Jim Haynes newsletters


Newsletter No. 691

Frankfurt Book Fair
12 to 19 October 2008

Frankfurt Book Fair  2008, link to 2009

Sunday, 12th August: Jodi Poretto is up and out fairly early and heads for Charles de Gaulle airport and her home in New Orleans. People call all day to book for the dinner tonight. It looks like it will be a full house. I call Howard Astor and tell him that I will not be driving with him on Monday to Frankfurt, but will travel by train on Tuesday. The weather is going to be perfect. Late afternoon Antonia Hoogewerf arrives to finish last minute preparations. We end up being 72 for dinner. Amanda makes Antonia’s Indian carrot dessert. .

Monday, 13th: John Flattau calls and I tell him we were 72 people last night. We will meet tonight and dine chez Antonia. Paul and Mary will fly into Paris tomorrow from Portland, Oregon.
Call Dr. Slattery and arrange for an appointment at 14.30. Metro to Trocadero and walk the short distance to his cabinet. He gives me a flu shot and a brief examination. Tell him I will see him in December, that I am off once again to the Calcutta Film Festival.
Bus to St. Germain des Prés and visit with Odile and Vincent. Bus home. Rest a bit and then arrange to meet John Flattau in Odeon. We watch the world go by and then bus to St. Paul. Antonia has prepared a dinner for Alexander Doherty, Meg Bortin, John Flattau, and myself. Afterwards we walk to Bastille and sit with Sheila Colvin and John Calder in Petit Bofinger.

Tuesday, 14th: Mary Bartlett and Paul Allman arrive this morning, but do not call them because they might be sleeping. Mary Clemmey and Monika Rosenkranz call from Frankfurt and ask when will I arrive. Tell them that I have decided not to attend the Messe this year. They urge me to get on a train today and to come. I find myself changing my mind yet again and say I will ponder trying to get there today. A package arrives from Hawaii from a fellow named Jim Carroll. My cousin, Laurie Haynes Coberly, has suggested he post me his novel, Dustoff, and a film script.
Get a telephone call from Shoko Inoue, Jesper’s friend and “daughter”. She has been in Paris some days with her friend, Mark Hobson. Jesper asked me if I could host them and I said yes, but Mark found a small apartment. They ask if they can come over after they visit the Louvre. To hell with the Louvre, come immediately. Give them directions and they are soon sitting at the kitchen table. She is very lovely. Shoko was born in Japan, met Jesper in Bangkok and now lives in the Maldives. Mark was born in New York and now lives in Milano. I scold them for not calling earlier and for not coming to Sunday dinner. They are truly chastened. Time for them to go off on the “Jim Haynes walking tour” and they head out with four of my books.
Go to the SNCF office in Denfert and find myself purchasing a train ticket that leaves tonight at 19.05 from the Gare d’Est that will arrive in Frankfurt about 23.00 hours. Rush home and email Brigitte and Erich. Then call them and leave a message on their machine. Quickly pack and am out the door. Take the 38 bus to the Gare de l’Est. Soon am in the train and rolling towards Frankfurt. It is a super fast ICE German train. Very clean and comfortable. I read Jim Carroll’s Dustoff and find it is a page-turner. When we pull into Frankfurt’s Central Station more than thirty minutes late, I have almost finished the book. I call Erich and apologize for being late and report I will be right over. Take the tram No. 16 and soon arrive. Warm embraces from Brigitte and Erich and we talk briefly before we elect to get some sleep.

