Who am I?
I’m a novelist, but for many years I was a secondary Drama and English teacher. Other than an enduring love affair with my Armenian-born wife Lilit, my passions include books, Australian football, the Adelaide Crows, Australian cricket, theatre, movies and wine. I have an adult son, Jordan. I live with Lilit in the Adelaide Hills, where we run a stall at the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market.
Angel of Aleppo, a Story of the Armenian Genocide
As of May, 2020, my novel Angel of Aleppo, a Story of the Armenian Genocide, is yet to be published, but it has attracted interest and will be in print before too long. Check here – https://www.facebook.com/JonCocksWriting/?modal=admin_todo_tour – for updates and to add your contact details to my planned mailing list.
Angel of Aleppo is a tale of injustice and redemption, desolation and hope, fear and courage, anger, and ultimately, of love. In 1915, 16-year-old Anoush witnesses a Turkish soldier shoot her mother. She and her fellow villagers are evicted from Marash in Anatolia and forced south with others en masse towards Aleppo and the Mesopotamian desert, suffering monstrous cruelty. She helps many diseased and starving Armenians, becoming known as the Angel of Aleppo.
Over the years Anoush’s faith is tested. She knows brief moments of joy but suffers a continued sense of injustice, as a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, who has lost everything, but must find meaning in a world far removed from the ground of her ancestors. Was all her suffering for nothing? Can she find grace to forgive those who kill the innocent, or herd them into the desert at gunpoint?
In 1965, on the 50th anniversary of the Genocide, at the South Australian War Memorial, in her darkest moment, Anoush experiences a revelation, a key to unlock and release her pain.
Despite the twentieth century’s dark emergence of dictators with unprecedented military power, there are very few novels set in the 1915 – 23 Armenian Genocide, its echoes in the modern world, and none that highlight its Australian connection.
Angel of Aleppo throws the Anzac connection with Turkey into a new focus, highlighting the link between the Genocide and the WW1 Anzac experiences: widely known a century ago, but almost unheard-of in recent decades. If you’re moved by injustice and man’s inhumanity towards man, then Angel of Aleppo will speak to you.
Duty of Care
On January 31, 2017, my novella Duty of Care was published by Austin Macauley. It is now registered with the UK’s main book distributors, the key booksellers Amazon (UK and US) and W.H. Smith and Waterstones head office, and the book database Nielsen’s.
Duty of Care, https://www.amazon.com.au/Duty-Care-Jon-Cocks/dp/1786292343, is available to order online.
It is a story of a modern high school in microcosm:
The most “colourful” Year Nines have been removed from Happy Vale High to a five-day Australian bushland Outdoor Education school camp retreat, well away from the all-important Affirmative Education conference. Drama teacher Peter Moon and four colleagues have been assigned as supervision. Peter discovers two suspended stowaways on the bus, who immediately vanish once they reach camp. No phone signal and a cut telephone landline isolate the group from the outside world until the bus returns on Friday. The absence of camp staff rules out Outdoor Education activities. It’s all downhill from there. Peter is tested mentally and physically like never before. He questions again his career choice, but by the end of the week some of the answers he seeks have begun to emerge. One concerns the very essence of what it means to be an educator. Duty of Care asks the question: how much might you care?