Alumni Profile – Jacky King

Jacky King - A Cake for the Gestapo

“I was one of the First 500 and read English and American Literature from 1965 – 1968. It was an extremely innovative course, covering a huge range, unusual in that era when plenty of students at the time were still concentrating on Beowulf.

“There were many highlights of being a student at a brand new university including a completely new building and a massive variety of people form all backgrounds. Paramount of course were the countless parties and fantastic groups: The Dave Clark Five, Manfred Mann, The Kinks, to name but a few. I associate brilliant chart toppers with UKC, such as It’s Good News Week  when we cycled to Dover and back, Hey Mr. Tambourine Man when  trying to learn the guitar, Hey Hey You Get Off of my Cloud at the first all nighter dance, and San Francisco when I was writing my thesis on Paradise Regained, in 1967. I haven’t a clue how I managed to get any work done.

“We were given free tickets to events, once to the Coronation Ballroom in Margate. There was rather a fight there, with the rugby team defending us. Recently, I met an old rocker who was on the other side. He said they were all furious that we had free tickets when they had to work for them and I don’t blame him one bit.

“A memorable time was being wardrobe mistress for our production of Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, which landed me with yards and yards of hessian to be turned into costumes, as well as doublet and hose. Also, we designed floats for Rag Week and someone pushed a piano down the hill into Canterbury for the day. I’d been to a musical school and missed that, but there was a grand piano to play and a madrigal group was formed. We sang our way around the Kent Countryside on summer evenings. In addition, a group of us tried to put together various musical events and I had the fun of singing Papagena in an excerpt of the Magic Flute, and other parts which in a bigger university, with a wider choice of singers. I might not have done.

“The sailing team had six people in it, and I crewed several times, but we were a little hampered as there was only one boat. I think I joined every society going apart from Bridge, and also was a volunteer at the local Barnado home, telling stories to children, and at the South Canterbury hospital. It was a time when it was safe to hitch hike and we travelled that way often – to London, to Whistable and to Dover. It seems naive now.”

Jacky is publishing her debut novel, A Cake for the Gestapo, a middle grade book for children set in Jersey during the first year of the German occupation. This will be released on 2 March 2020! Please click here to view her book!