Wednesday, 15th: About 8.30, Brigitte enters with a cup of coffee. She departs to the National Library and wishes me a good day at the Messe. I have a second coffee, shower, shave and dress. And walk the short distance to the Messe. Very difficult to enter. Because I did not bother to get a press pass before I left Paris, my stories about having my press pass waiting for me inside fail to impress anyone. I am sent from one person to another. No one will make a decision. I am told to go to the front building, first floor. There I encounter a bright young woman who seems to believe me and she gives me a temporary entry pass. I thank her and head for Hall 5. Then I kick myself for not inviting her to dine in Paris.
Walk immediately to the Press Center in Hall 6. Start talking with a young attractive woman. Ask if Yaliz Akbaba is here this year. And seconds later I am talking to her. She is as fabulous as ever. To my surprise, find that Sarah Qureshi is standing next to us. Learn that the first woman I talked with is called Giuseppina Potentino. Ask about Anne Qureshi, Sarah’s mum, and am told she is somewhere near us but she is not to be found. I wonder why I did not receive my press pass as usual. And I am told there is a new person in charge. His name is Frank Steffens. I say I want to meet him and Yaliz calls him over and introduces us. He asks if I have a complaint and I say no. I love the Book Messe and have come every year since 1969. He smiles and is pleased. I leave them and walk to the Literary Agents Corner, just steps from the Press Center. Ask a pretty woman at the Information Desk for Mary Clemmey’s desk number. Her name is Maggie Manna and we chat a bit. I invite her to come and dine in Paris and she thanks me. Inside I see Mary and someone is with her. Nevertheless she signals for me to join them and introduces me to Jane, an editor at Penguin. Mary tells Jane that I created the first all paperback bookshop in Britain and that I was a friend of Sir Alan Lane, the founder of Penguin. Talk a bit about the bookshop, my friendship with Sir Alan and the fact that I am a Penguin author. I edited Penguin Plays and it was published in 1965. It has been long out of print and deserves to be back in print. Time for me to move on. Mary tells me to make myself at home and to come back anytime.
Head for the Mosaic Books Stand in Hall 8. It’s empty when I arrive. But Howard Aster soon looms into view. We talk about his drive to Frankfurt without me. And about Hilton de la Hunt and his daughter, Sara. And about Irene Lehmann. Howard has an appointment, so I excuse myself and wander to the Publishers Association Stand to pick up a Book Fair diary. And then bump into Sonny Mehta. We embrace and chat briefly. I like Sonny and would like to spend more time with him. But I suspect he is super busy.
Continue to the Guardian Stand. Get warm greetings from Roy and Helen Reed. And from Norbert Pech. Pick up two copies of today’s Guardian. Helen invites me back for lunch.
Walk up row C and encounter Jaco Groot sitting at his Stand, De Harmonie Books, with an Assistant Editor Laura. He asks me to join them. Always a pleasure and always a major source of inspiration. And lots of stories. Jaco was the first publisher to buy rights for J.K.Rowling. And the first publisher to publish Ian McEwan in any language. McEwan’s novel, Amsterdam, is dedicated to Jaco and to his wonderful wife, Elisabeth. After a bit, I fear that I am taking too much time, excuse myself and return to Howard Aster’s Stand.
Read in today’s Guardian that Aravind Adiga has won this year’s Booker Prize for his first novel, The White Tiger. He lives in Mumbai. Good for him.
Howard Aster introduces me to the lovely Susan Shipton. She is with the children’s book publishers, Annick Press in Toronto. They have a Stand next to Howard’s.
Walk back to the Guardian Stand and have lunch with a friend of Roy’s and Helen’s, a fellow named Werner. He and I have a long talk about the Book Messe and lots of things. Roy gives me two photographs that were taken here at the Stand last year. One is with Roy and me; the other is with the publisher of Guardian Books, Lisa Darnell and me.
Continue my walkabout and pick up two copies of the New York Review of Books, one for me and one for Howard. Drop the paper off at Howard’s Stand and wander back to Hall 6 and Mary Clemmey’s Desk. She is with an Australian publisher and we are introduced. I get Mary a capuchinno. See Jessica Craig and we talk briefly. Mary and I discuss Beatricz Belfrage and her mother, sister and father. We also talk about Michael Sissons. Mary tells me that she saw him earlier today. I excuse myself and wander over to Hall 5 and look for Müge at her Stand. No luck.
Walk down to Hall 6 and on the ground floor, notice that there is a party under way at the Otava Stand. A woman says hello to me. Her name is Leena Majander-Reenpää and she is the Publisher of Otava. We talk about Liisa Steffa. She also tells me that she has a daughter studying in Paris. I give her the Chicago Tribune article and tell her that her daughter should call me and come to dinner. She is going to Paris soon, but will not be there on a Sunday. I ask that my best wishes be passed to Liisa.
I take two or three steps and encounter Claus Clauson. Always a joy to meet. He tells me he is coming to Paris soon. He asks about John Calder and I report that I see him often, that he is well and will be publishing a new book in the Spring entitled Garden of Eros, that he has recently published a volume of poetry entitled Solo. Claus asks that his regards be passed to John. I tell Claus to come to Paris and we can all dine together.
In the evening, Howard Aster and I head for Berger Strasse and we select Apfelwein Solzer (260 Berger Strasse) and are very pleased with it. A superb dinner. A wonderful waitress who looks after us lovingly. We are stuffed. And the bill is 28 euros for two.
Take the U-bahn to Sophienstrasse. Sit with Brigitte and Erich and we watch a football match on television.

