Postcard from Amsterdam

I got to Amsterdam on Monday, for the launch of the Dutch edition of the book. Regine, my publisher, showed me the edition on the train from the airport. It has a beautiful colour reproduction of Raphael’s School of Athens on the inside cover:

Two evenings ago I did a talk at De Rode Hoed (‘the redhead’, appropriately enough), then today and yesterday I did newspaper and magazine interviews – three today, for almost four hours! – plus two photoshoots, in which I fear I look pale and slightly wasted. The interviews were in a hotel called the Ambassade, which apparently is where writers always stay – their visitors book was full of the names of heroes of mine – on this page, for example, Richard Dawkins’ signature is on the left, and John Gray’s on the right. I wonder if they hung out together, hit the town etc…

This is the library where I did my interviews. Every book is by a writer who has stayed there: Gunter Grass, Jonathan Coe, Martin Amis, Jung Chang, Michael Burleigh…A lot of books, in short.

I hope the interviews went OK…I enjoyed them anyway. The photoshoots not so much but the photographers assured me they can do wonders with Photoshop these days! And I saw a copy of my book in the local Waterstones, with a nice note beneath it:

I’m staying in a really lovely B&B on Herenstraat (or something like that). The B&B is run by a very nice couple. Their daughter, Sophie, is a successful writer, and wrote a book about her experience of having cancer when she was 21. She’s also a model, and is clearly better at photoshoots than me. This is the bedroom I’m staying in, overlooking the canal:

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