To the Officers of Wales Literature Exchange:
[We have also sent this letter to others to whom it could be of interest.]
That you should facilitate the author Jim Perrin’s ‘advertisement’ for his book West via your video link is very shocking to us. We have proved beyond doubt that he has in this book — which he says is autobiographical — lied; lie upon lie. Jac’ sisters (she is the main character in the book) felt the necessity to record the facts: to tell the real story of her short relationship with a man she had come to fear and from who she had planned to separate. In fact she died, and this too early death from her cancer allowed Jim Perrin to take carte blanche.
It is a fact that whilst undergoing her chemotherapy our sister filled in forms for the DHSS in order to regain her financial independence — lost because of her illness — and to tell him to go from her home: so determined was she to have done with him!
This book, irrespective of its ‘style’, is padded with unreliable ‘quotations’ and ‘false memory’ so far as our sister is concerned as well as sophistic falsehood. Jac’s ‘Welsh’ sister has spoken with Dr. Sioned Puw Rowlands on more than one occasion to explain this to her, and she was told that Jim Perrin was to be listed for discussion on the agenda of a meeting at the end of July 2011.
We wonder, can it really be appropriate in view of the author’s (evidentially proved) appalling behaviour to our sister in her life-time, and his ‘use’ of her after her death, that you should continue to promote him so? And that you allow him to use your video link to promote himself? He is doing nothing more than advertising this ‘travesty’ of a book under your auspices and we cannot help but feel you could be thought in some way culpable in allowing him to do so, since you have been informed of the facts relating to the circumstances.
If Jim Perrin had not attacked us under the alias ‘Melangell’ last year, on The Guardian thread following Sir Andrew Motion’s review of West, there is every possibility that we would have remained unaware and we would not then perhaps have pursued the matter. But ‘s/he’ raised ever more points and untruths on that thread until we felt the need to reply. Our first comment, which the author caused to be removed, explained that our sister was not his wife, would not be so and that she intended to break with him. Thereafter it became clear that he would try by any means to prevent the truth being made known.
We had at that point not even read West, only two articles by him and two reviews, which alerted us to his lies. We were losing the skirmish with ‘Melangell’ (JP?) and, advised and helped by friends, we set up our site www.jacssisters.org. It was then that Jac’s sister telephoned Wales Literature Exchange and spoke to Dr. Rowlands whom she told of our site and of our reasons for it. Francesca Rhydderch had forwarded to Dr. Rowlands the general letter of information which we had posted to her, and Dr. Rowlands said she was aware of our site.
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In jacssisters we have been truthful throughout and we have exposed how Jim Perrin, fearless of the consequences, shamelessly lies. We believe he is quite unscrupulous.
(Incidentally, he is not of Welsh family background at all. He does not have the Welsh ancestry he had constantly claimed over the years.)
He is not dying of ‘Terminal Lung Cancer’ and he lied, pages 149 and 302 of West, and in many interviews. In our opinion, it was merely as a play for sympathy. Many seem to have been taken in and now, perhaps, they are willing to accept the feeble ‘reason’ for his present apparently healthy state — that he was ‘misdiagnosed’… A mind which can conceive this particular lie and so consistently and convincingly elaborate upon it is surely that of an arch-manipulator, and, it is our absolute belief, that of an exceptionally disturbed person. (We have evidence that he has also done this in the past: then he was claiming to be suffering, and would doubtless die, from ‘liver cancer’.)
And he was not — and this to us is the most unworthy lie of all — at our sister’s bedside when she died*: he had left her alone, the day before, and returned hours after her death despite as, he wrote: ‘her vital signs were fading away’! The lies he has written about it are unforgiveable; the fact that he left her in the hospital at the end shows how supremely callous he is capable of being. He was not the love of her life: she grew to fear him, as we said, and intended to end the relationship. That he should be still peddling his story, and that people are still being deceived by Jim Perrin is iniquitous. He has power — we cannot know how he gains it — over those who seem almost to blinker themselves: to dismiss what is proved to be his really wicked behaviour and to allow him to profit by his falsehoods — even to flourish at the expense of the Welsh taxpayer.
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The truth is that he has simply used our sister as source-material; he had told her at one point that he would leave her (when she was within only months of her death), and he certainly knew she was not happy with him. The book is not sincere: how can a book based on lies be so? He is not sincere. Since our sister died, ‘the love of his life’ — he, oh-so-grief-stricken — there are two (later note, four at least) young women in Wales in your literary world, who we are sure will be known to you (who have been hurt, abused or embezzled by this man)**** and there were many others before he was with our sister. Do these details not matter? How can it be that he continues amongst you unscathed? How can women still support him?
