And she had us held from the outset with her talk into the research she did for Rosetta, describing (among other things) the difference between the English and French attitudes to capturing Egypt at the beginning of the 19th century. Napoleon took with him fifty scholars, had read the Koran--in short, he wanted to know about the country he intended to conquer; the British, it seemed, had no such curiosity. Barbara's ground research was done by visiting Egypt with her friend Eccentric Shirley (who, surely, must appear in one her books some day).
I was asked to speak a few words by way of introduction and reminded listeners that Barbara has been writing for many years. In the 1970s she did "An Occasional London Letter" for the Listener, and from it I recalled two items. One when the movie star Jack Palance asked her to dinner and she was so overwhelmed all she could do was giggle at being in public with such a famous man.
If Barbara comes your way to do some readings, don't miss.