Following a successful career in education and training, Ray Rumsby turned his attention to campaigning and theatre, and his play about the life and work of poet George Crabbe sparked the idea for his first novel. Crabbe's 1810 poem Peter Grimes tells the tragic story of three apprentices ‘farmed out’ from a London workhouse. This led to the creation of Jesse Cloud, a homeless teenager fleeing the workhouse and one of the central characters of The Prentice-Boy.
Ray has also written several articles for academic journals and his work for a national charity led to a PhD. In 2013 Ray began a campaign to rescue a local bookshop scheduled for closure. A group of volunteers formed a new, not-for-profit community bookshop, and Kett’s Books has evolved successfully ever since.