|Newsletter No. 587
|Frankfurt Book Fair
6th to 10th October, 2003
6th: It was a superb dinner last night. Cathy Monnet produces an endive
and blue cheese salad, followed by a buf bourguignon and tagliatelli,
and ending with an orange rum cake. There are 34 men and 27 women for
a grand total of 61 happy and well-fed individuals. Today is a busy day.
Jeanette Aster will arrive from Holland and Howard Aster will drive up
from their country dacha near Dijon. Cathy is producing 10 rough proof
copies of Cooking for 100 - Dinner at Jim's in Paris for me to take tomorrow
to the Book Fair and which I must collect sometime this evening. There
is also a Jeff Berner photographic exhibition opening at Le Fou en l'ile
this evening. And Antonia and I are scheduled to dine together tonight.
It all comes to pass. Jeanette
arrives, then Howard. After we gossip, they go for a walk. I go in the
rain on the 38 bus to St. Michel, purchase an umbrella, walk past Shakespeare
& Co, and continue to the rue de Deux Ponts and the vernissage. The
place is packed. It is difficult to see the exhibition. I will have to
return and get a closer look when I get back from Frankfurt. Talk with
David Turner, Bill Dunlap and a few friends. Am happy to see that Barbara
Michelson has arrived from San Francisco for Jeff's show. Ed Flaherty
is videotaping and interviewing people. I have to collect the ten proof
copies from Cathy, so slip out.
Walk to the Right Bank, find
a taxi and am soon delivered to rue de Hauteville in the 10eme. Cathy
has done, as expected, a wonderful job. I hope I will find a publisher
and have a successful time in Frankfurt at the Book Fair.
Metro to Chatelet and make
my way to the Zimmer. Try to call my home to see if Jeanette and Howard
might like to join us for dinner. Get my answering machine. Antonia arrives
and she is as pleased with what Cathy has done as I am.
After our feast, drop Antonia
at her home and continue to the 14eme. Learn from a friend and Anna that
they met and that they like Jeanette and Howard. Also learn that the Asters
have just gone to the cave to sleep. I go upstairs, set the alarm for
6.30 and dive into bed.
7th: Up at the crack of dawn, make a large pot of coffee, shave, wash,
dress. Howard and Jeanette begin to show signs of life. Quickly pack in
Anna Skochilenko's suitcase. After coffee, say goodbyes to Anna and Lucia
Bobacheva. Ira Okuneva sleeps. We walk to the rue Bezout, load the car
and head out in the morning traffic for Porte d'Orleans and the autoroute
to Metz. Somehow we make a wrong turning and end up on the way South to
Orly and Lyon. At a petrol station, the tank is filled, and we are re-directed
to Créteil and the autoroute to Metz. It's rain, rain and more
rain all the way. I am not a happy passenger at the best of times, but
Howard is an excellent driver. The two of us chat away about lots of things.
Howard wants to publish a Festschrift honouring yours truly. He would
like to publish it in August 2005 to coincide with my 50th Edinburgh Festival
(and 38th Frankfurt Book Messe). Howard asks who might be appropriate
to co-edit. I suggest some possibilities: John Calder, Kyle Roderick,
John Flattau, Ernie Eban, Michael Shea and Scott Griffith.
We make our first stop just
south of Frankfurt at 13.30 for some coffee. About 14.00 hours, we pull
into the Messe. Inside Hall 8 one cannot believe the Fair will be ready
to open tomorrow morning. Howard and Jeanette begin to set up the Mosaic
Stand. I go for a walkabout and encounter Jaco Groot's assistant, Elsbeth
Louis. She tells me that Jaco is setting up his De Harmonie Stand and
that they are located in Row C922. Visit with Jaco who is always a joy
and a constant source of inspiration. He tells me that he is printing
1,000,000 copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. And that
he has just re-printed the Dutch poet, Hans Tentije. Jaco printed a first
edition of 500 copies of Wat het licht doet and now he is re-printing
another 500 copies. As expected, learn that Elisabeth Groot is not attending
the Fair again this year. Give Jaco Cooking for 100 - Dinner at Jim's
in Paris. He asks how many copies have I brought to the Fair. I reply
"Ten". Jaco asks if I seek ten publishers. I reply that one
would be nice.
