October 7th: Up at 9 and make coffee for myself and Youco Harada.
She tells me about her struggles to create a fashion design business.
And her determination to make a success of it. Ulli Lindenmann calls from
Darmstadt and asks me to call her when I am in Frankfurt. She and Peter
will try to come up and meet me. Steve Murez arrives with more chapters
of Diane's novel, Rites of Paris. John Calder calls from London
to discuss turning his new extension to his Montreuil home into a small
40-seat theatre. I ask him if he plans to attend the Book Fair and he
says it depends upon finding a hotel room. (Back in Paris, I call John
in London. He did not find a hotel room in Frankfurt. And he did not attend
the Book Fair.) David Lucas and Kostas Papacharalampous arise from the
basement and continue with the moussaka production. A quick call to Howard
Aster and we discuss my possible travel to Dijon and our drive to Frankfurt
on Tuesday morning. People call all morning to be added to the dinner
guest list tonight.
end, Séamas decides to make it a one-plate affair. It is another delicious
meal. As expected Kostas has done a great job. We are about 65. Hamida
and Colin Gravois pop in to give Elaine Lee a welcome to Paris hug. A
pretty Swedish young woman, Karen Peterson, arrives late via Youco. Evgenija
Demnievska is back from her travels in Serbia. She had a major exhibition
in Belgrade. There is also a nice couple from Belfast, John & Karen Trew,
from Edinburgh, Katrina & John Hefferman, and a delightful couple from
Slovenia, Bine Volcic & Katarina Berglez. Another wonderful Sunday dinner…
8th: Emma Hope telephones and we agree to meet for lunch today. I
will come to her exhibition in the Tuilleries Gardens. I know that Jeri
Webb is flying into Paris today from Cairo and we have a tentative date
to dine tonight. Galina arrives to help put the atelier back in order.
I quickly head out the door and take the Bus No. 68 to my lunch date with
Emma. Get a phone call on the bus and it is Jeri. I suggest we speak again
about 6 when we can meet to go to Susie Hollands' place to select the
next exhibition, photographs by an ex-Time/Life photographer, Chuck
Rapoport. Collect Emma at her Stand and she introduces me to an attractive
Swede. Her name is Pernilla. I tell her I have a Swedish son who lives
in New York City. Emma also introduces me to an attractive Croatian named
Iva. Iva models shoes for Emma. The two of us grab a quick lunch. Not
very good, but it is always wonderful to be with Emma. What an attractive
woman she is! We discuss Peregrine Eliot, Heathcote Williams, Rory Knight
Bruce, Roddy Martine, John Calder. She is a big John Calder fan.
to the Village Voice Bookshop. Long pause at the SNCF Boutique in Denfert
where I decide to purchase tickets for Frankfurt. Home afterwards to rest
a bit in a very clean atelier. Arrange to meet Jeri at Susie's flat in
the rue St. Placide. To my surprise she beats both Susie and yours truly
and is sitting, talking with César Estazy Herrera, Susie's husband
from Chili. Susie arrives minutes later. We select 14 photographs for
the exhibition that we hope will go on the wall Monday, the 22nd of October.
I walk the short distance to the Blvd Montparnasse and select the Brasserie
Fernand for our dinner. Learn all about her trip to Cairo, Luxor and other
parts of Egypt. And for the second time in one day, I am treated to a
meal by an attractive woman. Hooray for liberated women! Our waitress,
Maria, is from Portugese West Africa, and is a delight. We walk to metro
Vavin, embrace and she heads North and I head South and home.
and Nina are at the kitchen table and the last of the moussaka has been
eaten. Youco is suddenly optimistic because someone has expressed an interest
in her collection. She passes me two presents: a large tin of chocolate
and a book token. She again thanks me for letting her stay and I tell
her she was a wonderful guest and that she is always welcome wherever
to pack. Get a call from Howard Aster and I tell him I will meet him tomorrow
morning in Dijon. Ernie Eban calls from London. Our old friend, David
Robins, is no longer with us. Apparently it was a painless death. At least
that is good.
