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 Sökmens 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. Türkers 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 Suners New Turkish Cinema to Bülent Somays
Something is Missing Things We Dont Want to Know about
Love, Sex and Life to Elif Shafaks The Bastard of Istanbul
to Sezen Aksus Poems To Be. Another trop to Istanbul is called
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,
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. Its 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.
me to look for Michael Kellner in Hall 3. Walk to Verlag Peter Engstlers
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
in todays Guardian to note. Its official: Madonna and
Guy Ritchie to divorce. And the headline: Publishers seek new talent in
in Hall 8, I encounter Sheila Bounford. She tells me that Trevor is in
Malta and is missing the Messe Back to Howards 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.
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 Publishers 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.
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.
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 Brigittes. She is watching
television. I sit and read. After a bit, go to bed.
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.
tram to the Messe, enter the side entrance and walk pass Müges
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
todays Guardian. Walk to Howard Asters 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 Howards 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 todays Guardian. There is an obituary concerning Justin
Dukes, Jane MacAllisters superb husband. What a lovely man. I hope
that Jane will be OK.
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 lEst 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 lÉrotisme 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.