Thursday, 17 June 2010


Given the nature of the list, arranging to have lunch with a Capuchin author can be difficult. Bram Stoker never answers my calls, and Rudyard Kipling always has an excuse. I did, however spend a delightful time yesterday with Julian Mitchell, whose novel The Undiscovered Country (not to be confused with the Star Trek film, which also borrowed that quote from Shakespeare) we are to republish in July.

In the intervals between discussing cutting-edge ideas for marketing and sales, we rambled over several topics, and discovered a shared love and awe for R.S. Thomas, the man and his poetry. Thomas was far from noted for his sunny disposition and casual bonhomie: he once described the Welsh as:
An impotent people
Sick with inbreeding
Worrying the carcase of an old song.

Julian described how one poor servant of a renowned society drove half way across the British Isles to Thomas' rural Welsh home in order to present a prestigious prize, only to have Thomas, with a snatch of the trophy and a 'Thank you very much', slam the door in his face. Julian had considerably better success, having succeeded in wresting a cup of tea and a full quarter hour of the great man's time from him on one occasion.

It's wonderful to be working with such an interesting and successful writer, whose Another Country (play and film, both featuring Rupert Everett), although his best-known work, is but one among many acclaimed dramatic and prose achievements, including much television work and the screenplay of the biopic Wilde. Julian is currently attending the rehearsals of his new play, an adaptation of The Good Soldier, the novel by Ford Madox Ford. This will play at the Theatre Royal Bath from July, and may then migrate to London.


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