

You can buy a copy on Amazon at: Johnny Richardson

© Jim Masson.