I’m looking forward to meeting and talking with Isobel Abulhoul. I have heard and read so much about her. The more I do, the more impressed I am with who she is and what she has done and is doing to help spread literacy and tolerance throughout the Emirates.
Which book has inspired you the most?
John Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I look at the notes I scribbled on the pad next to my bed the night before, just after my wife and I have turned out the lights. Why the ideas for the next day’s scenes (sometimes complete with dialog!) come to me at this moment is a mystery that cannot and should not be solved. Sometimes, when I have dialog to write, I’ll get out of bed, go into the bathroom, close the door, and put on the light to write by. I would not be able to sleep if I didn’t.
What is your life’s motto?
Be the best person I can be. And to do that never stop learning, about people, about the world, about my art.
Our theme for the 2017 Festival is Journeys. Can you tell us which journeys in your life have been most memorable?
Three spring to mind. My wife and I have travelled all over Africa. Being alone in the bush with the animals, watching nature at work, feeling free of the hatreds, prejudices, and jealousies endemic to the human condition was astonishing in its power. The happiness I felt there was unparalleled. Then there was the time we went to Bali and Java. The Balinese people are so wonderful, so kind, generous of spirit, and serene it made us want to know more about their unique form of Hinduism that incorporates Indonesian animism, so very unlike that of India, for instance. Then traveling to Java to see Borobudur, the Mahayana Buddhist temple complex, the largest in the world, at sunrise was magical. As was our visit to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex. Oddly enough, considering the bloody history of Cambodia, I’ve never been anywhere else that approached the utter peacefulness of Angkor.