9th: The alarm is set for 5.30, but I am up at 5 and drinking coffee
when the alarm goes off. Quickly finish packing and rush outside and the
taxi is there. Minutes later we arrive at the Gare de Lyon. Manage to
change my ticket to Frankfurt to one to Dijon. And I am cheerfully handed
71 euros. While I am waiting to board the train, call Howard and tell
him I am on my way.
waiting for me and we are soon on the autoroute to the East. A smooth,
painless non-stop trip. We arrive at the Messe in four and one half hours.
Help Howard to build his Stand. Then we drive to Bergerstrasse and walk
to Hilton de la Hunt's apartment. Hilton produces delicious coffee and
we discuss the dinner party at the Persian restaurant scheduled for Thursday
night. Howard and I walk the short distance to Pistazie at Baumweg 20.
The place looks lovely. We talk with an attractive woman who does not
speak English or French, but we are assured all will be well on Thursday.
I meet Hilton at Knossos, a Greek restaurant that Hilton seems to make
his second home. Tonight they are welcoming a party that is hosted by
Penguin Books. Hilton has fixed the encounter and is extremely nervous
when at 8, no one has arrived. But soon all is well when the guests begin
to arrive. I wonder how many of them know Penguin's history. I was a friend
of the founder, Sir Alan Lane, and his wife, Lettice. He came many times
to my bookshop, The Paperback. I even edited a book for Penguin entitled
Traverse Plays that contained eight one-act plays that were all
premiered at the Traverse during my time running the theatre. Hilton,
Howard and I have a delicious lamb dinner. Hilton's friend, Irene Lehmann,
joins us. Late, Howard walks with me to his car. I extract my bag. Find
a taxi and the driver from Serbia and I talk all the way to Sophienstrasse.
I mention Dusan Mackavejev and Goran Bregovic. No reaction from him.
drink a glass of wine with my hosts, Erich and Brigitte Bernhard. They
tell me about their recent trip to Wales where they had an enjoyable three
weeks visit. We discuss Carsten and Tanya Hansen and the fact that they
are not here with us. We also talk about Martin Lehberger. Another person
who should be here with us. We agree to dine together tomorrow night.
10th: My hostess arrives with an expresso as well as a large pot of
coffee. She wishes me a warm good day as she slips out to her National
Library position. The coffee works its magic and I am soon up and into
action. Out the door and get the tram to the Messe. Walk straight to the
Turkish Stand in Hall 5. No sign of Müge or Semih, so leave a message
for them. Continue on my way and ask a man at the Jaco Books Stand about
Alek Stefanovic. He says that Alek is not coming to the Messe this year.
See Inge Feltrinelli at her Stand, but she is busy talking with someone.
another floor in Hall 6 and enter the Press Center. Spot immediately Yaliz
Akbaba. She is as wonderful and as pretty as ever. Learn that she has
become a "school girl" again, studying education at the University
of Mainz. She is working at the Messe only for this week. A fellow standing
next to us speaks to Yaliz and she tells me after he has left us that
he is the Director of the Press for the Book Messe. Yaliz excuses herself
for a minute and returns with Anne and Sarah Qureshi (mother and daughter).
Sarah tells me she has been fullering since our meeting last year. She
and Yaliz say they will come to the party tomorrow night (but they don't).
Yaliz and Sarah excuse themselves, but Anne and I continue to talk. Tell
her that I am still waiting for that telephone call from Stockholm that
will announce I have won the Nobel Prize. Anne asks if I am expecting
it for Literature. No, not yet for Literature. I say I am expecting it
for Economics. We continue to discuss "fullering". Collect my
press pass, give Anne two kisses and continue to the Agent's Center. Ask
for Jenny Brown. She is not listed as being here. Ask for Mary Clemmey
and am given her Stand number. Go inside and spot Mary straight away.
She is with Bridget Impey, the same woman from South Africa who Mary introduced
to me a year ago. We chat briefly and I announce the Künstlerkeller
is closed and that we will be dining in a Persian restaurant on Thursday
night. Mary reminds me of her Persian connection.
