• Born: June 8, 1946 - London, UK

  • Home: Magna Bay, BC (Shuswap Lake)

  • Arrival in Canada 1951 and in BC 1956

  • English

  • Actor and Theatre Director


According to IMDB:

Alan Scarfe is an actor known for Lethal Weapon 3 (1992), Kingdom Hospital (2004) and Double Impact (1991). He has been married to Barbara March since 1979. They have one child. He was previously married to Sara Botsford. He performed frequently at the Stratford Festival in the late 1970s and early 1990s. He is a former Associate Director of Canada's Stratford Festival and the Everyman Theater in Liverpool. Son of Gladys Ellen (Hunt) and Neville Vincent Scarfe. His parents were university professors. His father was the Founding Dean of the Faculty of Education at UBC, and served as Dean from 1956 to 1973.

O CANADA: AN INDIE AUTHOR'S JOURNEY by Alan Scarfe

I spent the greater part of my career as an actor and director in Canada and was well known to the public but, to my dismay, when I began writing novels I had to look outside the country for support. In 1998, as we neared the end of a decade-long sojourn in Los Angeles, I started on a book about Jack the Ripper. It was my wife's suggestion. She had read the memoir of a British psychologist named Lyttleton Forbes Winslow and was convinced he would make a more than credible suspect and I realized that a first person narrative in his voice would allow me to explore the subject of religious monomania and, more broadly, how the stark contrast between the poverty in the East End of London and the opulence of the West End had almost necessitated this most famous of all serial killers. It took me three years to finish it, working between television and film jobs. At the time it was the only book that had ever been written entirely from the killer's point of view and I thought it would be quite simple to get some interest. We were back in Canada by then but when I set out to contact agents and publishers and the media I was greeted with stony silence. Eighty percent of my messages got no response at all. After a year I got fed up and self-published the book and began privately eliciting critical responses from outside the country. Christopher Berry-Dee, director of the Criminology Research Institute in Portsmouth, UK, phoned in excitement one morning to tell me I had written "one of the finest books he had ever read on historical crime." Warren Allen Smith in New York called it "one of the best murder mysteries ever" and comparable with Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. The great polymath Colin Wilson responded within a matter of weeks from Cornwall praising the idea and style and hoping the book would reach a wide audience. In 2006 Barbara and I attended a Star Trek convention in Italy. She had played a very popular character on the series and I had done a few guest star spots. I was interviewed by two young fans, Sabrina Lugetti and Tancredi Marrone, who told me they knew a publisher in Rome who might be interested. Indeed he was. His name was Paolo de Crescenzo, the founder of Gargoyle Books, and he became a good friend. Within a year the novel had been brilliantly translated into Italian by Chiara Vatteroni. It was titled Le Memorie di Jack lo Squartatore and, astonishingly to me because of the subject matter, received wonderful reviews and sold more than a thousand copies in the first six months. Two years later Mondadori, the largest distributor in Italy, was planning a print run of ten thousand for newspaper kiosks. In 2007, while we were lunching at his club on the banks of the Tiber, Il Circolo Canottieri di Roma, Paolo asked me to write a vampire novel. Gargoyle Books specialized in horror and I immediately said "What about vampires and 9/11?" He looked at me through bushy brows as though I was mad and then said, "Perchè no?" My first novel had explored the crazed mind of a psychopath and, though I had no interest whatever in the 'vampire' genre, I knew the metaphor would provide boundless scope for a satirical look at the madness and political corruption of the present day. It turned into a trilogy, originally titled The Vampires of Ciudad Juarez, The Vampires of 9/11 and Vampires of the Holy Spirit. Chiara and I worked on Book One, I vampiri di Ciudad Juarez, by email and again she did a wonderful translation, faithful and accurate in every detail. It's about the tragedy of las desaparecidas and the callous hypocrisy of the War on Drugs. 'Vampires' are merely the hook and the Italian reviewers understood that very well. Book Two, I vampiri dell'11 settembre, was translated by Stefania Sapuppo. We worked on it in the same way and again the response was both perspicacious and laudatory. Sadly, not long afterward, Paolo was diagnosed with cancer and reluctantly sold the company. After a distinguished career in business and the Italian film industry he had worked with great care to create it but the new owners were only interested in short term gain and it was soon declared bankrupt. I did eventually find a publisher in Toronto, Mosaic Press, and they brought out another edition of the Ripper novel. However, they never managed to garner a single review, unlike in Italy where there were always thirty or forty for each book, and after five frustrating and unproductive years I severed my connection with them. By a happy coincidence, on the very day I did so, I noticed that Heidi von Palleske, a fine Canadian actress, novelist, political activist and poet, had announced the formation of a new indie publishing house called Smart House Books. It would be based in Toronto and, though we had never met, I immediately contacted her. In the short space of two and a half years Smart House has brought out new editions of all four books. The first has been retitled simply as The Revelation of Jack the Ripper and what I call The Carnivore Trilogy has become The Vampires of Juarez, The Demons of 9/11 and The Mask of the Holy Spirit. Book Three had never seen the light of day other than a self-published version from 2010. It takes place in Rome in April, 2005, at the time of Joseph Ratzinger's investiture as Pope Benedict XVI. One Italian reviewer compared the trilogy to Doctor Strangelove and another said "it opens the door to a world of darkness even more terrifying than the daily news," but despite the gratifying attention abroad it's still almost unbelievably difficult to get anything similar to happen here. It's puzzling and infuriating because I know the reading public in Canada would enjoy the books as much as the Italians have done if they could be made aware of their existence. I'm still trying to get The Globe and Mail or Quill & Quire or some other major Canadian outlet to rectify that, and give Heidi von Palleske's quixotic courage a much-deserved boost, but thus far have had no success. [smarthousebooks.com]

BOOKS:

  • The Mask of the Holy Spirit, 2018, Smart House Books, Toronto

  • The Demons of 9/11, 2018, Smart House Books, Toronto

  • The Vampires of Juarez, 2017, Smart House Books, Toronto

  • The Revelation of Jack the Ripper, 2017, Smart House Books, Toronto

  • The Autobiography of Jack the Ripper (as Clanash Farjeon), 2014, Mosaic Press, Toronto

  • I vampiri dell'11 settembre (as Clanash Farjeon), 2011, Gargoyle Books, Rome

  • Vampires of the Holy Spirit (as Clanash Farjeon), 2011, Trafford Publishing

  • I vampiri di Ciudad Juarez (as Clanash Farjeon), 2010, Gargoyle Books, Rome

  • The Vampires of 9/11 (as Clanash Farjeon), 2010, Trafford Publishing

  • The Vampires of Ciudad Juarez (as Clanash Farjeon), 2010, Trafford Publishing

  • Le Memorie di Jack lo Squartatore (as Clanash Farjeon), 2008, Gargoyle Books, Rome

  • A Handbook for Attendants on the Insane: the autobiography of 'Jack the Ripper' as revealed to Clanash Farjeon, 2003, Trafford Publishing, Victoria, BC


[BCBW 2018]