Thursday, 16th: Another start at 8.30. Again Brigitte spoils me with a delicious cup of coffee. Wash, dress and head for the Fair. Decide to go to the entrance and thank the young woman at the Press desk who allowed me to enter yesterday. To my disappointment discover she is not at the desk and no one seems to know her name or where she might be. Damn.
Go to Müge Gürsoy Sökmen’s Metis Stand and find Basak Ertür. Müge introduced us last year at the Messe. Ertür is an Editor with Metis in Istanbul. She tells me that Müge is super busy this year because Turkey is the Guest of Honor and Müge is co-Chairman of the Organizing Committee. Pick up the Metis catalogue and note that Müge has edited a book entitled World Tribunal on Iraq – Making the Case Against War. There are so many interesting titles, The Knife with a Wooden Handle by Türker Armaner, who I met in 1998 via Müge. Türker’s novel narrates a day in the life of a middle-class family in June 1979 about a year before the military coup in Turkey. Every book (and every author) in the catalogue looks fascinating from Asuman Suner’s New Turkish Cinema to Bülent Somay’s Something is Missing – Things We Don’t Want to Know about Love, Sex and Life to Elif Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul to Sezen Aksu’s Poems To Be. Another trop to Istanbul is called for.
Walk pass Jaca Books and think of dear friend, Alek Stefanovic. I used to see him every year in Frankfurt. Now I have to go to Milano to see him or get him to come to Paris.
At 15.00 hours in Hall 6, one can hear Mikhail Gorbachev being interviewed. The languages will be in Russian and English. I really should attend, but don’t.
Walk pass a number of Stands. Pick up a booklet entitled Writers from Serbia, with short bios and photographs of 27 writers. Several I have encountered including Danilo Kis and Jovan Hristic. One writer, Moma Dimic, recently left life. He was a dear friend whose play, The Very Long Life of Tola Manolovic, I produced in London in the Arts Laboratory with another dear friend, Tutte Lemkov, playing the role of Tola. Alas Tutte is no longer with us either. Jack Henry Moore directed. It’s sad when friends depart.
Go to visit Mary Clemmey and she is with a publisher from New Delhi, Deepthi Talwar. She is with Westland Limited. I tell her I am going to Kolkata and Delhi in November. She gives me her card and I give her a newsletter with my Paris contact information. Excuse myself and have some photocopies made. The fellow who does it is named Yokho. I see Ed Victor, Jessica Craig and I think I see Michael Sissons. But do not disturb them.
Time for me to look for Michael Kellner in Hall 3. Walk to Verlag Peter Engstler’s Stand. Find the Stand without a problem and there is Michael Kellner himself. Also Werner Pieper, who translated my book, Workers of the World, Unite and Stop Working. Am introduced to Peter Engstler. We have a superb talk. Michael plans to come to Paris in early 2009 to participate in a William Burroughs Conference. He is busy translating the new version of Naked Lunch. I talk with Werner Pieper about Raymond Martin. Also talk about Sylvia Pogorzalek and her fellow, Roberto. Werner has to leave us. Then Michael Kellner. And Sylvia appears. We talk about Tangiers. I guess we are all old-timers.
Decide to look for Müge again. Pass her Stand in Hall 5 and she is not to be seen. Go downstairs and wander about. Purchase a coffee and sit down at a table. There is a leaflet on the table. Pick it up and lo and behold. Müge will be participating in a round table discussion, “Women in publishing in Turkey”, in fifteen minutes some ten meters from where I am sitting. Walk to the area and spot her straight away. She sees me and gets up from her coffee and we embrace. What a sweetheart! We can only talk a few minutes because the discussion will soon start. She tells me she is hyper-busy.. Still it is good to see her. She invites me to visit Istanbul and stay in my old apartment above her publishing house. I tell her to come and holiday in her atelier in Paris with her husband, Semih.
Two items in today’s Guardian to note. It’s official: Madonna and Guy Ritchie to divorce. And the headline: Publishers seek new talent in Arab world.
While wandering in Hall 8, I encounter Sheila Bounford. She tells me that Trevor is in Malta and is missing the Messe Back to Howard’s Stand and am introduced to Stefan Weidle of Stefan Weidle Verlag. He has published a book entitled Alfred Flechtheim and George Grosz. Howard tells me later that Stefan was German Publisher of the Year recently. And we talk about Eric Koch, who is a writer in Toronto and who I have met a number of times in Paris. I cannot remember why we talk about Eric with Stefan.
Go over to Hall 6 and up to The Agents Center. Find Mary Clemmey at her desk. And chat about the Fair and maybe meeting tonight for dinner. Monika wants to cook for us, but I will not be free until 21.30 or so. Mary has been invited tonight to the Harper Collins Stand in Hall 8 to celebrate their “winning” the Booker Prize and she asks me to join her. Over we go. First we stop briefly at the Australian Publisher’s Association party. Then we go to Harper Collins. Mary knows many people and introduces me to everyone. There is one very attractive woman named Karthika V. K.; she is the Publisher & Chief Editor of Harper Collins India. I mention the fact that I will be attending the Calcutta Film Festival in a couple of weeks, will be traveling to Delhi afterwards and will probably host a party. She gives me her card and I tell her that she is invited. I also see a very happy Marc Parent, who is head of Foreign Literature for Editions Buchet-Chastel. They have just published The White Tiger in France. Everyone is very excited. Champagne flows.
Walk around the corner to the Scottish Stand. Take Mary with me. See Igor Potocnik and he says that both he and his mother enjoyed my profile in the newspaper, Delo. Spot Paul Harris. Both Paul and Igor ask if I am organizing a party tonight, No, my friends, no party. I did it for about fifteen years. That surely is enough.
Tram to Sopienstrasse. Find an empty apartment. I wait for Erich and Brigitte. Just when I am about to give up, they arrive. They take me to their butcher who is hosting a event tonight for his loyal customers. We have a great meal and a bottle of their own sparkling wine. The bill comes to 18 euros; six euros each. Brigitte treats. Erich goes to a jazz concert and Brigitte goes home. I call Monika Rosenkranz to invite myself to her place and am surprised when she says it is late. It is only 21.30 or so. Walk into a café and have a brief conversation with a Swedish fellow, Martin Konkell from Goteborg. He is studying economics in Frankfurt. Tell him he should read my classic, Workers of the World, Unite and Stop Working. Give him a newsletter. Then I return to Brigitte’s. She is watching television. I sit and read. After a bit, go to bed.

