Local author to visit the school to discuss the  family secret which inspired his novel

Local author, Finn Dervan, is set to visit Pocklington School to give a talk on the discovery of a family secret that inspired him to write Serenity Song, a historical thriller based on the legacy of the Irish War of Independence. He will be speaking on Friday 15th November in the Gruggen Room, Pocklington School, between 4.00pm to 5.00pm. This event is open to the public. Tickets are free and can be booked online by visiting https://www.trybooking.co.uk/NJV or by emailing boxoffice@pocklingtonschool.com.

Two years in the making, the secret that inspired the novel was the revelation that Finn’s great-grandfather was assassinated by the IRA in the dying seconds of the conflict because he had led a Police Murder Squad in County Roscommon. Finn, born and raised in England, but of Irish heritage, had always been told that his ancestor, Sergeant James King, was a staunch Catholic on his way to Mass and was gunned down by a rogue IRA operative for no other reason than the uniform he wore. But in 2016, in the wake of the centennial commemorations of the Easter Rising in Dublin, a whole host of documents surfaced online; and it was one of these articles that shattered the family fable and impelled Finn to look into the accusations. Finn, who studied history at the University of Leeds and teaches in a York Secondary School travelled to the National Archives in Kew to study the original documentation, then onwards to Dublin, Belfast, Derry and Glasgow. What he discovered chilled him to the core and inspired him to write Serenity Song.

The novel follows James Lucas as he embarks on a similar quest. But very soon, he learns that in small town Ireland, there is a reason the past remains buried. Since its sell out launch at Waterstones in York this summer, the novel has met with critical acclaim; Owen Gibson, Head of National News at the Guardian, commented; “From rural Ireland to the mean streets of modern-day Glasgow, memory, history and sectarianism are explored in this gripping and accomplished thriller. A remarkable debut.”

Anna Hughes, who has organised the event said, “We are very excited to welcome Mr Dervan to this fantastic school. We always seek to inspire our students to go that extra mile and we believe that the meticulous research that went into this novel and the messages about intolerance that come out of it will make for fascinating listening. We are particularly excited to welcome members of the public to this event and we would encourage lovers of literature, those who are interested in history, and indeed anyone who wants to learn a little bit about how to write a novel to attend.”

Finn said, “I am honoured to have been asked to visit this beautiful part of Yorkshire to share my story. Writing the book was great fun and if I can shed some light on a complicated period of British history and help people make sense of the ever-changing relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, then I am happy. I am really looking forward to spending the evening in Pocklington amongst fellow bibliophiles.”

Serenity Song is available to buy in all good bookshops or as an ebook from a range of online platforms. For more information visit