Tag: Shirley Williams

Launch of Escaping Hitler 4th February 2016

My thanks to Jarrold book department in Norwich for a spectacular book launch and signing last evening, Thursday 4th February.  I had the joy of launching my debut book in front of over 200 history and book lovers, including family, friends, local historians, writers, academics and followers of my subject Joe Stirling.  I spoke from a podium, using a hand microphone for about 45 minutes, before inviting 91 year old Joe to join me for a question and answer session.  Unusually I aimed my address at honouring those in the audience who gave up their time over the past four years to share memories of Joe with me. Joe was amazing answering half a dozen questions and we both enjoyed the unexpectedly strenuous task of signing over 60 books for those buying a book on the night.  An evening never to be forgotten and with over 25 public speaking events in my diary throughout 2016, there are many more opportunities to share Joe’s story and to sign and sell books……


Day in the Life of a fledgling published Biographer

Today, Friday 29th January.  Started quite normally. Met with Mayor of Thorpe St Andrew (home suburb) to have photo taken with him for the town newsletter.  Went into City of Norwich to have an afternoon off at our favourite watering hole – they are holding their annual Winter Beer Festival (enough said!)  On passing City Bookshop I spotted Escaping Hitler in their front window display.  Photo opportunity!  We then went into Smiths to buy a copy of Suffolk and Norfolk Life – I knew that it was promoting the book.  Sure enough, two page spread complete with photos.  We buy three copies!  On to lunch and beer tastings.  Lovely two hours chatting to a couple from Sheringham.  On way back to bus stop at 5pm (we know how to live!) we took a detour through Waterstones, UK’s leading bookseller, just incase they were stocking my book, but I did not hold out much hope.

We asked at the desk. Sure enough the young woman said they had bought in 10 copies and would I like to sign them!  No way had I expected that!  Gleefully we followed her up the stairs to top floor and there was my display!  She leant me a pen and I signed all ten copies, feeling a little shaky and overawed!  Such a thrill!  Then on the bus and home for a quiet night in.  Wow!  What a day.


Introductory offer on Escaping Hitler ends soon!



With my current stocks of Escaping Hitler now running low, I will soon be re-ordering from my publisher.  Unfortunately the price per copy to me has increased so from my official launch date of 4th February 2016 (10 days time) the price for a signed copy direct from me will be £19.50 plus £4 postage.  This is still well below the £25 recommended retail price as printed on the inside cover….  SO, if you would like to snap up your copy at the introductory price of £17 plus postage, now is the time. Full information of your options below….  

The book came in at number 9 in Jarrolds Book Department weekly Top Ten National Sellers list, as published in Saturday’s Eastern Daily Press in Norwich.  I could not be more delighted….  thanks to those who have already bought, I hope you are enjoying living Joe’s life alongside him…..!

1. U.K. FOLLOWERS: EITHER mail a cheque payable to Mrs P Scrivens at 7 St Lucia Court, 38 Yarmouth Road, Norwich NR7 0EQ along with your home address and telephone number and I will mail a book out to you along with a receipt. (Orders dated before 4th February will be at £17 plus £4 p&p, dated after 4th February will be £19.50 plus £4 p&p)

2. OR call me on 01603 300212 and quote me your credit or debit card details (just like you do when ordering tickets for the cinema!) I have a Paypal machine so I can take cards over the phone. I will then mail your book.

3. OR email me at phyllida.scrivens@icloud.com and I will email you my bank account details by return so that you can pay electronically. Once it is cleared I will mail your book.

All books will be mailed in a cardboard mailer which can fit two books. Postage the same price for two books as for one.

4. OVERSEAS FOLLOWERS: Unfortunately postage from the UK is very expensive in small quantities. I would advise you to order from either Amazon.co.uk or from Pen and Sword Books website at http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Escaping-Hitler-Hardback/p/11628. Pen and Sword can send out signed copies if you request this at the end of the online ordering process.

Happy Reading….


First ‘reader review’ received for Escaping Hitler

This morning I was delighted to receive my first ‘reader review’ on Facebook from a lovely lady who bought a book direct from me earlier this week. The review was actually from her husband and it reads:

“My husband managed to nab our copy before me. He keeps relaying little snippets so I know he is enjoying the book.
When I asked him about the style of writing he said he was finding it an easy read and a real page turner.”

As a debut biographer I could not have been more delighted. That is exactly what I set out to achieve when I knew I had to share Joe’s story.  Thank you Mary.

To receive your copy of Escaping Hitler, the biography of Norwich man Joe Stirling, kinder transport boy, former Sheriff of Norwich, senior member of Lions International and pioneering Travel Agent, refer to the previous blog posting with your options.  Looking forward to signing and mailing it out to you (U.K. only)

It is also available from Jarrold’s Book Department in Norwich,  Pen and Sword Books and Amazon.co.uk.


Joe Stirling reading his copy of Escaping Hitler!

HOW TO BUY YOUR COPY OF ESCAPING HITLER, a Biography signed by both author and subject…..


No harm in a  reminder to my UK readers of how to order your signed copy of Escaping Hitler direct from me.  

1. The Recommended Retail Price on the cover is £25 but I am selling signed copies at £19.50 plus £4 postage and packing (within the UK) making a total of £23.50

2. EITHER mail  a cheque payable to Mrs P Scrivens at 7 St Lucia Court, 38 Yarmouth Road, Norwich NR7 0EQ along with your home address and telephone number and I will mail a book out to you along with a receipt.

