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John McPake, a former teacher, has a diagsis of schizophrenia. Soon after his marriage fell apart he started hearing voices and eventually moved into an Edinburgh hostel for men with enduring mental health problems. An earlier obsession with the works of Breughel develops into a full blown delusion, and he assumes the personna of Johannes, a 16th century Dutch weaver who travels with his friends, Balthazar and Cornelius, in pursuit of his son who has been abducted by the Spanish mercenaries. This is an echo of John's real life quest to be reunited with his brother. People with a diagsis of psychosis often hear multiple voices. To the hearer the voices are as real as if they were listening to someone standing next to them. The voices, often unpleasant, can have completely different characters. John's voices jostle and bitch with each other for the right to tell his story.
Stuart Campbell previously worked as an English teacher and Advisor in the Lothians. He is now a part time manager with Health in Mind, an Edinburgh based charity, for whom he delivers training throughout Scotland and the Middle East. He has previously written for the BBC, the Guardian and the Scottish Book Collector. Stuart is married to Morag with four grown up children. John McPake and the Sea Beggars is his third book with Sandstone Press.