Brief hello to Lorraine Fannin
at the Scottish Publishers Association Stand. Encounter Roy Read and he
tells me that Helen is at the Guardian Stand in E928. Walk there to give
Helen a warm embrace. Discover they have a large stand. Maybe double the
size of last year's. Helen says that Mylène Sylvestre arrives tomorrow.
Also if I need to store anything or wish a place to sit and read, that
I am welcome. Learn also that today is Roy's birthday. It is also Desmond
Tutu's. Collect two copies of today's Guardian and deliver one to Jaco.
Take the other copy to Howard's Stand. I am introduced to his neighbor,
Dr. Mansoor Marican. It seems they met years ago in Vancouver. Mansoor's
company is called Mecron. He lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Mansoor
cannot set up his Stand because his luggage has not arrived yet. Maybe
it is waiting at his hotel. (It is!)
After Howard has finished fixing
his books (and I have stored some items), we ride to Marburger Strasse
and manage to find a parking place. Call Hilton de la Hunt via my mobile
and learn he is at home waiting for our arrival. A walk of less than 100
meters and we are buzzed inside. Coffee is produced. I use Hilton's phone
and call Angelika's bookshop, Shutt. She is not there but expected shortly.
Call Monika Rosenkranz and her beautiful daughter, Lilli, answers. Monika
is not home until late tonight. Howard feels like a walk, so the two of
us stroll to Arnsburger Strasse 76. Angelika is still not in the shop.
Howard departs and I go across to a café and have a hot chocolate
and some Scottish shortbread.
Later back at the bookshop,
Angelika arrives with Marc Furstenberg. We go into the back courtyard
bookshop and Angelika breaks out a bottle of wine. She tells us that she
plans to move all the books downstairs and to create a salon in this space.
It is a fantastic space. Frankfurt is about to have a new social and performance
space. Lucky Frankfurt. I look forward to next October to seeing what
she is able to create. Learn that the Titanic party will also be Thursday
night in the Künstlerkeller. When I mention that I forgot to bring
a bottle of good wine from Paris for my hosts, Angelika produces one and
tells me to give it to them. How kind and generous. She and Mark are going
for dinner, so we three walk the short distance to the U-bahn line 4.
They get out somewhere on the way and I continue to the end of the line.
It's a short walk to Sophienstrasse. Erich buzzes me inside.
Warm embraces for him and for
Brigitte. We three sit in the living room and talk about their recent
trip to Portugal. We discuss Tanya and Carsten Hansen and all three lament
the fact that they will not be coming to the Messe this year. But Martin
Lehberger and their Berlin friend, Klaus, will attend. Brigitte asks if
I would like dinner at home or out at a restaurant. I suggest we dine
out. She says OK, but that she will cook for us tomorrow night.
We go to a new Italian restaurant
called Mezzanotte that is a short walk from their apartment. We have a
feast: Tagliatelli with mushrooms followed by a delicious fish dish cooked
in salt. The proprietor is from Madrid. He exudes warmth and charm. I
try to pay but Erich and Brigitte will not let me. Back to the apartment
8th: Brigitte brings two cups of coffee to me in bed. One is made
with her new expresso machine. It's pure jet fuel. But delicious. She
also insists I borrow a warm jacket because I forgot to bring one from
Paris. Brigitte puts on the BBC-World television and we learn that Arnold
Schwarzenegger is the new Governor of California. Quickly shave, shower
and shampoo. Slowly walk to the Fair in the morning sunshine. First stop:
the Russian Stands. Bump into Vladimir Stabnikov. He and I met in Moscow
in September 1993. It was Paul Getty who suggested I call upon him. We
met again at a number of Frankfurt Book Fairs and he attended at least
one of my parties in the Küntslerkeller. We talk about Paul and I
learn that Vladimir went to Paul's funeral in London. I report that I
wanted to attend, but just not able to do so. We both agree that Paul
was a special person.