But: he is so utterly convincing to those who cannot believe any wrong of him; his woes are always brought about by the fault of others… Yet in our opinion he is a serial abuser of a certain type of vulnerable young woman and to our astonishment we have been contacted, via our site, by several such women who have felt, at last, able to tell someone. Separating each of his relationships — compartmentalising them — each partner believes at first they are ‘the only one’ but later they grow to fear him and that he will in some way harm them (as he has tried to do). We know this to be the case as we have been told the details by some of the women he has treated in this way.
We, as he may suggest if asked — in explanation or justification — are not lying, exaggerating or over-reacting; the grief we feel for our sister is much gentler with the passage of years. Our indignation however that this man should have so abused her memory is based on a sense of justice, not vindictiveness, and when we began to write our posts we had no idea that others besides our sister had suffered: it seems that when he moves on he leaves a legacy of emotional trauma.
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A member of The Observer editorial team wrote to say ‘he [JP] can’t be allowed to get away with it’ in 2005. This was after Roger Alton, who claimed ‘he knew Jim well’, refused to publish our family’s rebuttal of the phrase ‘Wife, lover and friend of forty years’ — which was a complete fabrication. This was prior to the book’s publication in 2010 — if only we had known…
We would like to think that to be fair you had read our site, as it was pointed out to you, although it has by now become rather lengthy and therefore time-consuming for those whose time is precious: so we do understand that you may have been unaware of some of the points we have mentioned — or thought our posts to be of no significance. Please though accept that we are not, despite any impression you may have taken from our letter to you, strange or hysterical — as we are told Jim Perrin says of us — or, as he wrote, ‘bent on trashing him’. We intend to show that what he wrote of our sister in West is, for the most part, flagrant exploitation. Because he writes so convincingly he is believed. Because he is a fixture in your ‘establishment’, so to speak, he ‘must’ be trusted…
Although, there are some who begin to realise that all is not well. Sarah Norman, his editor at Atlantic Books, told us ‘[she] had grave misgivings’ after she had read our posts, and we know that his former agent, having also read jacssisters site, chooses no longer to act for him; nevertheless, he continues to charm. It would seem that for some reason no-one will stand up to him — as we once said: ‘Who Will Bell The Cat?’
In a post: ‘An Open Letter… ’ we wrote (when we learned that his book was being considered for an award**) ‘We have proof of his disregard for the truth… we feel that this shows a supreme arrogance — and not, surely, the honesty and integrity which should be values embraced by any institution, literary or otherwise.’ And when we wrote to ‘Amazon’ recently concerning very offensive comments about our site which (backed by circumstantial evidence) we were confident had been posted by Jim Perrin — this time using not ‘Melangell’ as an alias but ‘Liz’ — their team examined them and using their own judgement, deleted them entirely.
We do know that Jim Perrin is a particularly ‘creative and inventive writer’. He wrote an ‘anonymous letter’*** to our late sister’s landlord in order to attempt to cause her children to lose their family home: his literary ‘gift’ is quite considerable…
In West we believe this author has over-reached himself and abused his talent: as well, we have been told by the publisher, Toby Mundy, that the book has not achieved good sales. It should not, we feel, be allowed the oxygen of further publicity, rather it should be left to dwindle away.
May we conclude by asking you, most earnestly, and given all the circumstances, to consider removing the video in question from your site?
‘Signed’: Elisabeth Simpson. (For Jac’s sisters.) @ www.jacssisters.org
** To our great relief, this dishonest book did not win — and adding, Jim Perrin might have thought, Insult to Injury, considering it was an award given by his long-established associates who had previously supported him unequivocally — it was not even long-listed…
NB. 18.11.2012. ‘Literature Wales’ is still allowing the deliberate falsehood to stand that Jim Perrin was ‘born to a Denbighshire family’, ref. our post Jim Perrin’s Family Background. They are not now unaware…
Neither, as described on their site, was his so–called ‘frank and autobiographical introduction’ to ‘The Climbing Essays’ ‘frank’ or ‘autobiographical’, so far as Jac was concerned. Rather, we have shown how he lied about her and their ‘past history’. The video we mentioned has not been removed from their site but, on reflection, we feel it is perhaps useful for readers of ‘character’ to see Jim Perrin ‘in action’, bearing in mind all that is now recorded about him…
**** A much later note, added in 2018 . We feel, in this context, and as time has passed, that to mention here one young woman who tragically died in 2012, Sara Lee Branch, is not without relevance… and we would like to express our most sincere sympathy to those who loved her. Jac’s sisters.