A very hectic week, on top of a cold. Monday and Tuesday full days of teaching and Tuesday night straight over to Blackfriars Hall for celebratory drinks and canapés of the UNESCO award to Norwich as City of Literature. I also finished the translation of Krasznahorkai's New York Times piece.
On Wednesday frantic preparation ion the morning then the train down to see Krasznahorkai himself talking to Colm Toibin at the LRB Bookshop. The place was packed out, sold out ten days ahead despite a £10 ticket price. It shows how swiftly fortunes are built. It was a very good occasion. I sat in the audience next to Clarissa and Tim Dee, with whom I had made a good number of programes in the past. I was asked, impromptu, speak about the translation of LK and did so. Then I signed about sixrty copies of Satantango and some other books. Lots of other writers and agents there, and good to meet a Twitter friend, @Seventydys.
In the end we went to a Turkish restaurant, some dozen of us, including Ruth Padel and Adam Thirlwell and that ended quite late.
The next morning I took a quick walk down to LK's hotel, about 15 minutes from ours and we chatted in Hungarian for an hour or so. What about? Romanian writers, Hungarian politics, tranlations, future book. Then quickly back to the hotel to prepare for Thursday night's event at the British Academy where I was chairing a symposium on Czeslaw Milosz. I was ery anxious about this because I m by no means a Milosz scholar. As it happened all went well, if running a little late. Jerzy Jarniewicz spoke of Milosz's misunderstand and hatred of Larkin. Cynthia Haven talked about Milosz in California, where he seems to have been open to a great deal, including Allen Ginsberg. Michael Parker spoke about the connection between Milosz and Heaney in the context of political responsibility, and Stephen Regan spoke about Milosz and faith. I linked, commented and quoted. It was all just fine. There too met a blog reader, Tom Deveson for the first time. I love these meetings.
Afterwards we had dinner at the BA, formal with place cards, myself next to Jerzy and Gwyneth Lewis who had come all the way from Cardiff. Jerzy and I disagreed on the reasons for interest in Eastern European writing and the disagreement ended with me challenging him to a duel, date to be arranged.
Walk home in the rain then hard to sleep, alarm for 5am and walking to Covent Garden tube for the train to Heathrow 3.
And now I am here with one event and one supper done Something of that tomorrow morning.