Find Natasha Perova's Glas
Stand. Helle Xeme, from Arhus, is also at the Stand. Helle and I discuss
Tanya and Carsten Hansen. She is also concerned about Carsten and his
publishing activities. Maybe there is some good news on the horizon. I
certainly hope so. (Back in Paris I discover that the 9th of September
is Helle's birthday. Belated greetings and good wishes, Helle.) I tell
Natasha how much I look forward to saying nice things about her and Glas
next Friday morning. Natasha tells us that she has had a recent success
with one of her books, The Diary of a Soviet Schoolgirl -1932-1937. To
quote from the back cover: "Recently unearthed in the archives of
the NKVD, Nina Lugovskaya's diary provides a rare window into the life
of a Moscow family during the 1930s when fear of arrest was a fact of
life." Mondadori have purchased world rights. They must think it
might be another Diary of Anne Frank. It means that Natasha Perova has
funds to continue publishing for a while longer.
Peter Aleshkovsky comes over
to Natasha's Stand and we are introduced. But I think I know him from
somewhere. Maybe we have met at a "Lahti Writers' Reunion".
He is a novelist and his novel, Skunk: A Life, has been published in Glas
and in German by Suhrkamp and in French by Fayard. He will be on the panel
Friday as well.
There is a large group of writers
from Russia attending the Book Fair. I bump into a group of them and spot
Dmitry Prigov. He is a poet who I met years ago at the Book Fair and later
in Moscow and in Paris. His wife, Nadia Bourova, is also a dear friend.
Walk to the Press Bureau in Hall 4 and am given a red bag full of various
items. Discover that Taschen has published a big book about Mohammed Ali.
Continue to the German Railways desk and purchase a ticket for Paris for
Friday at 14.57 that will put me into the Gare d'Est at 21.00 hours. Just
in time for me to meet John Calder, Antonia Hoogewerf and Karolina Blaberg
at the Terminus Nord.
In Hall 8 am given the new
issue of the New York Review of Books. Walk to Helen Read's Stand and
collect several Guardians. Go to Howard's Stand and learn that Mansoor's
luggage arrived at his hotel last night. So he is able to set up his Stand.
Walk to Victoria's Stand and she introduces me to some friends. Give her
a copy of Cooking for 100. Go for a stroll and bump into Mike Shatzkin
and Trevor Bounford. We talk about the Künstlerkeller party. I show
them Cooking for 100 and Mike thinks I should show it to David Godine.
We walk to David's Stand, but he is not there. Trevor thinks I should
show it to his lovely wife, Sheila, at the I.P.G Stand. We walk back and
meet David Godine on the way. Mike introduces us but I have the feeling
that we have met before. I pass him a copy of Cooking for 100 and he tells
me to pass his Stand tomorrow or the next day. David and Mike argue about
the Red Socks and Yankees and the play-off series. David goes to his Stand.
Mike and Trevor go for lunch. I continue my walkabout. Meet Jamie Byng.
He is looking for cigarettes, Gauloise Blondes. He gives me an invitation
to a party he is hosting Friday night. Thank him but say that I will be
in Paris dining with John Calder. Show him Cooking for 100 and he tells
me to drop it off at his Stand. Walk to Sheila's Stand. She is busy. Tell
her I will pass again later. Visit with Helen and Roy Read. A fellow from
Israel comes up to the Stand to ask about a subscription to the Guardian
Literary Review. I put my two cents in and ask him if he knew Dahn Ben-Amotz.
He replies that Dahn is dead. I say I know but that he was a dear friend
of mine. For some stupid reason, I add that he and I slept with a lot
of the same women. Sometimes at the same time. Helen informs me that this
is the Guardian Stand and not the News of the World. She is right of course
and I should have kept my mouth shut. Excuse myself and continue to wander.
Bump into Claus Clausen. We have a good long talk about Suzanne Brogger,
Susan Sontag, and other various friends. He is on his way to a meeting
with Jamie Byng and I walk with him. Show Claus Cooking for 100 and he
asks to see the manuscript. So give him a copy.
Call Antonia in Paris with
my Nokia and tell her she can reach Ed Flaherty via David Turner. We also
reconfirm Friday night's meeting at the Terminus Nord. Visit with Sheila
Bounford and give her a copy of Cooking for 100. She says it look superb!
Chat with Jeanette Aster about her dinner last night in a night club with
Howard and Hilton. She says the meal was delicious. Walk to Canongate
and give Jamie a copy of Cooking for 100. Claus is still with Jamie and
the three of us exchange a few words.