Friday, 17th: Today I take the train at 13.01 to Paris. Brigitte again brings me coffee. I thank her and Erich for their warm hospitality and tell her that they must come to Paris and let me spoil them. Get a text message from Monika Rosenkranz inviting me to come for morning breakfast. I call her and we talk about last night. I tell her that I cannot go to her place this morning because I have to be at the Book Messe and then take the train to Paris.
Take the tram to the Messe, enter the side entrance and walk pass Müge’s Stand. She is there with her associate, Basak. Müge asks how long I stayed at the Conference yesterday. And I confess not long. Continue to the Press Center and leave my bag. Yaliz Akbaba, Sarah Qureshi, nor her mother, Anne Qureshi are to be seen. Go around the corner. Mary Clemmey is talking to someone, but manage to tell her I am off to Paris. Go to Hall 8 and say goodbye to Helen and Roy Reed and Norbert Pech. Pick up today’s Guardian. Walk to Howard Aster’s Stand and tell him I am off to Paris and wish him luck with everything the next few days at the Messe. Pick up the small bag of things I have stored at his Stand. Just am I about to leave Howard’s Stand when Mike Shatzkin walks up. We talk for a few minutes. He is a sweetheart. Then head back to the Press Center. Collect my bag and make my way to the tram and to the Haulptbahnhof. I am early so purchase a bottle of water and some pastry. Then walk to the platform to board the 13.01 ICE train to Paris Est.
Sit in the compartment next to a fellow from San Francisco who has been attending the Book Fair. His name is Mark Brokering and he is a dedicated Francophile. He lived in Paris for a year when he was aged 22 some twenty years ago. And it was the highlight of his life. When he learns that I have lived in Paris for almost forty years, we end up talking a great deal. Also read today’s Guardian. There is an obituary concerning Justin Dukes, Jane MacAllister’s superb husband. What a lovely man. I hope that Jane will be OK.
Also read in The Guardian Weekly a book review that catches my attention. It is a collection of short stories by Clare Wigfall entitled The Loudest Sound and Nothing. Published by Faber. I had the pleasure to meet Clare earlier this year in Prague. Nicola Barr writes: “This debut collection is awe-inspiringly, intimidatingly good.” Hooray for Clare!
We arrive on time. Offer to drop Mark at his hotel, but it is a short walk from the Gare and he reports he would like a stroll. Taxi home. Driver and I talk all the way. The Gare de l’Est was crowded and the driver says because it is Friday afternoon all the stations are packed with people entering and leaving Paris. The streets are also full of people, cars, bicycles. It sure feels good to be in Paris. I like to travel, but it sure as hell feels good to be home.
No one home. Go upstairs and check the computer. I have more than 100 email messages. Very few letters. Fourteen telephone messages. An invitation to the Musée de l’Érotisme in Paris to attend three exhibitions the 23rd of October. A letter from Felix Dennis asking me not to co-operate with someone planning to write an unauthorized biography. Lots of bookings by email for Sunday dinners. There is a message from Doug Kennedy asking me to dine with him next Tuesday or Thursday.
Antonia Hoogewerf calls and I tell her I am very tired. She says she will come over to the 14th and we can meet in the Auberge des Trois Saveurs, one of my favorite restaurants. OK, it is a deal. We have a feast and catch up with all the news.

