Clifden to explore the hidden world of Lawrence of Arabia

New book on TE Lawrence to be launched during arts festival

Augustus John's 1919 portrait of TE Lawrence.

Augustus John's 1919 portrait of TE Lawrence.

TE LAWRENCE, immortalised by Irish actor Peter O'Toole in the epic 1962 film, Lawrence of Arabia, won fame and controversy as a British author, archaeologist, military officer, and diplomat, but he had strong Irish connections.

Lawrence's father, Sir Thomas Robert Tighe Chapman, was from County Westmeath, and was the last of the Chapman baronets of Killua Castle, and it is this background to the young Lawrence's life that has inspired a new book, The Boy in the Mask: The Hidden World of Lawrence of Arabia, by Dick Benson Gyles.

Gyles explores the key to his subject’s Irish identity through the little-known life of the Chapman family who originated in Westmeath. The author’s personal quest, in-depth research, and deft storytelling explores the scandal, intrigue, mystery, and abandonment which lay behind the Lawrence family, as well as Lawrence's various travels

The author is from Plymouth and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where his interest in TE Lawrence arose. He has worked as a sports journalist, archaeologist in Baghdad, and TV documentary presenter.

The book will be launched in the Station House Hotel Theatre, Clifden, on this Saturday, as part of the Clifden Arts Festival. See www.clifdenartsfestival.ie

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