Tuesday, 3 March 2009

A rose by any other name

Ah. The breath of the morning. The sparrow's croak. Breakfast. On Radio 4, UniversityChallengeGate rages on. Ah. How are you feeling today?

Last night whispers were circulating around the Festival about authors (who will remain anonymous) suffering from Repetitive Signature Injuries. One signed a book to the wrong person, one signed a book to himself... Well. Sometimes a name just slips out of reach. I suppose it's an understandable symptom of the leviathan workload that comes with a commitment to one's art and one's fans.

On an unrelated note (although I am sure she is just as committed), Yasmin Alibhai-Brown last night proved herself a fluent and instantly loveable raconteur. She describes herself as a 'national irritant'. Michèle Roberts has another view of her - 'national treasure'. Alibhai-Brown's new book The Settler's Cookbook, which she explains she had to write as a means of making her mother alive again, is also a means of documenting a generation that is slowly passing on without any of their stories written down. When she dies, she jokes, she hopes her (presently indifferent) children will read it and 'feel a bit guilty!' If you missed it, it's Book Of The Week next week on Radio 4. As ever, it's also available at Mr B's Emporium.

Recommendation for the day, as per the advice of Mrs Alibhai-Brown, is another Yasmin. Yasmin Hai and Ziauddin Sardar reading at 1pm today in the Guildhall. 'It's a beautiful book,' she advises of Yasmin Hai's memoir The Making of Mr Hai’s Daughter. See you there.

Meanwhile, the kettle's boiling. Speak later.

Tom Writer

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