3. OR call me on 01603 300212 and quote me your credit or debit card details (just like you do when ordering tickets for the cinema!) I have a Paypal machine so I can take cards over the phone.  I will then mail your book.

4. OR email me at phyllida.scrivens@icloud.com and I will email you my bank account details by return so that you can pay electronically. Once it is cleared I will mail your book.

All books will be mailed in a cardboard mailer which can fit two books.

Do share this information with your friends.  My debut book is now just over one year old and has recently been published in the U.S. by Skyhorse Books.  The interest in Joe’s remarkable story continues to grow – be a part of it.  jacket jpeg

Thanks in anticipation.  Joe and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Phyllida Scrivens, Norwich

200 copies of Escaping Hitler arrive in Thorpe St Andrew

Today counts as one of the most exciting of my life, alongside two marriages, two births and two graduations… 200 copies of my debut book Escaping Hitler arrived from Pen and Sword Books at my Norwich home.  I love it!  The cover is glossy, the scent of ‘new print’, evocative photographs and foreword by a national figure.  It is everything I dreamed it would be, my debut book, a proper hardback with my name on the spine… I could not be happier.  Within two hours of the delivery van arriving here, Victor and I drove over to Joe Stirling, the subject of the biography, where he was patiently awaiting our arrival.  Joe is also thrilled with how the book looks and I signed a copy for him.  We left him embarking on a marathon read – I doubt he will not go to bed tonight!  Here are some photos so that you can share this special day with me.  Tomorrow we will set up an online store from this site – hopefully from the weekend Escaping Hitler will be open for business!

77th Anniversary of Kristallnacht – we must never forget

Today, 9th November 2015, marks the 77th Anniversary of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in Germany and Nazi-occupied territories.  It was the night when people turned against their fellow Germans, just because they were Jewish. Joe Stirling’s family was affected, even in their small farming village of Nickenich. As a 14 year old boy he watched as his beloved father was forcibly dragged from their home without explanation or knowledge of where he was being taken.  What happened to the boy and his mother is recorded in Escaping Hitler: A Jewish Boy’s Quest for Freedom and His Future (with foreword by Shirley Williams), my debut biography of this now 91 year old man living in Norwich, Norfolk, U.K. The book will be published in January 2016 by Pen and Sword Books with the official launch in Jarrolds Department Store in Norwich on 4th February.  Please find my Facebook page for Escaping Hitler and add your ‘like’ to the 200 others to be kept updated on publication dates, signings and how to get hold of your copy signed by both the author and by Joe Stirling (born Günter Stern in Nickenich, Rhineland).

Take a look at the Facebook page of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. to see interviews and footage of survivors talking about that terrible night.  We must be thankful it was not our families and never forget.


New York Times Headlines Kristallnacht

Kristallnacht Memorial Germany


I was saddened to read this morning that the U.S. Kindertransport Association have called time on their annual conferences with so few Kinder left alive or unable to attend through ill health and age.  I believe London is still going strong as is 91 year old  Joe Stirling of Norwich.  His story of arriving in England from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport features in my debut biography Escaping Hitler, available from January 2016.    May the memory of those brave young people and their parents who sacrificed so much live forever.

Kindertransport Association Gathers One Last Time

Between November 1938 and the start of World War II, the Kindertransport rescue movement saved the lives of nearly 10,000 children, transporting them out of Nazi Germany, Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia to safety in Great Britain. After the war, HIAS helped many of the Kinder resettle in the U.S.

In 1989 in London, England, the Kindertransport Association (KTA), held a reunion for Kindertransport survivors. Since then, there have been meetings throughout the United States. This October KTA’s 13th national conference was held outside Detroit, Michigan. The event was bittersweet as it was also the last KTA conference, as fewer and fewer Kindertransport alumni are still alive or able to travel to such gatherings. HIAS president Mark Hetfield gave the keynote speech at the conference’s final dinner.

“I was honored to talk to this group. They know better than most the importance of the work that HIAS does now, having been refugees themselves,” Hetfield said. “They are our inspiration to make sure that refugees are protected, and that refugee families are protected.”

Today, HIAS works to help children and families of all religions escape from persecution. This mission has been enthusiastically championed by Manny Lindenbaum, one of the Kindertransport survivors, who attended this year’s conference. In 2014, at the age of 83, Manny decided to retrace his refugee journey backwards, from Poland to Germany, on a bicycle. He made the journey, along with his grandchildren, to raise money for HIAS programs in Chad in honor of World Refugee Day.

“The lessons of the Holocaust are not forgotten. They are very much alive in the way that we treat refugees today. In that sense, it was natural for HIAS to be present at the last Kindertransport conference,” Hetfield said.

Großbritannien: Kinder polnischer Juden aus dem Gebiet zwischen Deutschland und Polen bei Ihrer Ankunft mit der


Even with a further ten weeks or so to publication, the word is out there and people want to hear the story of Joe Stirling’s remarkable life and how my debut biography Escaping Hitler: A Jewish Boy’s Quest for Freedom and His Future (with foreword by Shirley Williams) came about.   I now have nine speaking engagements in the diary including Cringleford Historical Society, Old Catton, Brooke and Norwich Lunchtime Women’s Institutes, Wymondham Heritage Society, the Out and About Club in Norwich, Mid Norfolk Family History Society, East Anglia Women Networking Group and, of course, Nickenich in the Rhineland on 13th May.  I will be brushing up my public speaking skills in readiness, I certainly am not short of enthusiasm!

Good advice!