April 16, 2013
‘Ours is the biggest book club in the world,’ my host says. ‘We think so, anyway.’
This is my second speaking engagement at The Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Florida
. The first was on Thursday 7th February in the Daniels Pavilion to a sold out house of 282. On the following Saturday, the auditorium is at around half capacity. However, as this is the Hayes Hall, a full scale concert hall, it equates to some 672 people who have come for … well, just a book talk really.
While I’m waiting in the wings during my introduction, one of the crew adjusts the monitor...
February 21, 2013
For some time it’s been very convenient to think of what I do as two jobs.
One is being a writer
. That is, the person who writes fiction, who ruminates on plots, characters, structures and symbols, and who for better or worse attempts to scratch out a story which in some degree matches the aspirations of my mind.
My other job is being an author
. The author is different. The author has an author website to maintain, tweets author tweets, has an author Facebook page, and an author photograph. The author gives author talks, does author interviews, keeps author accounts, files an author tax return, and answers author email....
January 23, 2012
Nearly 800 years ago, in the 13th century, the Italian city state of Siena was under threat of attack by its powerful neighbour, the city of Florence. The Florentines intended to take Siena by force, to extend their territories and wealth. Florence had an army of 35,000 men; Siena and its allies could only muster 20,000. Defeat looked inevitable.
Out of desperation, the Mayor of Siena led a procession of the city’s people to the doors of the cathedral, penitent and barefooted. The Mayor prostrated himself in front of the high altar, before of the icon of the Virgin Mary. He approached it saying, “I, most miserable and unfaithful of...