My Books

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Joined-Up Thinking (Pan Macmillan 2008) Paperback Hardback Expanded ebook (2016)

Ever had the sneaking suspicion that everything in the world is connected in some small, secret way?

What have Douglas Adams, Schrödinger’s Cat and the Vicar of Dibley got in common? What is the link between the Sex Pistols and crude oil? And between Isaac Newton, Pink Floyd and a suicidal dwarf?

Joined-Up Thinking takes the British love of trivia to a whole new level, brilliantly linking obscure but fascinating facts in a dizzying game of ‘six degrees of separation’. Each chapter begins with a bizarre fact, spins off on a weird and wonderful journey of hidden connections and, with a final flourish, brings the loop full circle.

Along the way you’ll discover Scooby Doo’s real name, be shocked by the ultimate weight-loss diet of the 1920s, and find out how to hypnotise a chicken (or indeed how to give one a heart massage, depending on your mood). You’ll discover why giant sloths, Christopher Columbus and avocados are mysteriously linked; and why you might think twice the next time you’re offered a dip of guacamole …

At once funny, wonderfully entertaining and genuinely surprising, Joined-Up Thinking is proof, if proof were needed, that there really is no such thing as a coincidence.

‘I found myself fascinated and somewhat dizzy. Most impressive’ – Stephen Fry

 ‘Dizzily intriguing’The Bookseller

‘Quite simply the best way to spend time when not shopping, sleeping or preparing food’ – Tony Hawks (author of Around Ireland with a Fridge)

 ‘This is not a stocking filler – this is a real book. Buy several copies and keep one’ – Daily Telegraph

‘He connects each piece of his puzzle in a concise, chatty, easy to follow, even logical, manner. Colgan has the knack of making it all sound intensely fascinating’ – New Zealand Herald

‘Stevyn Colgan has a theory; everything in the world can be connected through “six degrees of information”. Trying to prove it takes us up some strange alleys but his engaging style means we don’t get stuck down the road of intellectual whimsy’ – Maxim

 


Henhwedhlow: The Clotted Cream of Cornish Folktales (Kowethas 2010) Paperback

‘Long before the Dark Ages and long, long before the Pitch Black Ages, there was a time called the Dim Ages when unbelievably stupid Giants lumbered across the Cornish landscape …’

Eight traditional Cornish folk tales are brought bang up to date for 21st century children. You’ll meet myopic mermaids and evil nuns, rubbish witches and mischievous piskys. The book comes in a dual language format with all of the stories in both English and Cornish (with translation by Cornish bard Tony Hak) to make learning the language fun. It is, to date, the biggest collection of original modern Cornish prose in existence.

‘All power to Stevyn Colgan and his project to preserve Cornish myth, legend and song. Who knows; as a result some Penzance Wagner may write the Cornish Ring Cycle and won’t the world be pleased? There’s more to Cornwall than Padstow, pasties and “Piss off you grockles” and Colgan is doing the ancient kingdom a great service.’ – Stephen Fry

‘Jumping from the 19th to the 21st century, Stevyn Colgan is taking an essential element of our Cornish culture and bringing it bang up-to-date.’ – Bard Howard Curnow

 ‘The best book I’ve ever seen for helping you to learn the Cornish language or practice reading it. Brilliant fun too’ – Cornish Voice

 ‘The best bilingual English/Cornish book out there, wonderful stories, great for learners of the Cornish Language, and for English speakers who want to read good Cornish stories’ – An Tala

 


 

Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope (Unbound 2013) Paperback Hardback

There is a connection between Buffalo Bill and Les Misérables. Chess has a connection with H. G. Wells’ s martians … if you know where to look. The trainers on your feet can be connected to the Greek goddess of victory, who is connected to an ingredient used in making Absinthe, which is connected to the voice of Dangermouse’s assistant Penfold, who is …

Everything really is connected.

In this book, ex-London bobby and QI elf Stevyn Colgan takes you on a series of circular journeys through a world of connections embracing science, art, history and popular culture. You’ll learn why dipsticks upset the Nazis, how to turn Superman gay, why it would be easy to catch a bank robbing koala, and how a brand of foot powder came to be voted mayor of a village in Ecuador.

Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope® offers you an entertaining glimpse into the hidden links between all things and challenges you to find new connections of your own.

A sequel to Joined-Up Thinking.

‘This is a crazy and highly informative look at how random facts can be linked together to form a comical mass. Stevyn Colgan is one of the QI elves so expect the kind of tangents found in the QI books and show. It’s a really hard book to review, but is very, very funny and packed full of fascinating little nuggets.’ – Waterstones Review

‘Basically the premise is that all facts and trivia are connected. Kinda like the Kevin Bacon Game where each actor is connected to Bacon by some small link, this book has facts connected to each other in a circle so the fact you begin with is also the fact you end with. Clever, right? Well that’s just the beginning! Not only are the facts very intelligent and probably things only super nerds would know, they are presented in a really fun and accessible way that really sticks the information in your mind. Written by a QI elf, you’d expect nothing less than an entertaining but insightful look at apparently meaningless trivia and this book delivers that in spades.’ – Bookreads Review

 


The Third Condiment (de Lune 2015) Paperback

When Wixley de Lune was asked to root out a suspected industrial spy among the staff at his pickles company, he couldn’t have anticipated the rollercoaster ride he was about to take. His subsequent annus horribilis – captured in this book in the form of a diary – saw him discover an alternative universe in a garbage bin, tame the world’s largest mouse, write profiles for robot dating sites, and have his bowel turned into a squat for imps. He would uncover a secret plot to take over the world, and the fate of humanity would be decided by a small terrier, a greasy snowman and a pigeon called David Reynolds. And Wixley would become King of the Moon. THE THIRD CONDIMENT is a surreal comic novel in the grand British tradition forged by acts such as Monty Python, Reeves and Mortimer and The Mighty Boosh.

 


Colgeroons (El Cheapo 2015) A4 Paperback

A colouring book with a difference. A collection of cartoons by author, artists, songwriter and QI elf Stevyn ‘Colgers’ Colgan. Colour them in and that.

 


Saving Bletchley Park (with Dr Sue Black) (Unbound 2016) Hardback

Imagine a Britain where the most important sites of historical significance are replaced with housing estates and supermarkets …

Imagine a Britain without Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing and a team of codebreakers changed the course of World War II and where thousands of women inspired future generations with their work in the fields of computing and technology…

Now imagine a group of extraordinary people, who – 70 years after the birth of the modern computer at Bletchley Park – used technology to spark a social media campaign that helped secure its future and transform it into the world-class heritage and education centre it deserves to be.

This is a story about saving Bletchley Park.

But it is also the story of the hundreds of people who dedicated 20 years of hard work and determination to the campaign that saved it. It is a testament to the remarkable and mysterious work during World War II that made it a place worth saving. It is a book about campaigners, veterans, enthusiasts, computer geeks, technology, Twitter, trees and Stephen Fry stuck in a lift.

And finally, it is a story about preserving the past for the generations of tomorrow.

 


Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road? (Unbound 2016) Hardback

Can lollipops reduce anti-social behaviour? Or wizards halt street gambling? Do fake bus stops protect pensioners? Will organising a dog show stop young people killing each other? Stevyn Colgan believes that the answer to all of those questions is ‘Yes’. Packed with fascinating anecdotes and important questions, this astonishing book reveals the innovative and imaginative ways Colgan tried to prevent crime during his thirty years on the police force.

Colgan worked for twelve of those years as part of a unique team called The Problem Solving Unit. With no budget and laughable resources, they were given an extraordinary brief – to solve problems of crime and disorder that wouldn’t respond to traditional policing. They were told they could try anything as long as it wasn’t illegal, wasn’t immoral, wouldn’t bring the police into disrepute, and didn’t cost very much.

With amusing, insightful and sometimes controversial approaches to problem solving, Colgan mixes personal anecdotes from his time on the force with real-world examples of how The Problem Solving Unit helped build communities and prevent recurring crime.

At its core, this book’s message is simple: police should direct far more effort towards preventing crime before it happens rather than solving crime after it has happened.

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