Croydon-based author Percy Mark has published a book based on his relationship with his granddaughter and his childhood in Austria.

Lanya - in conversation with her grandpa on her inner journey consists of four fictional conversations between Lanya and her grandfather, taking place over 18 years of Lanya's life.

The story begins with the pair on a train journey to Vienna for Lanya's 15th birthday, where they discuss God and religion.

Royston Crow: Author Percy MarkAuthor Percy Mark (Image: Courtesy of Percy Mark)

Later, when Lanya is 26 and working as a baker, the conversation continues as she drives her grandfather up to the Midlands, and they explore how the meaning of the word 'soul' and how the soul can be sensed within daily life.

Next - in grandpa's garden - they explore the difference between meditation and prayer, and how we can find the courage to bring children into this endangered world.

Finally, with Lanya in her early 30s, they continue their conversation via email during Covid restrictions, seeking answers to what they perceive as the most pressing questions of the day.

Author Percy Mark was born in Austria in 1936, the second eldest of 11 siblings, and came to England at the age of 14.

He qualified as an architect in 1959, and designed a cathedral for Monrovia in Liberia before spending 18 months in Nigeria. 

Royston Crow: Lanya by Percy MarkLanya by Percy Mark (Image: Olympia Publishers)

While spending six months in Gabon with theologian and philosopher Dr Albert Schweitzer from 1962 to 1963, he met and became engaged to Vreni Mark Burkhalter.

Back in the UK, Percy became a partner at Melvin Lansley and Mark architectural practice during the 1970s and 80s.

In 1995, he took over as chair of the charity Dr Schweitzer's Hospital Fund, supporting projects in India, Tanzania and the UK.


Percy's son James succeeded him in 2016 as chair of the charity - now called 'Reverence for Life UK', allowing Percy to focus on translating Dr Schweitzer's work and writing books about his worldview.

Lanya was inspired by Percy's conversations with his granddaughter Emilie.

The book is available to buy at Bow Books in Angel Pavement, Royston, as well as from online retailers, and will be in other bookshops shortly.