Talk for u3a General Meetings

1 Utterly Immoral, Robert Keable and his scandalous novel

2 Tales of 20s Tahiti

Thanks again for an excellent presentation.
Andrew Torrington, St Albans u3a
Thank you for your absolutely fascinating talk on your grandfather yesterday - it was a great story well told, and our members really appreciated it.
Frank Cross, Bookham u3a
What a fascinating talk! Thank you so much for your presentation about your grandfather. I could see everyone enjoyed the talk. It was interestingly illustrated, giving us a very full picture of Robert Keable's packed life. We also were given a picture of opinions at that time. You have obviously done so much research and it really paid off!
Sue Southwood, Merton u3a
Thank you for an excellent talk which clearly sparked much interest - a fascinating story and I will not read Gatsby again in the way which I did previously.
Jock Gardener, Haslemere u3a

Simon is an experienced lecturer at u3a general meetings having already spoken to members of the Amersham, Aylesbury Vale, Beckenham, Bedford, Bookham, Bromley, Buckingham, Chess Valley, Chilterns, Greater Thame, Haselmere, Luton, Lyme Regis, Merton, South Bucks, St Albans, Thame & District, Wonerish and Upminster branches. For details of all future talks and lectures please visit his events page:

Simon is now offering two talks for u3a general meetings.

Utterly immoral, WW1 chaplain Robert Keable and his scandalous novel

In this talk Simon Keable-Elliott discusses Robert Keable’s time as a chaplain during the First World War and the events that led him to write his notorious novel Simon Called Peter. He looks at the critical reception to the novel, the attempts to ban it and the book’s great success. The author’s life was truly extraordinary. As a child he was an evangelical preacher. He won a scholarship to Cambridge, became a priest, worked in Zanzibar and Basutoland as a missionary and gained a reputation as a writer of devotional books. He recruited black labourers to help with the war effort and in 1917 travelled to France as chaplain to the SANLC. Witnessing the appalling racism the men faced ‘changed him’, as well as an affair with a 19 year-old lorry driver called Jolie. He left the church and after a year as a teacher back in England he fled the country to go and live in Tahiti. He continued to write and remained an international celebrity throughout the 1920s.
Simon is Robert Keable and Jolie's grandson. He has been researching Robert Keable’s life and work for the last thirty years. After taking early retirement following 25 years as a politics teacher his first book Utterly Immoral, Robert Keable and his scandalous novel, came out in November 2022.


2 Tales of 20s Tahiti

After experiencing the horrors of the Great War, a number of British and American writers fled the ‘civilised’ world to live on the tropical island of Tahiti. They were drawn by the romance of an island made famous by pre-war visitors Robert Louis Stevenson, Herbert Melville, Paul Gauguin and Rupert Brooke.  What were they running away from, what were they looking for, what did find and why did they stay? In his new talk Simon shines a light on the South Pacific Island and the people who came to stay. He has visited the island, interviewed the children of some of the main figures and gathered together some amazing tales of the time.

If you require any further information, please do email Simon on [email protected] or use the contact page to send a message.