Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Michael Palin: 'Squeezing 10 years into a book is like being a sculptor'
Whittling away 80% of a decade’s events is cruel but holidays, meals and train journeys all had to be jettisoned in the creation of the Python veteran’s latest memoir, Travelling to Work
What to leave out? … Michael Palin. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
My experience with the publication of my two previous volumes of diaries – The Python Years and Halfway to Hollywood, had prepared me for the task of squeezing 10 manically busy years into a single volume. The process is, I imagine, a bit like the challenge a sculptor faces. To chip away at an amorphous block until a shape is gradually revealed. I saw great chunks of the decade fall to the floor as some 80% of the block was whittled away. Ion Trewin, the much-missed doyen of diary editing, was once again my wise adviser on choice of material. Family holidays were jettisoned in their entirety; there’s something about hot days, beaches and mosquito bites which just doesn’t travel. More