“I thought Jim and Shirley were lovely and inspiring people and I know everybody felt the same. I found what he had to say really interesting.”

L.H. – South Nutfield

Are you looking for a speaker to address your company or group?  Perhaps I can help you.  There are two fields in which I have some expertise.  The first is the experience, the business and the technical side of writing for a living.  The second is a range of subjects stemming from my researches into the history and psychology of charlatans about which I have written a book.

“An engaging and entertaining speaker who is popular with his audience and enjoys interacting with them. Well informed and is able to combine factual information with anecdotes, making his presentations authentic and fun.”

Energy Industries Council

The following are topics on which I can speak authoritatively and entertainingly with the aid of a Powerpoint presentation.

  1. CHARLATANS, FRAUDS & FOOLS – or How Intelligent People Will Believe Stupid Things

Based on the speaker’s researches for his study of charlatans, this lecture explains the two basic rules for being a charlatan: namely that no idea is so stupid that no one will believe it; and that nobody is immune to the wiles of charlatans and frauds. The lessons are illustrated with a humorous account of the modern belief in the Flat Earth, and how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was convinced of the existence of fairies. Powerpoint.

  1. LOST LANDS : LOST DREAMS – Troy & Atlantis : myth or reality?

This lecture explores the human desire to believe in the existence of mythical lands. It explains how a German businessman pursued his dream and uncovered the remains of ancient Troy, and how a Greek philosopher and a Minnesota politician have convinced many people that Atlantis exists. Powerpoint.


People are often reluctant to believe that famous or important people have really died – think of Elvis for example. This lecture gives an account of the careers of a number of great imposters. It includes the false claimants to the English throne after the Wars of the Roses, the enigmatic German boy, Kaspar Hauser, and how a fat butcher from Wapping convinced many people that he was an English aristocrat and heir to a great fortune. Powerpoint.

  1. THE FIRST GREAT CREDIT CRUNCH – or: How bankers and politicians took the public for a ride in the year 1720

In 1720 Europe was swept by wave of speculation that ended in a disastrous credit crunch. This lecture explains how the scheme was deliberately contrived by a group of financial speculators and corrupt politicians. Despite being 300 years old, it is a surprisingly modern and entertaining story about human nature. Powerpoint.


Giacomo Casanova is the great lover and adventurer, whose wit, intelligence and daring made him famous in 18th century Europe. This lecture follows his extraordinary career and describes the world in which he lived. It is populated by outrageous characters including a lecherous cardinal, a cross-dressing French diplomat, and the remarkable Count of St. Germain who was believed to be immortal and to have the power of making diamonds. Powerpoint.


The boundary between a forgery and an homage or honest copy is not always obvious, and some of the great artists have turned their hands to forgery in order to pay the bills. This lecture focuses on great 20th century forgeries, including the man who sold a fake Vermeer to Hermann Goering and the forging of the autobiography of Howard Hughes. The centrepiece is an explanation of the Speaker’s personal role in the great Hitler Diaries forgery. Powerpoint.


This lecture is a light hearted history of some of the classic frauds, including the sale of various national monuments, the Big Store fraud made famous in The Sting, the Spanish Prisoner scam, and the Living Brazilian Invisible Fish. Powerpoint


This is a mini master class touching on some of the key aspects of writing novels. In a mixture of explanation and readings, the Speaker tells of his career as a professional novelist and answers the question that is invariably posed to authors: Where do writers get their ideas from? The lecture also traces how an author may use a motif – in this instance that of “dance” – to achieve different effects within the same book and explains the meaning of the maxim that authors should write about what they know. The readings are from The English Lady Murderers’ Society, a comic novel about a group of middle-aged women living the ex-pat life in a southern French village. This lecture is speech only and especially suited to a small group.


Have you investigated your family history only to wish that your ancestors had left a memoir? Have you tried to write your own autobiography but been overwhelmed by the task? The Speaker has developed an easy method for writing autobiography that has inspired and helped ordinary people to set down the story of their lives. In this lecture he explains his method and illustrates it with readings that are both funny and, occasionally, touching. This lecture is speech only.


2 thoughts on “Speaker

  1. Hi Jim
    I am a member of Stockport U3a and I book speakers for our monthly open meetings which are on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm at Trinity Methodist church in Davenport.
    We are looking for speakers for 2018 now as have booked to December 2017.
    Please could you let me know how much you charge? There are usually about 150 members in attendance.
    I also help the family history group and wonder if one of your talks would be suitable for this smaller group, possibly for early next year.
    Please let me know if you can help.One of our members saw you give a talk recently in romiley or Woodley.

  2. Dear Jim,
    I am writing to you on behalf of Marple and District U3A to enquire about the possibility of your speaking again at our monthly meeting. We found the last one about the Charlatons fascinating!
    Our meetings take place at Marple Senior Citizens Hall, which is situated in the Memorial Park in the centre of Marple, Stockport, on the second Monday morning of the month. We are now looking for speakers for 2020 and the dates for the year are as follows:
    13th January, 10th Feb., 13th April, 11th May, 8th June, 13th July, 10th Aug., 14th Sep., 12th Oct., 9th Nov., 14th Dec
    I would be grateful, if you could inform me as soon as possible, as to whether you would be interested in speaking, if you have a particular date in mind and of your fee.
    Looking forward to hearing from you,
    Kind regards,
    Pam Wakefield (joint speaker secretary)

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