Here's a link to a website that does quirky author interviews. Gives a nice insight into a writer's brain (not that that's always a healthy thing to get an insight of).
I've been very lucky with A Year in the Merde, published in 22 countries now, I'm told. There have been some great covers, too. My favourite edition has to be the Chinese one, because of an extra that no one else has thought of – a map of Paris showing strategic dog poops dotted around the city. We all know that there's more to Paris than poop, but this is just my favourite example of the sense of humour that publishers unleash when they're dealing with my books. By the way I'd love to know what the captions mean. (I've uploaded the map as a jpeg and - bigger - a pdf.)
I'm by no means an expert on the News International scandal or the British press in general, but the French media was kind enough to ask my opinion, so I gave it. Here, to a legal website (I mean a site that talks about the law, not the opposite of an illegal site).
Here's a chat I had with two Brits while sitting in the basement of a café beside the Canal de l'Ourcq, below water level. Matt and James were very kind to me considering the first time we were due to meet I completely forgot the appointment and they were left sitting under the water for an hour. (I don't make a habit of that kind of thing, I just forgot to look at my diary that morning.) Anyway, it was a fun interview about life in Paris, and you can hear it here. I'm series 1, episode 6.
Here I am (on the right in case you hadn't noticed), at the Montpellier book fair, on the Le Bookshop stand with Amanda Hodgkinson, author of the novel 22 Britannia Road, a story of a husband and wife trying to get back together after the traumas of WW2. (Perhaps because of this, Amanda brought her husband Guy with her to the festival. A book fair in blistering beach weather can be a pretty traumatizing affair.) The reason we're looking so happy is that we had our feet in bowls of ice cubes.
Here's a link to the opinion piece I wrote for the New York Times on May 17th, when France was just learning about the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, and the French political élite were saying how disgusting it was that one of their own should be treated like an ordinary New York crime suspect. I've had a few negative reactions from French people who thought I was criticizing all of them (I wasn't), and from one man of undetermined nationality who said that criticizing the élite was anti-Darwinian, against the survival of the fittest, which is an interesting way of seeing it (so all crimes are permitted if you're an alpha male?). Most of the reactions I've had from French people have been overwhelmingly positive. One TV news presenter invited me on her show, saying "your article filled me with joy". To find out why, you'll just have to read it...
"Three for a euro ..." Here I am, hawking my new book outside the Abbey Bookshop, where I gave the first ever reading of A Year in the Merde almost exactly 7 years before. I should add that I wasn't talking to myself – there was an audience listening to me, or at least pretending to.
As promised in my new book, Paris Revealed, here is the list of French property ad terms, a supplement to chapter 12 on buying and renting a pied à terre. The list not only translates the terms, it also tells you what some of the potentially misleading language actually means. I hope it helps, and, of course, that you will decide to read not only these five pages, but the whole book. To get the list in PDF form, just click on the download button below the cover of the book on the left.
There are Parisians who have to get up at dawn, cram themselves on to a crowded badly-ventilated métro train, then spend their day getting hassled by their boss before going home and watching a badly-dubbed film on TV. Others, like moi (yes, je suis un Parisien), go to Mauritius and contact the biggest local bookshop, Bookcourt, who invite me to do an event. So I spend a morning chatting to bookbuyers and getting interviewed on the local radio, who had set up a mobile studio outside the shop. Then I go off for a seaside lunch with André Lam, the bookshop owner (here, right) and his friend Arnaud, the latter of whom works for an airline and gets me a great legroom seat for my flight home. There are times in an author's life when things feel just a little bit too good...
I got an email one morning asking for a reaction to the series of national strikes hitting France in autumn 2010, and here it is. I'm not denigrating the strikers at all – they have found a miraculously effective way of annoying their government. So far, there has been no backing down by the politicians, but it's a long war of attrition. Here's a scan of the article. I hope you can zoom in to read it. If not, I've also added a pdf to download.
An article for The Observer - not for tee-totallers. Or alcoholics, either, I suppose. Sorry about that. Though I should add that it took my liver about a week to recover from this trip. And all in the name of journalism...
Here's the link : http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2008/nov/30/champagne-france-wine
It's official - Dial M for Merde is a crime novel. It's just got its first review on a crime fiction website. This is very satisfying, because the crime writing community is very choosy about who(m) it accepts inside its heavily guarded, CCTV'd portals.
Here's a link for an interview I did while I was in York to give a talk and read from Dial M for Merde. A journalist from the Yorkshire Post, Sarah Walters, asks some nice, probing questions about my books, life in France, and how I've survived for so long amongst the Parisians ...
From 16-20 April, I was in Poland doing interviews and events. I always feel comfortable in countries where they produce beer, and did my best to do justice to the local liquid culture. Here's a photo taken during a question-answer session, before any beer had been consumed. Although I obviously didn't notice that I was giving my talk to a row of empty chairs.
This chatroom session in French lasted an hour, but took the poor people at the website hours to clean up because I didn't use accents - I did it as a joke, being a Brit, and then felt guilty because they took the immense trouble to get them all right.
A discussion show on France 24 TV about the new French laws against smoking in cafés and restaurants. I was invited as a neutral, though I must admit that it is a source of never-ending delight to see people going outside to smoke at lunchtime instead of staying indoors to add a smoky taste to my crême brûlée. The pro-smokers were saying that it is the end of freedom in France, that it's just like the Nazi occupation, etc. One of the speakers was a café owner who has refused to ban smoking in his café, although he himself is a non-smoker. What a country. If you want to watch the debate, here's the link:
Yes, I speak French. This is an interview for the French release of God Save les Françaises, the translation of Merde Actually. Here's the link : http://www.france24.com/france24Public/fr/archives/debats/20071121-entretien-sephen-clarke-journaliste-ecrivain.html
A two-minute film for the Meet the Author website. OK, the director said, talk to me about your book for 120 seconds without hesitation, repetition or deviation. I'm afraid I broke the rules, as you will see ...
The first article in the British national press: