Ben Nuttall-Smith's second novel Secrets Kept / Secrets Told (Libros Libertad 2012) is a memoir of surviving the debilitating guilt of childhood sexual abuse during the London Blitz. The story is true. Only names and places have been changed to permit publication as a novel. The central character named Paddie is Nuttall-Smith. It was later re-published as Discovered in a Scream: In Search of the Healing Garden (Rutheford Press 2017).

He writes:

"One Saturday evening, Paddie and his wife treated themselves to dinner and a movie. The Prince of Tides starred Nick Nolte as Tom Wingo, a trauma patient, and Barbara Streisand as his psychiatrist.

"When three armed convicts break into the Wingo home, violently rape Tom's mother and his twin sister, Savannah, and a particularly sadistic con anally rapes young Tom, Paddie suffered such a vivid flashback to being repeatedly raped by an uncle in London during the blitz, that he froze in his seat and cried audibly.

"After the movie, when everyone else had left the theatre, Paddie was finally able to pull himself together and join his wife in the lobby. Without a word, the couple walked to the car and, as was customary, Paddie got behind the wheel. Within minutes, he had to pull over because he could no longer see to drive.

"'I was the boy in the movie,' Paddie whispered. 'I was the boy in the movie.'";

Following this episode, around 1990, Ben Nuttall-Smith's marriage disintegrated, his teaching career fell apart and, suffering from PTSD, he moved to a 'Handyman's Delight' on the Sunshine Coast. As part of the healing process, he began writing. He burned stacks and stacks of bitter scribbles while saving many of the better parts.

Seventeen years of writing and rewriting and several edits later, the publisher/writer Manolis agreed to publish the novel.

In Secrets Kept / Secrets Told, the protagonist travels to French Canada where he encounters bullying. At 17, he joins the Navy. Later he is nearly killed providing support to blacks in the Southern U.S.

"Desperate to find acceptance and love,"; writes psychiatrist and reviewer William Hay, "he seeks the spirituality of a Catholic teaching order and discovers the joys of teaching music and drama. After thirteen years of mixed joy and frustration, he leaves the order and marries...

"For all those who have known the horrors of residential schools, persecution for difference, the shame of abuse, stigma and injustice, or who just want to read a wonderful biographical novel of an extraordinary man in extraordinary times, I would urge you to read Secrets Kept / Secrets Told.";

Blood, Feathers and Holy Men (Libros Libertad 2011), Ben Nuttall-Smith's first historical novel, blended Irish, Norse and the pre-Columbian mythology of indigenous peoples of the Americas. Shipwrecked in the Hebrides in the tenth century, Irish priests, enslaved by Norse traders, manage to cross the Atlantic, via Iceland, and descend North America's plains to the steamy jungles of Mexico. Having served as a Brother in a Roman Catholic teaching order from 1956 to 1978, Nuttall-Smith fashioned his truth-seeking heroes on Christian clerics who encounter the majesty of Quétzalcoatl, the feathered god of the Olmecs and Toltecs. This novel was republished as Mad God of the Toltecs (Rutheford Publishing, 2017). "The reader is treated to the lifestyles of impoverished Irish monks, marauding Vikings, the first nations in a new world and the early civilizations of what would one day become North and Central America."

In addition, Nuttall-Smith has written a 3500-word illustrated children's book.

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Born on safari in Tanganyika Territory (now Tanzania) in 1933, singer, poet, artist and actor Ben Nuttall-Smith survived English boarding schools, the London blitz, doodle-bugs, and V2 rockets. When his father was "killed"; in North Africa, Nuttall-Smith's mother remarried and his name was changed to Benoit Boucher. In 1982, Nuttall-Smith found his father was still alive and well in England and reclaimed his family name.

In March 1945, Nuttall-Smith sailed with three younger sisters to Canada. En route, the children witnessed one of Grand Admiral Dönitz's last attempts to sink Allied convoys. At seventeen, Nuttall-Smith joined the Canadian Navy. Later adventures and misadventures led to a lifetime vocation as a teacher of Music, Theatre, Art, and Language until he retired in 1991.

Ben Nuttall-Smith taught Music, Theatre, Art, and Language until he retired in 1991. He has been an executive member of the Canadian Authors' Association, Fraser Valley representative for the Federation of British Columbia Writers, Editorial Board member for the Canadian Poetry Association quarterly magazine Poemata and a member of the Canadian Writers' Union.

Ben Nuttall-Smith's poems and short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and online publications including All That Uneasy Spring ed. Patrick Lane; Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine; Poemata Canadian Poetry Association; Lucidity Journal of Verse, Bear House Publishing, Houston Texas; Cyclamens and Swords on line poetry magazine.

In 2013, Silver Bow Publishing of New Westminster released two of his poetry books, A Moment in Eternity containing 100 pages and Postcards including 108 pages of travel poetry. "For years," he says, "I sought publishers. Then I decided to stop searching, to write and see what I could do for my fellow struggling scribblers. Publishers found me. Thus four books in three years. Perhaps there's a lesson here."

Nuttall-Smith received the Surrey Board of Trade Special Achievement Award in 2011 for his work as a writer and for service to the writing community.

In early 1996, as a volunteer for the Sunshine Coast White Cane Society, Ben Nuttall-Smith met Ayliffe "Pat" Carey, a blind ex-bush pilot. When Carey learned he wrote wrote stories for the local newspaper, he asked Nuttall-Smith to help him write his life story. Nuttall-Smith commenced weekly visits to the Carey trailer home where Pat and his wife Jean re-told stories of his life as a Fraser Valley pioneer and also his adventures as a bush pilot. "His attention to detail and his memory for names were amazing," says Nuttall-Smith. Pat Carey died on October 9th, 1999, aged 96. Following his memorial service, Pat's widow Jean asked Nuttall-Smith to continue the biographical work. When an obstinate relative refused to cooperate with the sharing of information about photographs, the manuscript lay dormant for several years while Nuttall-Smith wrote other books. Eventually Nuttall-Smith decided the story was too good to go untold, so he illustrated Flying with White Eagle (2015) himself with 28 pencil sketches. He formulated the text in Pat Carey's voice, as if Carey was narrating an autobiography, adding some historical and explanatory notes. "This is Pat Carey's story," says Nuttall-Smith. "I'm just passing it on."

BOOKS:

A Moment in Eternity (Silver Bow, 2013). Poetry. $18, 978-1-927616-02-4

Postcards (Silver Bow, 2013). Poetry. $18, 978-1-927616-03-1

Flying with White Eagle (Self-published 2015) $14.95) 978-0-9865938-9-5. Republished by Rutheford Press, 2017.

Discovered in a Scream: In Search of the Healing Garden (Rutheford Press 2017).

Mad God of the Toltecs (Rutheford Publishing, 2017)

Crescent Beach Reflections - Poetry & Paintings (Rutheford Press 2017)

[BCBW 2017] "Mexico"