dunno – now to be filmed

From Essex County Standard – August 14th 2014

Teacher inspired me… now I’m making a movie of his novel

Randal Plunkett & Dunsany Castle
Randal Plunkett & Dunsany Castle

A MERSEA Island headteacher turned author is to have his debut novel turned into a film by an Irish peer he once inspired.

Randal Plunkett was a teenager struggling with dyslexia when Peter Inson started teaching him English at the Institut Le Rosey, in Switzerland.

Around 12 years later, the 21st Lord Dunsany has agreed to make dunno, a short novel about Jon, a troubled teenager who finds the mentor he needs to get on track.

“Peter was a really fun teacher – he took the time, went beyond the call of duty and really helped me with my dyslexia.”

Randal’s great-grandfather Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany, was an author whose fantasy stories influenced JRR Tolkien, Arthur C Clarke and Neil Gaiman, among others. After two years at college, Randal went to a college in Oxford before learning the ropes of filmmaking on dozens of productions. Meanwhile, Peter retired to East Mersea and began a second career as a novelist, publishing dunno, in 2004.

By chance, they bumped into each other online and began chatting. Randal said: “I found out he’d started writing and I’d started doing films. “He sent me his book, I read it and thought there was something there.

“Peter has such an understanding of young people, which I don’t think many of the other people in his field have. Sometimes books and films get it and sometimes they don’t.
“That’s one of the reasons the book works so well – everything from the dialogue to the way the character deals with problems is so accurate.

“It’s also straight to the point – that’s why I think it’s going to make a good film, because it fits a 90-minute cinema platform.”

dunno, features Jon, a 15-yearold boy who does not get on well with his mother and who is embarking on a life of petty crime until he meets a mentor who puts him straight.

Despite their differing backgrounds, Randal felt a kinship with the lead character.

“The character arc is also good – the boy finds a sort of purpose in life and I thought that was very nice. “The difference between myself and Jon in the book is that Jon didn’t have a teacher like Peter.”

“It’s very exciting and I think it’s going to make a great movie. Production could start in autumn 2015.”

Listen to Peter interviewed about the film by Dave Monk on BBC Radio Essex

Listen to excerpts from the book read by BBC Children’s TV presenter, Fred Harris.

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