Sebastian Peake, on a recent return
visit to Sark Island
Sebastian Peake is the eldest of Mervyn Peake and Maeve Gilmore's three children. He is the author of Child of Bliss: Growing Up With Mervyn Peake, published in 1989 and recently reissued by Random House in a companion volume with his mother's memoir, titled Mervyn Peake: Two Lives. As well as maintaining his own site (www.mervynpeake.org), Sebastian speaks widely about his father's life and work. He also administers the Mervyn Peake Awards, given annually to writers and artists with Parkinson's Disease.
In his other life, Sebastian is a wine merchant in London, England -- though a former jazz drummer, and a nomadic adventurer at heart:
"The day after my 20th birthday I left for Sweden, where I spent a year learning the language, playing drums in modern jazz bands across the country, from the deep south, to the Lappland a thousand miles to the north. The next year I spent in Berlin, during the height of the Cold War, and heard Kennedy speak in person at the Wall. For the following three years I travelled all over Europe; selling furs, playing drums and occasionally the piano. At a party given my mother for various writers -- Melvyn Bragg, John Braine, Michael Moorcock, J.G.Ballard and several others -- I was introduced to an eminent wine merchant who offered me a job in his company. Ever since that day I have remained in the wine trade, but hanker after the nomadic life, as exemplified by a drive across the Sahara to Senegal in the late 1960's when my wife and I were determined to find the 'Blue Men' of Goulimine. After several days of following leads from locals all to no avail, we finally saw a group emerging like a mirage from the desert. Our mission complete, we set off on our two thousand-mile return journey to London."