Sunday 24 July 2011

Research trip to Paris then Languedoc

This Irish pub Finnegans Wake is at 9 rue des Boulangers, about 3 minutes' walk from the Jardin des Plantes, in Paris's Quartier Latin. I have often walked past it down the steep, narrow, cobbled old street, when I used to visit my father and on my way to the Jardin, and chuckled at the pub's name. Later, my father told me that the first place he lived with my mother was in a two-room tiny apartment above it, and that they were happy there. By one of those strange coincidences, I came across a cheap studio room available for holiday rentals directly opposite where they used to live, in 10-12, on the opposite side of the narrow street, also on the first floor. So I've rented it and will stay there one week on 7th August, to research for my novel and sixth collection. 

This is only possible because the Society of Authors awarded me an Authors' Foundation grant. During a hectic teaching week since I heard the news, I have been making plans and bookings. After Paris, I will spend a week in a remote house at the top of a tiny hamlet in the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Languedoc, where I hope to do some more writing as well as exploring.