Press release – “Loving the Enemy: building bridges in a time of war”

Next month, debutant author, Andy March releases the biography of his grandparents, Englishman Fred Clayton and German woman Rike Büttner-Wobst from Dresden, Germany, who rose above extreme suffering and defied the hatred and enmity of warring nations to build an enduring bridge of love.

Andy March is a vicar in Coventry, who travelled as part of a group from Coventry to Dresden in February 2015 to join in the commemorations marking 70 years since that city was bombed and stand with our former enemies, now friends, to declare that love must overcome hate.  It was a visit that left an indelible mark on Andy and provided the catalyst for the creation of Loving the Enemy. Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth, was also part of that trip and has written the foreword for Loving the Enemy.

Loving the Enemy tells the compelling true story of Fred Clayton, a grammar schoolboy from Liverpool, and brilliant Cambridge scholar, who leaves the comfort of the halls of Cambridge at the beginning of the Nazi era and makes a troubled journey to discover first-hand what life must be like to live under the despotic regime. Arriving in Dresden, he develops a friendship with a German family that will change his life.

Through the course of the next decade, with his and their nations at war, Fred will not forget the connections that have been made and refuses to allow hate to win.  After the war, with Dresden in ruins, reflecting his own state of mind, Fred writes to the same German family. Will he find the healing, love and redemption he seeks?

“It is my hope that, thanks to Andy’s efforts, the story will inspire you as much as it has inspired me, and that it will find its place as a signpost, even a landmark, along the path of reconciliation, trust and love which links Coventry and Dresden; Britain and Germany.”

Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth, from the Foreword.

ENDS

Notes for Editors

  1. A book launch will take place on 6th November at 7:15pm at St Christopher’s Church, Coventry, where Tickets £5 available from City of Culture ticketing website This evening, author Andy March, grandson of Fred and Rike, will read passages from Loving the Enemy, and share how the memoir came to be written.  In addition to the reading, professional musician, Richard Jeffcoat, will provide musical interludes on the piano.  This event is part of the Coventry-Dresden Friendship Festival. 
  2. Andy March has been vicar of St Christopher’s Church, Coventry, where he has lived with his family since 2012. He graduated from University of East Anglia with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. He has channelled this passion for storytelling into his work as a vicar, where he seeks to find ways of bringing the Bible narratives to life and communicating them to all ages. Loving the Enemy, the story of his grandparents, is his first published work. 
  3. Fred Clayton studied Classics at King’s College Cambridge from 1931-1936, first as an undergraduate and then as a graduate, where he won a number of prizes, including a Prize Fellowship. He was a Fellow of King’s from 1937-40.  His semi-autobiographical novel, The Cloven Pine, describing his experiences in Germany, was published by Secker and Warburg (under the pseudonym of Frank Clare) in 1942.  He became Professor of Classics of Exeter University in 1948, where he served until his retirement. See his obituary, published by The Independent on 24 December 1999 for more information.
  4. Copies of Loving the Enemy are available to buy direct from halwillpublishing.co.uk/orderform or Amazon.
  5. Find out more on halwillpublishing.co.uk
  6. For further details contact info@halwillpublishing.co.uk // 07816998642

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