Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Left Field: the story behind the story

Bakery cat & me, Mostar, Bosnia, 1994
My husband's first book, Left Field: the memoir of a life-long activist, will be published by Unbound in April. 

My involvement with it began at its inception when we were on holiday in Dalmatia and he began telling me stories about his ex father-in-law who was a skilled fisherman. As he related his memories, I grabbed my laptop and started furiously touch typing. Afterwards, I urged him to write a short story based on these fascinating notes which became "Ivo's Boat", one of the first chapters in his book. 

When David was sacked by the charity he had founded for being a whistleblower, I encouraged him to write—not only about that painful experience—but also to put on paper his extraordinary life which included his war experiences in Bosnia, the founding of the Pavarotti Music Centre where he was its first director, and also his time as a film maker, art agent, playwright and anti-war activist. As the writer in the family, over the next ten years, I went through numerous drafts and revisions, shaping, polishing and naming the chapters. 

When Left Field was accepted for publication, David wanted to acknowledge my behind-the-scenes' contributions by giving them an article I had written in 1994 during my first trip to the former Yugoslavia, which was then a war zone. "Behind God's Back" was almost published by The New Republic, but because I felt I could not cut it, remained unpublished. However, Unbound did because it expanded on the Mostar chapters in my husband's book. 

When he had a brain operation in December 2014, I made notes about this terrifying time and worked them up for the memoir which became the chapter titled "Green grocer, vet and judge". He had little memory of what had happened to him as the result of his subdural haematoma. You can read a version of this at Huffington Post.

Sir Tom Stoppard has endorsed the book by saying that 'David Wilson has lived a life and a half.' Brian Eno has called Left Field 'an excellent and inspiring book'.

The launch will be at Waterstones, Piccadilly, in early May. Full details to follow. If you pledge to buy the book before 31 January, your name will appear in the credits. 

Stay tuned . . .