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January 2004

My latest novel These Foolish Things is published in February. I shall be talking about it at various venues – Harrow Words Live on 8 March; the Spitalfields Festival, London, on 9 March; the Hay Festival, the Du Maurier Festival and the Edinburgh Festival, all later on in the spring and early summer; and the Daily Mail Literary Lunch on March 17th. Probably other places too, yet to be finalized. I’ll also be teaching at the Arvon Foundation (Lumb Bank) in June.


Despite being just about to shoot, the film of Tulip Fever has been cancelled due to the surprise move of the Inland Revenue to close a tax loophole used by film financiers. This literally happened overnight, costing scores of jobs and the loss of 12,000 rare tulips specially planted to flower during filming (somehow this was the worst thing of all).Such a waste of all that effort – six years of it – and talent (Jude Law was to star, Tom Stoppard had written the screenplay, John Madden was to direct it…) Too depressing for words. Still, the novel will always be there, and maybe they can rescue the film at a later date. “Pride and Prejudice” should also be shooting this summer. Working Title are producing it. No idea about cast at this stage.


Another project I’m working on is a film called “The Lion Children”. Last autumn I went to Botswana and stayed in the bush with an extraordinary family, who have been researching lions there: Kate Nicholls, her partner Pieter Kat and several of her five children (Emily, Travers, Angus, Maisie and Oakley) who have written a book about growing up in the middle of one of the last great wildernesses on earth, doing vital work for lion conservation.


I’m also adapting my novel “The Stand-In” as a Hollywood movie.