Monday 21st October 2013

A fabulous week for “Tripwire for a Tiger”

This past week has seen an incredible surge of interest in my recent anthology of the writings of my pioneering wildlife photographer and early conservationist grandfather F W Champion OBE FZS IFS.

On Monday, my father Nigel Champion and I were interviewed in the exhibition of my grandfather’s astonishing wildlife photographs, which is currently attracting a lot of interest in the Dumfries Museum, by Willie Johnston, BBC news reporter for southern Scotland. Perhaps the most touching part of this session was when my 85-year-old father was filmed standing next to a photograph of himself as a small boy, firing off a tripwire set for a tiger 81 years earlier.

My father being interviewed standing next to a photograph of himself taken 81 years previously, as he fired a tripwire set for a tiger

On Tuesday evening, I gave a talk on my grandfather’s life and work to the Kirkcudbright Literary Society, held in the historic Broughton House. Around 50 people attended, including one man who arrived carrying copies of both of my grandfather’s two books, With a Camera in Tiger-land (1927) and The Jungle in Sunlight and Shadow (1934), which he asked my father, mother and me to sign for him. The level of interest was extremely high, and I sold around 30 copies of my book, Tripwire for a Tiger, as well as being invited back to tell the story of my incredible journey in my grandfather’s footsteps in India in 2006, and then again to recount the tale of my quest to find the locations where my great grandfather G C Champion did his insect collecting in Guatemala and Panama between 1879 and 1883.

My talk to the Kirkcudbright Literary Society

On Wednesday, Willie Johnston’s video and radio clips were run on the BBC, both on Reporting Scotland, the main Scottish news programme on BBC 1, and throughout the day on BBC Radio Scotland. A clip can be seen below, temporarily only showing a version I managed to capture by filming the television screen using my Samsung Galaxy smartphone – I am still hoping to receive an official copy of the programme from the BBC.

On Thursday, we returned to Dumfries to give another talk, this time to another substantial audience in the Dumfries Museum. Around 40 participants attended, with all seats taken and another 30 or so copies of Tripwire for a Tiger being sold. Special thanks go to Fiona Wilson and her team for organising this wonderful exhibition and event – she had even baked some splendid orange and black striped cakes to complete the tiger theme! The exhibition will continue until 9th November, and will move to the Annan Museum early next year.

All in all, a highly successful week, and there can be no doubt that interest in the book and in the astonishing work of my grandfather is growing by the day. To obtain your copy of the book, please e-mail me with your order.

FWC’s young son Nigel firing a tripwire set for a tiger in 1932

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