Sunday, 20 November 2011


A bowl of kalamata olives.
Image via Wikipedia
I'm giving my first ever reading tonight and although I do lots of speaking at conferences and other public stuff, it's still a daunting prospect. Luckily it's to a smallish audience - the Community Corner at the Sharjah International Book Fair is a physically compact area, although it punches way above its weight on Twitter and other social platforms, a constant stream of updates, information and news on the #SHJIBF are available from @ShjIntlBookFair.

It falls, by chance, on the day The National did a very generous piece on me and the journey to Olives - A Violent Romance. It's linked here if you really need to see any more of me than you already do.

We've sort of dubbed it "Two Worlds Collide" because I'll be sharing the session with self-published Emirati author Sultan Saeed Darmaki, whose book 'Under My Black Halo' is available at the Fair.

Selecting a reading is not easy. You want something that presents the book, but it also has to be a relatively short passage (people start dying after four minutes) that has a sort of beginning, middle and end - it can't be just any random lump of book.

I sort of settled on the 'rain dance' scene, purely because it's how the book started and it falls physically (for no good reason, it was just an accident) slap bang in the middle of the book. I started writing Olives after listening to George Winston's 'Winter into Spring' made me think of a girl dancing in the rain - Winston's stunning piano compositions have a trademark 'double tap' that is quite distinctive and the percussive waves of 'February Sea' and 'Rain' are redolent.

I woke up the next morning with Olives in my head - all of it, laid out like ley lines. I have since changed a great deal of that original manuscript, but the central idea of Olives remains as it was that morning, George's arpeggios echoing in my mind...

"Two Worlds Collide, an evening with Sultan Darmaki and Alexander McNabb" takes place from 7pm tonight at the Community Corner at The Sharjah International Book Fair.
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1 comment:

Mich said...

Good luck. This is sooooo exciting. So proud to be a friend :-))

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