At some point in the afternoon,
Grzegorz Boguta visits the Mosaic Books Stand to talk with Howard about
the Warsaw Book Fair. By chance I am sitting with Howard. We are introduced.
Grzegorz reports next May the Warsaw Book Fair will celebrate its 50th
birthday. I promise to try to attend. We talk about a number of friends
in Warsaw including Barbara Hoff, Stash Pruszynski and his Radio Café,
Ryszard Kapuscincki, Lech & Barbara Budrecki, Pawel Brodowski, Andrzej
Blikle, Adam Michnik and many others.
Attempt to find Müge Sökmen
and Aleksandar Stefanovic. Am told at the Jaco Stand that Alek did not
come to the Fair. They are not sure at the Turkish Stand if Müge
has come or not. Leave a note for her. Try to find Mary Clemmey and Donald
Maass. Succeed with Mary. Leave a copy of Cooking for 100 with her. She
thanks me again for introducing her to Monika Rosenkranz. I think we both
should be thanking Sally Belfrage for introducing us to each other. Dear
Sally we miss you
Have an orange juice and then
stroll to Hall 4 and Hall 3. Back to Hall 8 and sit with Howard at Mosaic
Stand. Meet Carol Friedman. She is a photographer from New York City who
is making her first trip to the Messe. John Flattau suggested she contact
Howard and yours truly. She has a book she has published called Nicky
the Jazz Cat. Both Howard and I give her a few suggestions. A fellow named
George joins us. They are all going to dine at Knossos, a Greek restaurant
I walk through Hall 6 and meet
Liisa Steffa, Eva Reenpäa and a number of their Otava associates.
Liisa tells me that Tim had a serious accident while on a bike trip in
the North of Finland. It seems a drunk car driver drove into him. I say
that I had a serious bicycle accident some years ago. And then add that
since bicycles are dangerous, maybe they should be banned. And we should
legalize marijuana. What a silly stupid remark. I am embarrassed that
I have not enquired further about Tim. I hope he is OK. I must pass Otava
later and find out if Tim is OK or not.
Continue walking and encounter
a party at the Danish Stand. An attractive woman gives me a lovely smile.
I give her an invitation to dine in Paris and to our party tomorrow night.
When she hears the word "Paris", she stops me, gives me her
card and tells me that she is coming soon to Paris with her teen-aged
daughter. Debbie Hanlon is from Newfoundland and is President of Jesperson
Collect my coat and walk in the rain to the tram stop. Stupidly exit the
tram too early, but manage to jump into a bus which delivers me almost
to Sophienstrasse. Sit with Erich and Brigitte. Carsten Hansen calls from
Århus and we have a long talk. He says that he wishes he were with
us. Maybe next year. Brigitte has prepared a lovely meal for the three
Monika Rosenkranz calls and
comes over. Meet her outside and we go for a walkabout. End up in a Tex-Mex
restaurant called Enchiladas. Two hot chocolates and tortilla chips. A
good long talk about John Flattau, Jack Moore, Tanya & Carsten Hansen,
Dora Puszta, Mary Clemmey, Lilli and Christine, and Martin Lehberger.
Our young waitress is from Bulgaria. Very pretty but does not speak English.
9th: Again Brigitte brings two cups of coffee to me in bed, cuts on
the BBC-World television. I am quickly up, washed and dressed and out
the door. Take the tram to the Marriott Hotel and walk across the street
to the Messe. First to the Glas Stand and find a note from Natasha telling
everyone she is away from her Stand until 11. Almost immediately bump
into Lolita Varanaviciene. She founded the literary publishing house,
Tyto Alba, in Vilnius. She has an appointment and says she will see me
at the Lithuanian Stand in fifteen minutes. Hang about the Lithuanian
Stand and talk with various beauties. But no sign of Lolita. Get a call
from Antonia Hoogewerf in Paris to say that she can make pumpkin soup
for the Sunday dinner if I would like her to do it. We agree to meet at
Terminus Nord at 21.30 Friday and decide then about Sunday's menu. Give
up on Lolita and go wandering off.
Over to Hall 4 and check my
coat. I decide to walk to Otava in Hall 6 to talk with Liisa Steffa about
Tim's condition. Alas she is not there. Walk to De Harmonie in Hall 8.