I tell her I am a bit nervous talking with Faber because
my autobiography caused a minor civil war inside the publishing house
with the Young Turks severely routed by the old Conservative forces. Lisa
says that there have been lots of changes at Faber since then and that
I should meet Julian. I promise to do so. While sitting here at the Guardian
Stand, I keep thinking I must write an obituary for them about Jean-François
Bizot and David Robins.
row L and the Mosaic Stand. Misha Aster has arrived from Berlin and is
sitting talking with his father, Howard. Lots of congratulations are in
order for Misha's new book, The Reich's Orchestra 1933 - 1945: The
Berlin Philharmonic & National Socialism. They give me a card
from Adriana Rossi and report that I just missed her. Adriana and I met
in the Tam Tam Club in St. Petersburg in the 1990s. Natasha Perova passes
and we exchange embraces. Walk up row L to her Stand which she is sharing
with Marion Boyars and Peter Owen - both represented by daughters. Neither
one is at the Stand at the moment. But a woman approaches Natasha and
it seems she is a friend. I am introduced, but fail to remember her name.
She is with Rowohlt and I ask if she remembers Ladig-Rowohlt. She doesn't.
I ask if she knows Inga Krahn. She doesn't. She says that she has only
been with the company one year. Excuse myself and walk down row L and
meet Gwyn Headley. He offers me a coffee and it is delicious. He has brought
his own coffee-maker from London. We talk a bit about the Messe and the
party on Thursday night.
Vladimir Stabnikov from Moscow. We talk about Victoria and Paul Getty.
He and I first met in Moscow in August 1992. Leave him and decide to purchase
an ice cream cone. Jamie Byng looms into view and I offer him a cone and
he accepts. A fellow comes up to Jamie and I am introduced. He is someone
from New York City, but I do not catch his name.
up row L and join Howard and Misha. Reubin and Hari Anan from Ottawa join
us. Then Raul Morales and his daughter, Silvia, arrive. Howard and I go
for a walkabout and we let the four of them talk business. Howard tells
me about a Dr. Meyer who was at DVA (München) in Germany who originally
accepted to take a chance on an unknown young Canadian, (Misha). Later
the same Dr. Meyer is no longer with DVA (he landed at Herder Verlag)
and could not share in the glory of the rave reviews that have greeted
Walk over to row C and pass de Harmonie's Stand. See Elsbeth talking with
a group of people and when she sees me, she says that Jaco is around and
Mosaic Stand. Howard asks me to watch the Stand while he goes to Random
House Germany in Hall 3. No problem. Natasha Perova passes and she and
I have a good long talk about her two daughters. One is still living with
her in Moscow. The second one is living in the USA.
Mike Shatzkin visits and we have a long talk about the Edinburgh Festival.
Mike wishes to come next August with his wife, Martha, and maybe a few
more friends. A woman named Paulina Fariza, who is with the publishing
house, Alba, in Barcelona, arrives next to see Howard. I tell her he is
in Hall 3, but will be back soon.
and I go for another walkabout. Pass Bloomsbury and no sign of Alexandra
Pringle. Bump into Jenny Brown and we have an intimate talk about the
Edinburgh Festival, about her and Sandy's (plus their two young sons)
trip in a few days time to Marocco. Lorraine Fannin joins us and invites
me to the Scottish Stand party tomorrow at 5.
I am lucky. Join Elsbeth Louis and Jaco Groot at the de Harmonie Stand.
We discuss Jessica Craig, Medi and Bernard "Willem" Holtrop
and Roland Topor. We talk about Peter Van Straaten and I report his exhibition
is still up on my walls, that he has many more fans now. Jaco has a quotation
from one of Peter's books that he says is typical: "I don't want
to grow old with you. I want to stay young with you." Hooray for
Peter Van Straaten! Tell them that I am now a Consultant to the Calcutta
Film Festival and they are to let me know if they see or hear of anything
that we might consider screening in the Festival. Straight away, they
both have suggestions.
