Thursday, 24 January 2013
To Iraq and a Podcast Interview on Hungary
Tomorrow I fly to Erbil in Northern Iraq for a literary festival. It is my first time in that part of the world. We - I mean the group of British Council writers including myself - will fly via Vienna, spending the night there before flying on.
My literary travels have taken me to the USA, to Canada, to Australia, India and China and a number of places in Europe, though never Scandinavia, nor to Russia. I have missed South America and Africa entirely. Malaysia may be on the menu in September. Fly-by-night affairs in some ways but proper unforgettable experiences too with friends made and sometimes retained for a long time.
There is not much money to be made by writing and still less in poetry, but a modicum of success will take you travelling, and I am very grateful.
Especially now. The last few weeks have been mind-breaking work. Reviewing (more to do) pieces for The Times, The Independent, for the South Bank, reports to write, the T S Eliot reading and prize giving, other readings, at UEA and elsewhere, and yesterday to London to record an interview for CBC about Hungary.
The interview is now a podcast and you can listen to it here. I am trying to describe the situation as I understand it. I try not to dramatise or overstate, as I think that can alienate possibly sympathetic people.