No sign of Jaco or Elsbeth. Walk to the Guardian Stand and find Mylène
has arrived. After our embrace, learn that she is only staying today in
Frankfurt. She cannot attend the party Thursday night. Damn. Roy gives
me several copies of today's Guardian. Over to Howard's Stand. Howard
introduces me to a fellow from Quebec. Leave them and walk to Victoria's
Stand. She and Carol Friedman are chatting and they welcome me. Victoria
says she likes the Cooking for 100 manuscript. Carol is still suffering
from jetlag. Leave them and walk to the large Random House Stand. There
I am told that Sonny Mehta is at the Fair and is expected at the Stand
later in the afternoon. Leave a note with Alexandra Reiser for Sonny and
a copy of Cooking for 100 for him. Walk to Sheila Bounford's Independent
Publishers Guild Stand. Sheila also says she likes Cooking for 100. She
suggests that we go to meet John Davies of Grubb Street. They are a major
publisher of cookbooks. OK. On the way encounter Alexander Walker. Sheila
comments on his wild suit. John Davies is busy, but he suggests I return
later in the afternoon. Sheila returns to her Stand and I decide to have
a bowl of soup. Jacqueline Miller rushes past, late for an appointment.
We manage to chat briefly.
Sit with Jeanette and Howard
Aster and learn from them that Lavazza has a coffee Stand in Hall 6. Howard
says it is on the first floor; Jeanette says it is on the ground floor.
Continue my wanderings. Try to see David Godine or Sonny Mehta or John
Davies. No luck with any of them. But do encounter Jeanette Aster. She
wants today's Guardian. We walk to E928. I introduce her to Helen and
we three chat for a while. Later meet Jeanette again and we decide to
go to Hall 6 for a coffee. We go upstairs and a fellow called Martin serves
us. The coffee is delicious. Jeanette returns to Hall 8 and I go downstairs
in Hall 6 and discover another Lavazza Stand. And Anke Kluss. She recognizes
me and asks if I would like a coffee. Tell her not now, but will come
again later. So Howard and Jeanette are both right.
Walk to Hall 5. No sign of
Aleksandar Stefanovic. No sign of Müge. No sign of Lolita. Visit
briefly with Natasha Perova.
Back to Hall 8 and encounter
Liisa Steffa. I ask her about Tim. She tells me a drunk driver ran into
him and that he is lucky to be alive. Lisa gives me his e-mail address
and I will e-mail him when I am back in Paris. (I do. Tim replies and
says he is OK.)
Catch Jaco and we have a good
long talk. He tells me that he just talked with Elisabeth and that she
will come to the Messe next October. Great! We talk about Jan Meng and
the Athenium Bookshop. Minutes later, Herm Pol passes and we talk briefly.
(Jan has retired and Herm is now the manager.) We talk about Van Het Reve
and the 1962 Writers' Conference. We talk about John Calder's autobiography,
Pursuit, which, of course, Jaco has read. Jaco says he has read the article
by Marco Daane in De Parelduiker about the 1962 Writers' Conference and
that he will send me a copy when he is back in Amsterdam. (And, of course,
he does.) Jaco and Elisabeth have not been to London or Paris in a long
time because they have decided to explore other cities. Their favorites
are Barcelona, Madrid, and Berlin. A couple arrives to see Jaco. It is
my cue to get up and continue my wanderings.
Find David Godine at his Stand.
I am happy to tell him that the Boston Red Socks won a game against the
New York Yankees yesterday. He is very happy to hear this. We have a good
long talk. He tells me that he will come to Paris next March after the
London Book Fair and will come to a Sunday night dinner with his daughter.
Sit at the café opposite
the Mosaic Stand and read today's Guardian. Minutes later the couple who
ended my talk with Jaco arrive and sit next to me. His name is Brenkman
and she is Hélène Poulet. They have established a new literary
agency in Paris in the rue Sainte-Anne. I give them the Chicago Tribune
article and invite them to a Sunday dinner.
Walk to Random House and spot
Sonny Mehta. He is talking with an attractive young woman, so do not wish
to disturb them. Suddenly they both get up and walk towards me. The young
woman is Jo Durden-Smith's step-daughter, Ksenia Goloubovitch. (Her father
is from Serbia, but she was born in Moscow.) What a nice surprise to see
her. Sonny is his old warm and wonderful self. I tell him that I have
left a manuscript for him. Tell him that it is not for him, but that someone
in Random House might be interested in it. Ksenia gives me a Logos catalogue.
She and her husband, Oleg Nikiforov, are involved with this publishing
venture. We met some years ago in Moscow and then later they dine one
Sunday night here in my atelier. She also gives me their Stand number,
but, sadly, I never make it to their Stand. I do read an article she has
written. It is about her book, Serbian Fables. Let me quote her first
sentences: "This book is about identities. Serbia is the country
of my father, one which I'd never visited, but to which I came after the
ten-year war, in search of my "second half"
Deliver Cooking for 100 to
Edouard Cointreau after I read an article about him in Publishing News.
We discover we have a mutual friend in Paris, Patricia Laplante-Collins.
He asks me to send his greetings to her when I am back in Paris. I promise
to do it and I do. Later pass the Grubb Street Stand and leave another
Cooking with John Davies. He says he will take it to London and deliver
it to an associate.
In the evening, I host, for
the 12th year, a party in the Künstlerkeller. Lots of people attend.
So many it is impossible to list them all. Among the usual suspects are
Jeanette & Howard Aster, David Applefield, Angelika Schleidl and an
actor, Carol Friedman, Connie Kiefer, Sara and Hilton de la Hunt, Erich
& Brigitte Bernhard plus Klaus, Helmut Schwarzer & his son, Pascal,
Roy & Helen Read, Neil Gudovitz, Natasha Perova, Alexander Shatalov
plus two associates, Martina Gross, Victoria Champagne Sutherland, Sheila
& Trevor Bounford, Wolfgang Determann & Inge Krahn, Martin Lehberger,
Monika Rosenkranz, Mary Clemmey, Mike Shatzkin, Kathleen Doody, Emma Cahill,
Paul Harris, Igor Potocnik plus about five friends from Ljubljana, Trine
Dige (of Sun-Air) plus boyfriend, and many many more. A good time, I hope,
is had by all. Our barmaid is Svetlana and our extremely busy waitress
is Anna. Last year's waitress, Rebecca Mohr, also attends with her boyfriend,
Axel Walch. Rebecca is wonderful and three months away from becoming a
lawyer. One person who is missing from the party and from the Book Fair
is Raúl Morales Urquiza, the Director General of Grupo Tomo in
Mexico City. We met in 1999 via Howard Aster and he attended the Book
Fair (and the party) that year and also in 2000, 2001 and 2002. At his
instance, I attended the Guadalajara Book Fair last November and he was
a wonderful host. Howard says that Raúl has not come this year
because he has started a new bookshop and is too busy with it to travel
Another morning with coffee in bed. Up very early this morning. It is
7.45. Brigitte cuts on the television to CNN. Drink the espresso and zap
the channels. The Red Socks lost to the Yankees, so David Godine will
not be pleased. But Mike Shatzkin will be happy. It's an ill wind that
doesn't blow someone some good or words to that effect. One person's bad
news can be another's good news. Say my goodbyes and thanks to Erich and
Brigitte. Erich is the first to depart followed by Brigitte and Klaus,
their friend from Berlin. Some thirty minutes later, I am out the door,
deposit my keys in the mailbox, and slowly walk to the Messe. Go direct
to the Glas Stand. Natasha is there. Also Sabine Kaldonek. She used to
be a Project Manager for the Book Fair, but now she is with Project Hope
and based in Köln. It time to go across to the Forum to set up for
our morning conference about Natasha's publishing house, Glas. But before
we leave her Stand, I insist she accept some Euros for two copies of her
latest publication, the Nina Lugovskaya Diary and Nine (nine stories by
nine women writers). Natasha insists I accept Love Russian Style. I have
the book in Paris, but accept it all the same. We depart and I help her
carry a large bag. She introduces me to Thorsten Oestreich. He is from
Berlin, speaks excellent English and Russian and has a job with a PR agency
that is looking after the Russian Exhibition here at the Messe. He used
to be with Rowohlt Verlag. I think I tell him that I was a friend of Ledig-Rowohlt.
