Incredibly honoured and excited to have been invited to Serbia as a guest at the Valjevo Literary Festival which runs from May 22 -24 this year. Having never been to Serbia I’m really looking forward to it. Also excited that, as part of the Festival, a tranche of The Coffee Story is to be translated into Serbian – I look forward to seeing how my deeply lyrical prose (such as ‘the coffee here is the worst fucking coffee I have ever tasted, and that’s saying something, considering the shit my second wife used to serve up’ and ‘she looked sombre and dignified. Sombre because her husband had asked for a hand job in the toilet, and dignified, because she had refused’) holds up in another language… For those fluent in Cyrillic Serbian, here’s the link http://www.spc.rs/sr/iz_eparhije_valjevske_0
The other reason for my excitement is that I will be going there and back by train, thus replicating in part the journey taken by Rebecca West in Black Lamb and Grey Falcon WHICH IS THE GREATEST BOOK THAT HAS EVER BEEN WRITTEN. If you haven’t read it then, I’m afraid, you’re a goddamn fool. I won’t tempt you with one of its deep, moving, powerful and opinionated views on religion, history, art, music, love, human existence or death – here instead, is a lovely paragraph about a garden chair.
‘The gardens were mystifying, inside the beautifully tended box hedges the flower beds were choked with weeds, and a single garden chair, made of white painted wire in the Victorian fashion, was set quite alone on a wide gravel space, with an air of deluded sociability, as if it had gone mad and thought that there were about it many other garden chairs’.