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Tom Anderson rides The Actaeon Tide.

Political cartoonist Mumph, a regular contributor to the Independent, The Times and the Western Mail and creator of upside down children's books, has kindly tweeted an alternative cover for Leighton Andrew's new book Ministering to Education.

But is it an apt likeness? You'll have to come along to one of Leighton's forthcoming talks to decide for yourself.

From Monday 29th September, Leighton will begin a series of talks at several Welsh universities that aim to promote debate in education and offer the inside story on several key decisions and reforms made during his time as Education Minister (2009–2013).

The lectures are held in tandem with publication of the book – the first by a former Welsh Government Minister since the creation of the National Assembly in 1999 – and will consider, following Michael Gove’s departure as Westminster Education Secretary, whether Wales or England has fared better.

Twice named Welsh Politician of the Year during his time as Education Minister (2009–2013), Leighton has been described as “irresponsible and mistaken” by Michael Gove and “the best Education Minister in the UK” by Alistair Campbell.

From the failure to follow through on Richard Daugherty’s report after SATs were abolished to the decision to re-grade exam results when English Language GCSE exams came under fire in 2012 (with information on Ofqual’s comments on Wales, never before made public), the free lectures will consider the effect such decisions have had in setting the education systems of England and Wales on diverging paths, and comment on the complex challenges that still lie ahead to make the Welsh education system as good as any in the world. And there will be time for questions...

Swansea University, Monday 29th September: reception 6pm, Wallace Building foyer, talk from 6.30pm in Wallace Lecture Theatre

Cardiff University, Wednesday 8th October: drinks reception 5.45pm, talk begins at 6.30pm, committee room 1, Glamorgan Building (on campus) 

Bangor University, Thursday 2nd October​, talk 6.30pm,​ Main Arts Lecture Theatre in the Main University Building

Aberystwyth University, Thursday 16th October, 6.30pm talk, Department International Politics Hall

More on Mumph here!

Author's Notes: In the arms of Mother Russia

M.A. Oliver-Semenov’s book Sunbathing in Siberia: A Marriage between East and West reads more like a Cold War spy novel than an autobiography... Here's a snippet from his Author's Notes article on Wales Online:

I thought I had left the developed world to live in a militarised country. Over the past few weeks it seemed the opposite might be true. Jokes aside, though I could understand people’s frustrations at the temporary inconveniences caused by the NATO summit, I was slightly alarmed by the pictures of protesters flying communist flags.

The Scrapbook is a novel about memory, and its unreliability.

And although it was a long time coming for Carly Holmes, she doesn’t intend to stop writing now...

From Friday, 26th September, Soho Theatre’s I Kiss Your Heart will dramatise the love letters of Dylan Thomas, to his American mistress Pearl Kazin, as collected, and published for the first time ever, in the new book by Jeff Towns, A Pearl of Great Price (Parthian, 2014).

In 1950 Dylan embarked on an intense year-long love affair with Pearl. Their love was documented in a collection of passionate letters sent to Pearl from around the world. Only half of their conversation exists, so the other half is created in this unique night of love, letters, poems and songs, at the Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zédel.

Directed by Steve Marmion, Artistic Director of Soho Theatre, I Kiss Your Heart features American cabaret star Amelia Zirin-Brown (Lady Rizo) as Pearl, and Welsh, RSC stalwart Tim Treloar as Dylan, joined by a jazz trio. The music is composed in a collaboration between Yair Evnine and Greg Harradine (Soho Theatre’s composer in Residence).

After years of speculation, Fisk has finally signed a contract with… Parthian Books!

For around 20 years, he believed that one day he would find a letter on his doormat from Cardiff City FC requesting his services on the football pitch. When he realised it was unlikely he was ever going to be offered the role of groundsman, even, he decided perhaps the next best thing would be to write about the club instead, and after an initial approach, he has now accepted Parthian’s offer.

A former member of the not especially notorious non-hooligan gang, The Sad Crew, Fisk has plenty of experience to draw from, in terms of going to football matches, and coming up with ridiculous chants that nobody ever joins in with.

A passionate supporter of the Keep Cardiff Blue campaign, like many other fans, he longs for the day when the Bluebirds no longer play in red, but he is even going to the extreme of outlawing the colour red from his home, and considers the word ‘red’ to be a form of swear word.