By Humphrey Carter
DAY two of the Tertulia literature and arts festival in Deya started to the sounds of African drums from the weekly African dance classes as festivalgoers started to flood into the village for a day of talks and readings headlined by the award-winning British writer Ian McEwan. Being a Saturday, what better day for McEwan to discuss his latest novel, Saturday, and his other works of fiction including Atonement.
McEwan has been receiving huge coverage in the Spanish press to mark the launch of his new novel and rave reviews in Britain.
Saturday is a novel set within a single day, 15 February 2003, and is about a successful London neurosurgeon troubled about the state of the world, “the impending war against Iraq and the general darkening and gathering pessimism since the New York and Washington attacks two years before.” The Daily Mail hailed the novel as “McEwan writing on absolute top form.” Those who packed the marquee for McEwan's discussion session were treated to a double-bill topped by Julian Clary talking to Paul Blezard about his latest book, his memoirs entitled A Young Man's Passage. This is not the entertainer's first book, but some critics have claimed it as “the debut of an exciting writer.” Sex, frocks, death and double-entendre were on the programme and Clary, one of Britain's best-loved enteratiners and television presenters lived up to his billing. Emotional and revealing, Clary, who was once the most high-profile gay man in Britain, gave a candid insight into the life of a celebrity, falling from grace and mid-life crisis. From the well-established to the future of literature and Deya-resident Jacqueline Waldren chaired a discussion session with three of the rising stars of British fiction. Kamila Shamsie discussed her new novel Broken Verses with the writer of Wreckage, Niall Griffiths, and Peter Hobbs whose first novel The Short Dying Day has been published. Apart from writers of the future, Spain's Neus Canyellas and Imma Monso discussed how writers of fiction relate to today's world while four of Spain's most influential publishers considered what the present and furture holds for their industry.
The future of print media was also on the agenda for the former editor of The Daily Express and The Indepedent Rosie Boycott and the assistant editor of El Pais Juan Cruz. Leading Spanish novelist, screenwriter and film director David Trueba also took part in an extremely multi-lingual day, discussing whether manufacturing culture is a question of fine tuning with Angel Sanchez Harguindey.
Yesterday, however, was not just about the spoken word. “Walking on the beaches looking at the peaches.....” Remember the great songs of the 80s and 90s like “Always the Sun,” “Walk on By,” Golden Brown” and “Strangle Little Girl”?
Well it was Hugh Cornwell, the legendary former frontmam for the Stanglers who kicked the afternoon off in the marquee with an acoustic/readings performance of his autobiography A Multitude of Sins and the Deya House Band rocked and rolled the day to a close. Top British historian David Starkey, author Cynthia Lennon and director/actor Peter Bogdanovich are some of the highlights of today's events in Deya with tickets available on the door to all events - if not sold out.


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