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Showing posts from August, 2019


Almost each time I am travelling to a country I've never been to, Christopher Maclehose, my publisher, sends me a book for the journey. On my first trip to Bali, he had sent Christina Jordis's Bali, Java, in My Dreams -- which introduced me to Walter Spies and started off my new book. When I was going to Iceland earlier this year for the Reykjavik Literature Festival, he gave me Independent People , by Halldor Laxness. This magnificent, engimatic tragedy is not to everyone's taste. When it was published in the US, Kirkus Reviews called it "A bleak and bitter book, with little to interest or attract the American reader". But I am not American, and although it mystified me at times and its main character Bjartur often made me very angry, this is one of the most brilliant books I've ever come across. It haunts me still, weeks later, and despite its length I know I'm going to go back to it. I don't know how it read in Icelandic, but in English tr

A New Chapter at Lockbridge Pottery

I am going to miss the new show at Lockbridge Pottery on 23rd and 24th August, but cannot believe how lucky I am to be going there the week after because of a hugely generous invitation from potters Jeff Diehl and Donna Diehl. Jeff Diehl’s work has appeared in many prestigious collections worldwide, including the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Korean Craft Museum. He has been making pots for over forty years. They live and work in a converted schoolhouse, which they renovated and then built kilns around to fire their ceramics.  Of the pottery, an article by Lucia K. Hyde says:  Lockbridge Road in Summers County winds for several miles through rolling farmland, past houses and grassy meadows, before arriving at an old, two-room schoolhouse. The school sits well back from the road on tidy grounds. Clusters of flowers bloom around the broad front porch, and the school's canine mascot naps on the stone walkway. In the large field t