An Interview with Painter / Printmaker Maureen Booth

I want to share with you the interview we did yesterday with my wife Maureen, the artist. This 10-minute video chat is thanks to the extreme kindness of our good friend, Juan Carlos Romera, who is a prize-winning producer and director of documentaries and short films. In fact, Maureen had one of the leading roles a couple of years ago in his 38-minute short, Bive, in which she played a British artist living in a Mediterranean village who falls in love with a Spanish fisherman. (You can see an account of the shooting of Bive here on World Printmakers, and the video of the film’s trailer here.)

It was Juan Carlos’s idea to shoot yesterday’s interview and upload it to YouTube. It was a lot of fun making it, and it’s great to see it online. I hope you agree.

If the painter sounds exceptionally cheeky for an interview, it’s because it’s her husband who is asking the questions. He’s cheaper.


Banned Arab Intellectuals Speak Out in Granada

Hay Festival Alhambra Provides the Forum

Mourid BarghoutiGranada is hosting an edition of the Hay Festival this week. This event started out as a modest book festival in the Welsh town of Hay on Wye in 1988, but has since developed into a major itinerant international cultural event. This year’s Granada version includes talks by some distinguished spokesmen for the Arab/Muslim cause, so Maureen and I went down to hear what they had to say.

The first speaker was the Palestinian poet, Mourid Barghouti, a native of Ramallah. Today Barghouti is a tall, impeccably-dressed, white-haired elder poet/statesman, an eloquent spokesman for the Palestinian cause. He was a young man finishing an English literature degree in Cairo when the 1967 Six Day War broke out. Unable to return to his homeland Barghouti spent the next 30 years in a cruel exile which began in Egypt. But on the occasion of Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Israel in 1977, Barghouti was deported and separated from his wife (the novelist and university professor, Radwa Ashour) and only child for the better part of 17 years. During this time he lived mainly in Budapest, where he was Palestinian cultural attaché and PLO representative in the World Federation of Democratic Youth. Continue reading


Angel Olgoso, portrait by Angeles PrietoMaureen is always dragging me off to music recitals and poetry readings. The other night it was the presentation of a new book of short, short stories, in one of Granada’s many historic palaces which have been renovated by the town hall for public use. There was no way I could get out of it as the publisher, Miguel Angel Arcas of Cuadernos del Vigía is a friend, the only intellectual I know prepared to come out early on a Sunday morning to hunt mushrooms with me. So I was not about to let him down. Continue reading