Candidate Profile

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EXPERTISE
Author / Writer
Criminology & Law Enforcement
History - General
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH:
BIOGRAPHY
Jim comes to lecturing with a background as a formerly practising barrister, a lawyer in the international construction industry and an internationally published author of thirteen novels and two non-fiction works. One of the novels, The Hitler Diaries, caused a sensation when it was published nine months before the famous forgery scandal. Another was nominated for the Booker Prize.

What the newspapers have said:
"the author journalists read for their next scoop" - Sunday Telegraph
"Sparkling and utterly charming" - Mail on Sunday
"extraordinarily witty and assured" - Evening Standard
"seriously good...technically brilliant" - Times Literary Supplement


Among his fifteen minutes of fame, Jim has featured in a double page centre spread in the Daily Mail, a TV interview with Frank Delaney, and as one half of the well-reviewed duo, "The Williams Brothers World Tour", at the Buxton and Lymm Festivals. In addition to cruise lecturing, he is a popular lecturer with U3A, the Womens' Institute and various lecture societies.

Jim has a specialist knowledge of the history and practices of charlatans: the frauds and colourful characters who manage to persuade other people to believe in the most improbable things. Indeed he wrote a book on the subject, How to Be a Charlatan, which is illustrated with amusing examples from the great charlatans of history. With this general background, he speaks entertainingly about both the ideas and the people involved in the field, whether it be wittily explaining the Flat Earth Theory or the lively history of the Life and Times of Casanova.

Jim speaks French and German and has useful Spanish and some Italian. He is knowledgeable in the arts and history. Shirley is a consultant in social work management, and they have been married forty-seven years. They have relaxed, engaging manners, and they are both accomplished social dancers, happy to dance with complete strangers and practised at putting other people at their ease

JIM WILLIAMS LECTURES
PRÉCIS OF JIM WILLIAMS’ LECTURES
Contact jim.williams@ntlworld.com

1. TROY AND ATLANTIS – GREAT MEDITERRANEAN MYSTERIES
The two great mysteries of 19th century Mediterranean archaeology were the truth behind the legends of Troy and Atlantis. This lecture compares the attempts to solve them both. It explains how a German businessman pursued his dream and uncovered the remains of ancient Troy, and how a Greek philosopher and a Minnesota politician have convinced many people that Atlantis exists. Powerpoint.

2. CASANOVA – THE GREAT ITALIAN LOVER
Giacomo Casanova is the great lover and adventurer, whose wit, intelligence and daring made him famous in 18th century Europe. This lecture follows his extraordinary career and describes the world in which he lived. It is populated by outrageous characters including a lecherous cardinal, a cross-dressing French diplomat, and the remarkable Count of St. Germain who was believed to be immortal and to have the power of making diamonds. Powerpoint

3. HOW TO SELL THE EIFFEL TOWER
In the aftermath of World War I, “Count” Viktor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower – twice! This lecture is a light hearted history of some of the classic frauds, including the sale of various national monuments, the Big Store fraud made famous in The Sting, the Spanish Prisoner scam, and the Living Brazilian Invisible Fish. Powerpoint.

4. THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK – A MYSTERY OF 17TH CENTURY FRANCE
During the reign of the great Louis XIV a strange figure, whose face was always hidden behind a velvet or iron mask and who was forbidden to speak to others, was moved from prison to prison in France and Italy. His identity was so secret that he was guarded always by the same jailer. Who was he and what had he done? This lecture discusses a mystery that remains unsolved to this day. Powerpoint

5. MICHAELANGELO – AND OTHER GREAT FORGERS
Is the Mona Lisa a fake? Was Michaelangelo a forger? Did Andrea del Sarto knock-off a copy of Raphael to cheat the Duke of Mantua? These and other crimes are reviewed among other great artistic and literary forgeries, culminating with a revelation of the speaker’s personal role in the great Hitler Diaries scam.

