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Tuesday 24th June 2003


Of course the novelist I talked about last time (the Wind Up Bird Chronicle) is Haruki Murakami. I’m suddenly aware how famous he is, and how many novels he has written. It’s funny when you stumble across a writer you haven’t heard of before, briefly thinking that you have ‘discovered’ them, only to find that they are world famous. When I used to go and spend time writing in Ireland at the Tyrone Guthrie centre sometimes American visitors would turn up, saying they were going to visit a poet called Seamus Heaney.

It’s all steamy and jungly here in Newcastle. Summer is really here. I’ve been working on the new book, and some poems too.I’m very involved with the characters, Honor and Win, in the new novel now. They don’t get on with each other at all. They seem to know what they want to do, and I find myself following their lead, rather than the other way round. Soon we will be going to Brazil together, so goodness knows what will happen then !

At the weekend there was the Proud Words launch (gay and lesbian literature festival), where Patrick Gale and Alan Hollinghurst read amongst others who picked excerpts from their favourite books. Alan and Patrick’s readings were both very good and interesting. Alan read from an unpublished novel called The Line Of Beauty….a really wonderful bit of writing, I thought. The next day I talked to him about his work infront of a small (and beautifully behaved) audience about writing, editors, publishing and gay literature. I didn’t know his work that well before meeting him, but felt I learnt alot about his process and want to read more. Proud Words is a great festival, and it’s all free. Sarah Waters comes up next week, and there’s lots of other stuff on.

There’s also been the gypsy festival at Northern Stage. I went down to hear some free music at the playhouse. There were people from all over Europe there, playing and dancing! Black Eyes Roses is Northern Stage’s devised production and it’s really worth seeing; full of energy and invention with great stories.