I’ve just returned from a hilarious literary festival in Mumbai where, during Geoff Dyer’s account of being so stoned in Amsterdam that he couldn’t put on his trousers, the whole city was plunged into darkness by a three-hour power cut. He, and the various other writers, nobly continued their readings by the light of a mobile phone. Another high spot was a cocktail party given for me by the people who have set up India’s first retirement village, where I talked about my novel “These Foolish Things”. This is a comedy about outsourcing the elderly to India, and the way things are going – the British already travel there for new hips – I bet it’ll soon mutate from fiction to fact. I’ve just finished the screenplay for the film, which is due to shoot in India later this year..
Meanwhile my new novel “In the Dark” is published on 3 May. Set in the First World War, it’s a dank and sexy story about a profiteering butcher – click onto my previous News for the details. I’ll be speaking about it at the Italian Institute on 16 April, at the Good Housekeeping Books Day on 4 May, at the Aberdeen Literary Festival on 13 May, the Redbridge Festival on 22 May, the Hay Festival on June 1, at the Edinburgh Festival and various other venues that haven’t been fixed up yet.
I’m also writing various screenplays. For the BBC I’m adapting the Diary of Anne Frank into five half-hour episodes, and writing a drama about Shirley Porter, the gerrymandering Leader of Westminster Council (based on Andrew Hosken’s book). Also for the BBC, I’m adapting Virginia Ironside’s terribly funny book about being 60, “No I Don’t Want to Join a Book Club” which Julie Walters is to star in, at Christmas. Then there’s new movie interest in my novel “The Stand-In” and hopefully an imminent production of “Tulip Fever”, though I’ve learnt not to hold my breath over that one. Over any of them, actually…Still, at this stage they’re all humming along and my study is filled with toppling piles of scripts which, when they get too tall, fall onto the floor and are trodden on by the dog. The cat, on the other hand, always choose to sleep on the exact piece of paper one is working on, how do they know?
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