6. CHARLATANS, FRAUDS & FOOLS – or How Intelligent People Will Believe Stupid Things
Based on the speaker’s researches for his study of charlatans, this lecture explains the two basic rules for being a charlatan: namely that no idea is so stupid that no one will believe it; and that nobody is immune to the wiles of charlatans and frauds. The lessons are illustrated with a humorous account of the modern belief in the Flat Earth, and how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was convinced of the existence of fairies. Powerpoint.

7. THE FIRST GREAT CREDIT CRUNCH – or: How bankers and politicians took the public for a ride in the year 1720
In 1720 London, Paris and Amsterdam were swept by wave of speculation that ended in a disastrous credit crunch. This lecture explains how the scheme was deliberately contrived by a group of financial speculators and corrupt politicians. Despite being 300 years old, it is a surprisingly modern and entertaining story about human nature. Powerpoint.

8. MONKEY BUSINESS – THE PILTDOWN MAN HOAX
This lecture gives the background to the famous Piltdown Man hoax including its origins, the uncovering of the fraud and a discussion of whodunit. Powerpoint

9. HOW TO BE A CHARLATAN AND MAKE MILLIONS
Do you want to abuse other people for money, sex and power? This cynical and immoral lecture teaches you how. It contains valuable lessons such as “How to kill your customers and not feel bad about it”. And – just possibly – you may learn how to avoid charlatans. This lecture is speech with or without Powerpoint.

10. TANGO IN MADEIRA
Visit Madeira in the 1920s at the height of the Jazz Age. Dine and dance the tango at Reid’s Palace hotel in the company of an Irish playwright, an exiled emperor, and a lady crime novelist. Learn some interesting facts about the tango and how pure chance may lead an author to write a novel. Powerpoint.

11. GREAT IMPOSTERS
People are often reluctant to believe that famous or important people have really died – think of Elvis for example. This lecture gives an account of the careers of a number of great imposters. It includes the false claimants to the English throne after the Wars of the Roses, the enigmatic German boy, Kaspar Hauser, and how a fat butcher from Wapping convinced many people that he was an English aristocrat and heir to a great fortune. Powerpoint.

12. THE ENGLISH LADY MURDERERS’ SOCIETY
This is a mini master class touching on some of the key aspects of writing novels. In a mixture of explanation and readings, the Speaker tells of his career as a professional novelist and answers the question that is invariably posed to authors: Where do writers get their ideas from? The lecture also traces how an author may use a motif – in this instance that of “dance” – to achieve different effects within the same book and explains the meaning of the maxim that authors should write about what they know. The readings are from The English Lady Murderers’ Society, a comic novel about a group of middle-aged women living the ex-pat life in a southern French village. This lecture is speech only and especially suited to a small group.

13. A MESSAGE TO THE CHILDREN
Have you investigated your family history only to wish that your ancestors had left a memoir? Have you tried to write your own autobiography but been overwhelmed by the task? The Speaker has developed an easy method for writing autobiography that has inspired and helped ordinary people to set down the story of their lives. In this lecture he explains his method and illustrates it with readings that are both funny and, occasionally, touching. This lecture is speech only.

14. THE PURSUIT OF THE HOLY GRAIL OF WRITING
All (sensible) writers are searching for “the breakthrough book” that will bring their name to the public and provide a life of wealth, fame and the company of attractive members of the opposite sex. And – alas – most are doomed to failure. This is an autobiographical lecture detailing the highs and lows of the speaker’s career through involvement in the Hitler Diary scandal, a sequel to Doctor Zhivago, and a shot at the Booker Prize. The audience is invited to boo and cheer at appropriate – and inappropriate – places. This lecture is speech only.
CRUISE HISTORY / EXPERIENCE
4 cruises with Fred Olsen. Good reports from cruise directors. The lectures were sufficiently appreciated that they have led to numerous speaking engagements on-shore for WI, U3A and various lecture societies.
RECENT PAST CRUISES COMPLETED
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
SHIP REF CRUISE DESCRIPTION NIGHTS SAILING FROM DEPARTURE DATE
Braemar M1609 French River Cruising 9 Dover Saturday, April 16, 2016