EPISODE #12

From London to Boston: one man's tale of never losing his Welsh roots

Derek Perkins
  • Studied in Wales, Lived in Wales
  • Boston, USA
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I was born and brought up in South London with a Welsh father and English mother throughout our childhood there was always a high emphasis on Wales and all things Welsh (including our tadcu, a blue-riband national Eisteddfod winner!) which led me and my brothers and me to support the Welsh rugby team from a young age!

The move to Wales...

As a result, I became determined to go to university in Wales and I did! In 1980, I got my degree from UCW Aberystwyth which included studying Welsh for a year (with the same tutor Prince Charles had!)

After graduation, I moved to Swansea where I played rugby with local clubs Gorseinon and Gowerton. I also sang and competed in a National Eisteddfod and toured with Dunvant Male Choir. Then I moved to Cardiff , working for the Welsh Development Agency.

I became determined to go to university in Wales and I did! In 1980, I got my degree from UCW Aberystwyth which included studying Welsh for a year (with the same tutor Prince Charles had!)

The move to the states...

In 1994, an exciting job opportunity with the WDA saw me make the move stateside to Boston to head up their North America operations. In 1998, I left the WDA to start work as Vice President, Sales and Marketing with a local US tech company, moving on to work in senior management positions for other high-tech companies before becoming a consultant for a few years.

It was years later, in 2015, that I made the decision to make a huge career change and moved into audiobook narration full-time! It's turned out to be the best, most enjoyable job I've ever had! I've been proud to win numerous nominations and awards since then, including an Audie (the audiobook world's equivalent of an Oscar).

So far I've narrated over 350 books, including two with specific Welsh content - a wonderful Merlin trilogy by Mary Stewart and a lovely Under Milk Wood-type novel about a South Wales mining village by Vanessa Gebbie.

I try and get back to Wales about once a year and though the weather is usually much wetter than Boston, the warmth of the welcome from friends and family always more than compensates!

 

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