We go for a coffee while Natasha gets ready for our conference.
Suddenly it is 10 o'clock and
time for me to join the panel. On the platform from left to right: Natasha
Perova, Anastasia Gosteva, Ludmila Ulitskaya, yours truly, Svetlana Vasilenko,
Peter Aleshkovsky, and Olga Slavnikova. Natasha says a few words then
the rest of us sing her praises. It is not difficult to do because Natasha
is truly a fantastic lady. She has published some 40 books in the English
language representing over 100 contemporary Russian authors. I am the
last to speak and I think I do a reasonable job of reporting just how
important Natasha Perova is. Then the time is up. No opportunity for questions.
The audience seems pleased. Natasha is glowing. She deserves all the praise
we have heaped upon her.
Walk to Hall 5 and look for
Lolita. No sign of her and no sign of Müge. Two wonderful ladies.
Three with Natasha Perova!
Stroll to Hall 6. Have a cappuccino
in the Lavazza Café. The lovely Anke Kluss serves it. The best
coffee at the Messe and it is free. I now use Lavazza in Paris because
of this free Messe coffee. As I leave Hall 6, encounter Trevor Bounford
and he thanks me for last night. He and his lovely wife, Sheila, are super
nice. And I know them thanks to the Frankfurt Book Fair. I met Trevor
at the Fair in 1987 and Sheila in 1988. On the way to Hall 8, encounter
Alain Levy. We chat about my Sunday night dinners and his girlfriend,
Collect two copies of The Guardian
from Helen and Roy. Deliver one to Howard.
Martin Lehberger and I spent
my last few hours at the Messe strolling around Hall 8 and then over to
Hall 6 and Hall 5. I remember trying to say goodbye to Howard and Jeanette,
but he is busy talking with someone and no sign of Jeanette. I help myself
to a copy of Pablo Armando Fernandez book of poems that John Flattau and
I co-published with Howard. I remember that John recently said Pablo was
on his way to Paris. (And today, the 17th of October, Pablo calls me.
He is in Paris. Now as I write these last words of my 36th Frankfurt Book
Fair report, I will metro to the Right Bank to collect Pablo Armando at
Hotel de la Havane. We will dine tonight with Karolina Blåberg.
Maybe Antonia Hoogewerf will join us. So perhaps this is an appropriate
I know I journey to Paris on
Friday the 10th. An afternoon train. I remember giving a leaflet about
the Sunday dinners to four young Americans sitting across from me. And
they come on Sunday night. I know that I go to the Terminus Nord to meet
John Calder, Karolina Blåberg, and Antonia Hoogewerf. But only Karolina
and I dine. Later have a message on my answering machine from John. He's
coming later to Paris. Also at the last minute, Antonia cannot meet us.
Problems with a friend from the South of France and a key.
: (one week after Frankfurt) Last night Pablo, Karolina and I have
a feast in the Zimmer. A conversation in Spanish and English. Pablo is
making his first trip to Israel to attend a poetry festival. I produce
two books for Pablo to sign. One for Karolina and another for me. After
dinner, Pablo, Karolina and I take the No. 38 bus. Karolina jumps out
at Port Royal and we continue to my place where I find a suitcase for
his trip to Israel. One of Pablo's bags was damaged on the flight from
Habana. John Flattau is called in New York City. They are both surprised
and pleased to be talking to each other. Afterwards we take a taxi to
his hotel. A last warm embrace. Maybe Pablo will stay a few days here
in the atelier when he returns to Paris the 24th. Today Antonia prepares
an Indian curry for tomorrow's dinner. Tonight I have a meeting with Matt
and Victoria Sutherland. She is the publisher of ForeWord Magazine. This
magazine concerns itself with reporting and reviewing independently published
Matt, Victoria, Antonia
and I dine at Chez Charles-Victor and, as always, it is delightful. Matt
and Victoria insist upon treating us.
Sunday, 19th: The wonderful
Lucia Bobacheva flies to St. Petersburg this morning. Matt and Victoria
fly to Michigan this afternoon. I call the Hotel du Midi to wish them
a good flight and learn they have just left for the airport. Antonia cooks
a fantastic chicken curry for 79 happy individuals this evening...
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,