Writer and educationalist born in Rhyl, North Wales. Ambrose Conway is the pen name of David Hughes who considered his name to be too beige and too used to be of any value in Wales or beyond. He is one of nine David Hughes' he knows personally, and did not want the credit (or more likely, notoriety) for his writing to be attributed elsewhere.
Leaving Rhyl in 1975, Ambrose studied at the University of York for five years, completing a BA in Economic and Social History and Politics, an MA in Southern African Studies and a PGCE. His innate sense of timing meant that he entered the job market in the teeth of the last recession. He considered himself lucky to secure a first teaching post at Swavesey Village College in rural Cambridgeshire. The Fens played havoc with his sinusitis which had first flared up in York and he moved in 1984 to Hartford High School in Cheshire, which, due to the salt pans in adjacent Northwich, he subsequently found to be a sinusitis hotspot.
His writing to date had been for the education press on school improvement and inclusion and it was in this period that he first considered trying to capture stories that had worked in class to engage teenagers in reading.
In 1995 Ambrose moved to a senior position in an inner city school in Nottingham City which was to form the most challenging element of his career to date. His choice of abode, repeated past mistakes however as Southwell, on the northern boundary of the Trent Valley, had an unenviable local reputation as the sinusitis capital of Nottinghamshire. A turbulent but rewarding career path followed during which his first novel was developed for publication and regular contributions were made to the Times Educational Supplement and the Sec Ed magazine. Ambrose also spoke and contributed to national and international educational conferences in this period.
The inspiration for his writing came from the Welsh oral tradition and tales such as the Mabinogion, which had been related so graphically by John Ambrose. The work of Barry Hines and John Sillitoe, the fine detail and the life studied from a single perspective, influenced the style of his writing.
Memories of his childhood on the locally notorious Reso council estate in Rhyl formed the inspiration for his first two novels, The Reso (Kings Hart Books 2007) which is set in the 1960s and Beyond the Reso (Kings Hart Books 2009) which moves the action forward to the 1970s. Currently the third book of the trilogy, Resolution is being written for a publication date late in 2010.
Although originally intended as a reader for teenagers with social and moral explorations,free interactive learning resources,National Curriculum materials and tagging documents developed on the associated website, a second readership has been drawn from those who grew up in the sixties and seventies and wish to wallow in the long forgotten detail and sensations of those times.
The Reso is currently being considered as part of a major regeneration project for Rhyl and the hinterland. Funding has already been found to train young people not in education and employment in video skills and project management in oder to improve their employability.
The Reso website is at: www.the-reso.co.uk
Nature or nuture - which has the decisive influence on a child's upbringing?
Young David finds his 1960s upbringing on the Reso, a notorious council estate in the north Wales resort town of Rhyl brings what he learns at home and what he encounters on the "mean streets" of the estate into sharp contrast.
The Reso was the name given by all those who were not inmates of the council estate in question to its inhabitants. It stood for the Reservation and reflected the general view that the estate residents were savages, unfit for the civilisation beyond its confines.
The action is seen through the eyes of David as he comes to terms with life on the estate and glimpses other worlds in such unlikely places as next door's biscuit barrel and the parade of the consumptives.
David grows up in what he believes to be a normal world. He treads a delicate path between the unwritten harsh rules of the estate and the increasingly insistent voice of his conscience - which sounds unerringly like the disembodied voice of his mum.
In David's house they don't have chocolate biscuits because his mum says they will only eat them. David knows the answer to the question posed by the bully "Are you staring at me?"
If there is a God, and David believes there must be, he would consider David to be a bloody nuisance. In search of help and salvation from his self-inflicted scrapes, David delivers more final demands to God than the electricity board does on the Reso.
Despite his Christian upbringing, David is an adherent of the firework god Kalamakulia and takes part in the autumnal rituals of the cult, funding the special sacrifices of Little Demon bangers which echo so effectively in the entries between the houses.
Both God and Kalamakulia seem to desert him when he finds himself swathed in the winter-greened bandages of Veronica's grandfather, incarcerated in her shed. An operation has gone horribly wrong and now Nurse Veronica is closing the distance between his face and hers, playing with his fate as she munches a family pack of Salt and Vinegar crisps....could this be love?