( born 17 October 1929 ) is a British-born, naturalized Australian writer and cartoonist.
Born in Tottenham Middlesex, he took an all-consuming interest in art and writing from the age of 3. His early years were spent in the German blitzkrieg of London and as an evacuee in the rural county of Essex. His letter to President Roosevelt thanking him for 'Bundles for Britain', was chosen from all 12 year-olds across Britain, and he won numerous awards for designing and headlining morale-building posters for Britain's war effort.
At 14 he entered the naval training-ship Indefatigable, and went to sea in 1945 aged 15. He was a deck-boy aboard the British Trooper 'Arundel Castle'. At the end of world war 2, when he got his first powerful impressions of the Far East: He picked up allied soldiers from Singapore, Ceylon and Bombay, before heading for Kure, the port of Hiroshima - the first ship to enter the Inland sea of Japan after the atom bomb. On the return voyage he took Foreign Legionnaires to Saigon, Indo-China, to fight a little baker named Ho Chi Minh. Temporarily blinded in the Persian Gulf from sunstroke in 1947, he jumped ship in Sydney and spent 2 years in the Australian Outback, breaking horses, felling trees and sailing aboard deep-sea trawlers. An adventurous youth made the works of Jack London, Ernest Hemmingway and Banjo Patterson essential reading. He began selling his cartoons and short stories to Country newspapers in 1950.
After several more years at sea in the Caribbean, he joined the British army at the outbreak of war with Korea to become a Regimental Drill Sergeant, returning to Australia as an immigrant in 1954. Working his way through art-school, he became an illustrator and newspaper cartoonist.
This led to two highly successful careers : the first in animated films as a pioneer of Australian animation: first to introduce animated educational films to Asia; and first to produce and direct US co-production with Paramount Pictures.
The second in International advertising, much of it establishing Western products and services in Asian markets : Over a period of 30 years, he held the position of Regional Creative Director for the world's leading Ad.-agencies, receiving every international Industry Award, plus the prestigious ' H. K. McCann Award' for creative excellence and outstanding leadership.
Whilst living in Hong Kong, he met and married the granddaughter of Sir Robert Kotewall, one of the British Colony's most famously prominent founders. is Chinese name-' Pai Kit Fai 'was given to him by a family matriarch, loosely translated it means. 'White Artistic Successful'.
He began fulltime writing in 1973, winning the A& R Writers's Fellowship with a debut novel-trilogy, based on his early adventures. The Best-selling trilogy was chosen as Odham's Book of the Month Club in London from Pan Paperback, and Dymock's Book of the Month Club in Australia. In 1977 while resident in Manila, he was diagnosed with throat cancer: a keen student of Chinese martial arts and traditional Oriental medicine, he rejected surgery for the development of ancient methods of breath training.
Success in beating the disease and now a Master of Chi Kung, the challenge led to his internationally best-selling non-fiction book: Live Longer Love longer: The Power Of Ch'i , followed by three more in the series. Fascinated by a life lived in Asia and the history of Hong Kong and China, he published 'The Second Sunrise and Tiger Dawn, both novels set in the Far East. These were read by one of New York's most sought after Literary Agents, Albert Zuckerman, Founder of Writer's House on 5th Avenue.
Their work together produced a novel of the same genre, The Concubine's Daughter, published by St. Martin's Press in November 2009, and Red Lotus, published by Sphere, London in December 2009. His books are about China of the recent past. Always the unfinished adventure...