Interview with watercolour artist, Frances Simpson (my sister-in-law)

Frances Simpson – Kenyan watercolour artist

‘Interview’ is quite a grand word for what was really a snatch of questions, but I did manage a few. Here’s what I found.

Frances Simpson (known to many as Franny) has painted in watercolour for years, encouraged, she told me, by her husband’s wedding gift to her…a studio.

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Interview (2012) with Allen Parton founder of Hounds For Heroes

In 2012 I read a book called Endal about a yellow labrador and his owner Allen Parton. This interview followed, and was written up before The Phraser existed.

The Phraser

Article written for Round & About magazine, new content coming soon!  http://www.roundandaboutssh.co.uk/pdfs/editions/2012/GU26/march.pdf

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Interview: Jem Rolls on Performance Poetry and the Fringes

So pleased to discover this in amongst the early Phraser pieces. Originally I split the interview into two parts – here I have put them together. My thanks always to Jem Rolls for allowing me the interview.

The Phraser

Jem Rolls - Performance Poet Jem Rolls – Performance Poet

Jem Rolls – a tall, intense performance poet with over two decades experience – first performed his poetry on stage at the age of 31. He began in London, took his work to Edinburgh, and has spent many summers performing on the Canadian Fringes.  

Here he explains the art of the performance poet, and touches on the life and challenges that come with it.

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The courage to save the animals – interview with Meryl Harrison

One of the early interviews on The Phraser: Meryl Harrison, the lady who drove towards the chaos on Zimbabwe’s farms to help the animals as Mugabe’s land redistribution programme gained momentum.

The Phraser

Meryl Harrison of the ZNSPCA who led animal rescues at the time of Zimbabwe's chaotic land redistribution programme Meryl Harrison of the ZNSPCA who led animal rescues at the time of Zimbabwe’s chaotic land redistribution programme (photographed in England in 2012)

Ten years ago the BBC presented Meryl Harrison with a Special Award for Outstanding Work in Animal Welfare. Her ‘outstanding work‘ was done on Zimbabwe’s farms whilst Mugabe’s chaotic land redistribution programme was in full surge.

This was in the early 2000s.

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Interview with Barnaby Rogerson: Part II – Eland and travel writing

Open day at Eland Publishing in December 2017

Open Day at Eland Publishing in December 2017

It is late November 2017, and I am with Barnaby Rogerson, author and expert on North Africa, whose latest book, In Search of Ancient North Africa – A History in Six Lives, has just been published.

This is the second part of our interview and the focus is on travel writing in general and on Eland, the publishing house where he is a director.

We are in the Eland hub – books are everywhere.

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Interview with Barnaby Rogerson: Part I – North Africa

Barnaby Rogerson (in the white shirt) with Nigel Barley (author of the Innocent Anthropologist). The photograph was taken at the Eland Open Day in early December 2017.

Barnaby Rogerson (in the white shirt) with Nigel Barley (author of The Innocent Anthropologist). The photograph was taken at the Eland Open Day in early December 2017.

The day is sunny, the bus ride easy, and the grey door is exactly where it should be. There are no signs … just a button to press, and then a set of narrow grey stairs to follow in a spiral to the top.

I climb the smooth steps and at the top a door is open. Just inside a tall, elegant, eager dog waits to say hello. Beside the dog is a slightly less-leggy man. He is, as I presume, Barnaby Rogerson, author of In Search of Ancient North Africa – a History in Six Lives, and one of the directors of Eland Publishing.

Behind them both is a book-filled den.

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Interview: Bonnie Alberts of Napoli Unplugged

A look back (first published 11 January 2016): I have to declare an interest here … if it wasn’t for Bonnie Alberts and the power of Napoli Unplugged I know my writing about Naples would have fizzled into nothing. Somehow she, and Penny Ewles-Bergeron, found The Phraser and their encouragement keeps coming. So … how did I begin to find my way around Naples? One of my first ways in was with the website Napoli Unplugged and later with the book – the Napoli Unplugged Guide to Naples. Of course there were others but none of them had Bonnie Alberts based in the centro storico, keen to communicate (in English!), and passionate about the city. A top tip (and it’s not because of the debt owed) is that if you want to explore Naples, either in person or from your sofa, their guidebook is like a richly carved doorway into the hidden, and the un-hidden. It talks to you … so, you will find, does the city.

The Phraser

Bonnie Alberts - one of the four authors of the Napoli Unplugged Guid to Naples Bonnie Alberts – one of the four authors of the Napoli Unplugged Guide to Naples

“I don’t see how an American can ask me if Naples is safe!”

Bonnie Alberts is an American, a well-travelled American, who has lived in Naples, Italy for a decade.

“I don’t understand the reputation – it’s a breathing, working city.”

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