Friday, October 01, 2010

Sur le pont d'Avignon...

Peter here. First thing....

I finished the book. YAY! Every one of you who has ever written a book knows how that feels - whether it’s your first or your twenty-first. Actually, I think this is my eighteenth!

As usual, of course, there is no rest for the wicked. I leave first thing this morning for the mediaeval city of Avignon in the south of France, where no fewer than seven popes resided in the fourteenth century, forsaking Rome and this Vatican in favour of the French Mediterranean enclave.

Why am I going there? Well, I am invited to participate in a crime-writing festival in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, where I will be accommodated in the Charteuse du Val de Bénédiction, an abbey church founded by one of those popes, which is now a centre for writers and artists who can live there for up to a year, rent-free. You can take a look at it here.

The festival lasts for three days, during which there will be many events, including films, writers’ discussion held in public forums, and much eating and drinking. My book, “L’île des chasseurs d’oiseax”, shortly to be published in English under the title of “The Blackhouse”, has been shortlisted for the festival’s literary prize, which is voted for by readers, and commands a handsome award of 800 euros. That could buy a few bottles of wine!

Anyway, it is around a 7-hour drive, and I am writing this on Thursday night to ensure I can get it posted just before I leave in the morning. I am tired, and in need of a good night’s sleep before the drive that awaits me first thing.

However, it is hard not to think of the weeks that lie ahead. Next weekend I am at the crime-writing festival in Toulouse. The following weekend, the Cognac festival (mmmh), and the weekend after that I have a promotional event deep in the south-west. After a research trip to Hong Kong, there is France’s second largest literary festival at Brive La Gaillarde at the start of November. This is life for a writer in France. Oh... and someone else picks up the tab for it all.

Can’t be bad, eh?


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