Saturday, 18th: Hear Amanda leave early for her job. Later in the day, Kelly Miller shops for tomorrow’s dinner. In the late afternoon, Maria Rankov calls; she is down the street and asks if she may pass for a drink and a talk. Of course. She soon arrives and I tell her I am having dinner with Varda Ducovny this evening and would she like to join us. Yes, she is free. I call Varda and we agree that we will collect her and go to the Greek restaurant we both like. All goes according to plan except we cannot find a parking place, so we go to the Turkish place that Varda and I like. We find a parking place and all’s well that ends well.

Sunday, 19th: Quiet morning and early afternoon. Kelly Miller comes about 16.00 hours to finish cooking tonight’s dinner. Cath Cooper assists. It is a Thai-like Chicken dish. Very good. We are 28 men and 29 women for a grand total of 57. It’s another great dinner.

Monday, 20th: Stanley Cohen is expected to arrive from New York City today. Evgenija Demnievska drops in to visit. Two Swedish friends of Ewa Rudling, Nina Nielsen and Jacob Wistcand, are due to arrive today. In the afternoon, visit the Village Voice and purchase the new New Yorker. See Christopher McLeHose and we go to a café for a long talk about the Book Messe and various mutual friends. Go to my travel agency in the rue St. Paul and order tickets from Bangkok to Calcutta. Seven people dine this evening: Amanda Morrow, Andrea Manaea, Nina and Jacob, Mary Matvy, and myself. We play my circle game and its magic continues to amaze me.
Days until the departure for Bangkok are filled to over-flowing. I vote by absentee ballot for the second time in my life. (The first was for Kerry.) This time it is for Obama. Visitors include Mary Matvy (who cooks a small intimate dinner for six the 21st and also cooks a delicious leek and potato soup for the Sunday dinner 26th of October),
Go to a Brahms and Bartok concert in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées with Doug Kennedy and we dine in a Japanese restaurant afterwards. Get an invitation to a vernissage to the Érotic Museum of Paris but fail to make it. Do attend the exhibition at Grace Teshima’s for Trish Nickell and Robim Paine.
See the new Woody Allen film, Vicky Christina Barcelona, and love it. Kaja Cencelj arrives from Ljubljana to stay in Paris for three months.
Another Sunday dinner on the 26th of October. We are 38 men and 40 women for a total of 78. Amanda makes onion and tomato tarts. Weather stays good until fifteen minutes after 11 when it suddenly begins to rain.
Michael March and Vlasta Brtniková come to Paris to develop plans for the Prague Writers’ Festival for next June. It seems they want me to attend again.
Go to Harry’s Bar with Paul Allman, Mary Bartlett and Kaja Cencelj to be interviewed by ARD German television regarding the American elections. We dine afterwards in Domaine de Lintillac. Wonderful cassoulet. Then to see Les Femmes Sont Folles in the Grand Comedie Théâtre in the rue de Clichy. Written and performed by Eléonore Bauer (who is Denis Garcia’s goddaughter) with Judith Ejnes and Caroline Gaget. It is excellent. Beautifully acted and very drôle.
Read Paulo Coelho’s speech, “The Writer as a Pop Star”, which he gave at the Frankfurt Book Fair and find myself in complete agreement. I will meet John Calder when he arrives at the Gare du Nord and we will dine as usual in the Terminus Nord. I want John to read Paulo Coelho’s talk.
Antonia Hoogewerf cooks on the 2nd of November. Rumour has it will be her Super Fish Pie. She and I will fly off to Bangkok on the 5th of November. We should know by then who will be the new President of the United States. Please let it be Obama.
And may we (and everyone) have an era of peace, prosperity, and joy in the world…

 
 
 
Jim Haynes
November 2008

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris France

 

 

 

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