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Summer 2005

The film of “Pride and Prejudice” will be released
on 16 September in this country, and November in the USA. It
does look pretty wonderful, I must say, and you can download
a trailer at www.prideandprejudicemovie.net
I showed some clips from it at the Hay Festival, and explained how the various
scenes happened, what the actors did with them, how the director Joe Wright
filmed them and so on. I’ll be doing this event again at the Folkestone
Literary Festival in September, in the library at Goodnestone Park, Kent, which
has a connection to Jane Austen through her brother’s marriage. This
sounds a rather magical place to see it. I’m sure there’ll be a
lot of other events happening, too, around the time of the film’s release,
and will tell you about them when I hear. Or email me at the usual address,


Meanwhile I’m rather slowly working on the second draft
of my screenplay for “These Foolish Things”. Slowly
because it’s summer and I keep nipping out to go swimming
in the ponds on Hampstead Heath (we had a traumatic battle during
the past winter to keep them open, and for the moment have won).
I do have a lot of delaying tactics and avoidance routines, of
course. These include cleaning out my hens, deleting Nigerian
spam and downloading desirable properties in the Cotswolds. The
most regular one, however, is taking the dog out onto the Heath.
The trouble is, Giancarlo Neri’s vast installation “The
Writer” has just been installed there. It’s a huge,
empty table and chair – a monument, says the sculptor,
to “the loneliness of the writer”. I would replace
that with “the guilt of the writer”. Honestly, when
one’s escaping from work the last thing one wants to see
is a 30 foot-high reminder that one should be back at ones desk.

Another avoidance technique is doing slightly worthy things
for other causes. For instance, I’ve just taken part in
a short film about cycling in London, and how the city can be
made safer for cyclists. I’ve been helping to organize
events for English PEN, the writers’ organization that
campaigns for freedom of speech (for more information go to their
website www.englishpen.org).

Lots of things like that, but they don’t exactly get the books written,
do they? I have a feeling that life might take off in a completely new direction
soon, though God knows how. Maybe when “These Foolish Things” becomes
a reality, and we start outsourcing the elderly to retirement homes in India,
I might become an entrepreneur. I keep meeting people who are thinking along
these lines – really, the novel is rather prophetic. But then again I’m
a hopeless businesswoman; that’s why I write novels. So speculating on
all those other possibilities is really just another way of avoiding opening
the file marked “Second Draft”.
Have a great summer.