Sit at Mosaic
Stand. Call my hosts to see if they would be free to dine tonight. Leave
a message on an answering machine. Minutes later, Erich calls me and says
yes they are free to dine. I tell him I will be home in thirty minutes.
Walk quickly through Hall 5 and 4 and head for the tram. As soon as I
am back, we all three decide to eat in a local restaurant called Caravan.
I think it is Tajikistan cuisine. In any case, the food is delicious and
we three over-eat. The waitress is impressed when I speak a few words
in Russian to her. We somehow make it back. And are soon in our beds.
11th: Another great night's sleep. Once again I am spoiled with expresso
and a large pot of coffee. We both reflect on the delicious dinner we
shared last night. Brigitte reports she has something scheduled tonight
and will be back late. I report that I will be dining in a Persian restaurant
and will also be home late.
the Messe and go straight to the Turkish Stand. I spot Müge and she
is with two men. Nevertheless throw her a few kisses. She gets up and
introduces me to them. They are with a publishing house in Zürich.
I mention Diogenes and no, it is not Diogenes. She and I make a date to
meet at her Stand at 12 Noon.
walking through Hall 4 and see an attractive woman looking bored. We talk
briefly and I learn that she lives in Heidelberg and must commute daily
to the Messe. No fun. She says that she is tired. Suggest she come and
dine the next time she is in Paris. She says it will be in December, so
give her the Chicago Tribune article.
the Press Center and see Yaliz Akbaba straight away. She tells me there
is a press conference about to start. It will deal with the fact that
Turkey is Guest of Honor next year at the Messe. This year it is Catalonia.
Yaliz introduces me to a fellow she says is in charge of Latin America
for the Messe and I exchange a few words with him in Spanish. Leave them.
Pick up two catalogues of Catalan writers - one for me and one for Karolina
Blåberg. Pick up a magazine about publishing in China for Howard
Aster. See Sarah Qureshi and we exchange kisses.
Pete Ayrton of Serpent's Tail and ask him if he has won the Nobel Prize
for Literature this year. He smiles and says he has not heard the winner
announced yet. It is due out today. I mean to ask him about Paris Noir,
Go to Agents
Center and ask for Jessica Craig and learn she has left the Messe. (Later
I learn why. The Observer, (14 October), has an article by Carole
Cadwalladr about old friend, Michael Sissons' literary agency, PFD and
the civil war under way there. At the Fair, someone tells me that Michael
recently sold the agency for four million pounds sterling which, if correct,
is $8,000,000. And to think, he once slept on a mattress on my floor in
my Edinburgh flat.) I ask the attractive information woman her name. She
says "Eva". I tell her: "Hello, Eva." Her associate
next to her laughs at our dialogue. Give her a Chicago Tribune
article and tell her she can come and dine and that she can also bring
her associate. Go inside and greet Mary Clemmey, but she is talking to
someone, so do not stay. She asks what time we are expecting people and
I reply "anytime". Continue my stroll. See a young attractive
cleaning woman and wish her "Good morning!" and am rewarded
with a glorious smile.
Pech and we walk together to the Guardian Stand. Ask Helen if I
may accept her offer to store a bag of books and catalogues until noon
tomorrow. She says it is not a problem.
to Mosaic Stand. Howard is about to have a meeting with Raul and his daughter,
Silvia. Raul asks if he can get drinks for anyone. Howard asks for a coffee.
I suggest to Raul that I can collect it all from the café across
from us. He hands me fifty euros ad tells me his requests. Misha arrives
and comes with me. We order three coffees and two juices. We pass the
drinks to the appropriate individuals and I pass the change to Raul's
daughter. Then apologize to Raul for what I have done. He says it's OK,
but I do have to pay for his dinner tonight. Earlier both Raul and Silvia
suggest that I come to the Guadalajara Book Fair this coming November.
I tell them that I would love it, but that I will be attending the Calcutta
Film Festival and will not be home in Paris until the 22nd. They suggest
I fly to Mexico the 24th . This year Colombia is the Guest of Honor. Next
year it will be Cuba again. I promise to try and come next year.
Sit at the
café opposite Howard's Stand. Share the table with Nandini Rao,
the Director of Orient Longman, and with his associate, Madhu Reddy, Senior
Vice-President. The company deals with books for schools and universities
and is based in Hyderabad. We talk about India and I tell them about my
three trips there over the years, my connection with the Kolkata Film
Festival and some of the many friends I have made there. Give them my
address in Paris and invite them to dine when they are next in the city.
They give me their cards and suggest I call them if I ever make it to
Hyderabad. They depart for an appointment and their place is taken by
a fellow who is half-English, half-French. He is with an attractive blonde
from Norway. She is a printer. Move across to sit with Howard and Misha.
Walk over to row C and to the de Harmonie's Stand. See Jaco Groot and
he says he is rushing off to a meeting. I ask the time and realize that
I am late for my 12 Noon meeting with Müge. Rush to Hall 4 and the
Turkish Stand and see Müge straight away. I apologize for being late.
She introduces me to an associate, Basak Ertür. It seems Basak has
a 2 o'clock appointment with Pete Ayrton. I tell her I will meet her at
Pete's Stand and introduce them. Give Müge a copy of White Washing
Fences and then leave them to return to Hall 8. An all too brief a
meeting with Müge and do not meet Semih at all.
Lisa, the young woman from Heidelberg, at the Italian publisher's Stand.
Mosaic and learn that I have missed Roni Braun again by a few minutes.
three women from Utrecht when I hear them chatting away in Dutch and understand
certain words (like de Harmonie and Busy Bee). They are off to meet Elsbeth
at de Harmonie. Claudette Halkes gives me her card. She is with a company
It is about
2, so head for C973 and Pete Ayrton's Stand. But Pete is not there. And
then I remember our conversation earlier. Rush to The Publishers Association
Stand and ask Helen Wildman for assistance. She tells me to try L922 and
bingo, she is correct. I see that Basak is already talking with Pete.
I join them for a minute and tell Pete that I was supposed to have introduced
Basak to him. Tell him about the wonderful apartment that is on the top
floor of Metis Publications and my delightful stay in this apartment.
They both smile as I relate all this. But before leaving them, I ask Pete
if I may have a copy of Paris Noir, edited by Maxim Jakubowski
and containing a Cara Black story, The Redhead. Peter hands me
a copy. The book also contains stories by friends Barry Giford, Sparkle
Hayter, and Jake Lamar. (I meet Jake Lamar at a literary event in Paris
and show him the book. He had not seen it and was expecting copies to
Go to the
café opposite Mosaic to purchase a juice and hear two fellows talking
behind me about The Yacoubian Building. I mention that I met Alaa
El Aswany last August in Edinburgh and that he is an exceedingly nice
I go again to the Publishers Association and this time Helen Wildman gives
me the Stand number for the American University of Cairo. Later manage
to meet Mark Linz, the Director of the American University of Cairo Press,
and his associate Ulla Schnell. Congratulate them for publishing Alaa
El Aswany and ask when Chicago will be available. They reply in
December. I ask if I might order a copy from them. They say why not. I
tell them that I met Alaa El Aswany at the Edinburgh Festival in August
and that I have arranged for the film of the novel to be screened in November
at the Calcutta Film Festival.
the Guardian Stand. Sit with Norbert and we examine a book entitled
Unknown Bown, her lesser known photographs. Edited by Luke Dodd
with an introduction by Germaine Greer. It is excellent.
Loose at Faber & Faber Stand. We have a brief talk about Thanks
for Coming! And a possible second volume of my autobiography in the
future. I give him the Chicago Tribune article. He tells me to
stay in touch. Thanks, Julian, I will.
Back at the Mosaic Stand and a fellow says hello to me. His name is Michael
Katz and he is a friend of Michael March. In fact we talked on the telephoned
only a few days earlier when Michael called me from Prague. He suggests
I walk to his Stand. There we have a talk and right all the wrongs in
the world. He has a publishing company in Vancouver, Tradewind Books,
and was one of the last people to see Ted Joans before he died. We talk
about Ted and Laura, Ted's last girlfriend.
who I met at the 1995 Book Messe via Mike Shatzkin, comes up to me and
tells me he is not with Kodansha America anymore. Nor does the company
exist in America anymore. He is with Sterling, a publishing house in New
York City. We talk about an early Barack Obama book he published years
Go to the
Scottish Stand for their 5 o'clock party. Talk with Jenny Brown and give
her a copy of White Washing Fences. She thanks me and tells me
that she will take it to Marocco next week. Talk with a couple from Århus,
Svetlana Makarenko & Steen Piper, and tell them to pass my best wishes
to Tanya and Carsten Hansen. Also see the editor of publishing news,
Liz Thomson, and we exchange greetings. A fellow passes and he stops and
we have a sweet exchange. I invite him to dine when he is next in Paris.
His name is Paul Viola and he is with a Swiss publisher, Aurora. Paul
has a delightful joke that is worth being reproduced here. "A fellow
knocks on a door and asks for something to eat. The woman asks him if
he will eat left-overs and he replies it is not a problem. In that case,
she says, come back tomorrow."
the Mosaic Stand and four of us (Howard, Misha, Jan and yours truly) depart
for the U-Bahn. Michele Laporte sits in the train with us and I introduce
her to Howard. She gets out at Willie-Brandt-Platz. We continue to Merianplatz
and walk the short distance to Baumweg and the restaurant Pistazie. We
are the first to arrive, but soon others begin to drift in. In the end
I sit next to Natasha Perova and we have a good talk and a good meal.
Mary Clemmey comes late and sits opposite me. The food is delicious and
the staff are nice. The price is inexpensive and fair. All in all a good
evening. I miss the old Künstlerkeller. But Pistazie has been fun.
have thanked the restaurant (and I have paid the bill), we say good bye
to various people. Natasha Perova, Mary Clemmey and I head out the door.
In fact Howard also leaves with us. But instead of walking to the Merianplatz
U-Bahn as I thought we would do, Mary Clemmey insists she knows a better
way. Howard walks toward Bergerstrasse and we two blindly follow Mary.
Just as we arrive and are about to go downstairs to the U-Bahn train,
Mary realizes she does not have her bag. I call the restaurant and speak
with Hilton and tell him that Mary has lost her bag and that we are returning
to find it. Natasha decides to take the train and not return with us.
Back at the restaurant, good fortune prevails and the bag is found. The
telephone rings and it is for me. It is Roni Braun from the Charles Bukowski
Society and he calls to say how sorry he is to have missed me at the Messe
earlier today and failed to make our party tonight. I equally apologize
and say that we must meet soon and suggest he come to Paris. He says maybe
this might be possible.
and I talk to a table of people who have traveled to the Messe from the
Far East. I give them the Chicago Tribune article and invite them
to dine when they are next in Paris. They seem pleased by this. Outside
a taxi is waiting and Mary and I climb inside. We giggle and talk all
the way to Sophienstrasse. I ask that my good wishes be passed to Monika
Rosenkranz, Mary's hostess and my friend. Upstairs learn that Erich attended
a hockey match tonight and that Frankfurt beat Berlin, 4-0. Erich is very
pleased by this. Learn that Brigitte had to listen to a lot of speeches
and she is not pleased with the evening. We three sit and talk. I wonder
out loud who was won the Nobel Prize for literature and Erick announces
Doris Lessing. He heard it on the car radio on the way home. Hooray for
Doris! Once again we three express our sadness that Carsten, Tanya and
Martin Lehberger have not attended the Messe. I tell them about meeting
a couple from Århus at the Scottish Party earlier today and that
they both knew Carsten and Tanya and that I asked greetings and love be
sent to them. I tell Brigitte and Erich that this is my 40th Messe and
most of them I have spent in their apartments. It is repeated once again
how much I have enjoyed their hospitality. After Brigitte serves Erich
and me two delicious chocolate ice creams, I excuse myself and fall into
bed. Exhausted and happy.