See you in Iasi…

Exciting… I’m finally getting up to Iasi …

Iasi launch

 

With Editura All, I’m launching the book at 11.00 hrs on Saturday morning, 13th May at the book fair, so I hope I’ll see you there.

I’ll be in the city from Friday evening till Sunday morning and look forward to exploring a little. Pe curând!

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Nice surprise this morning

Blue Air spread

Thanks to Dean Edgar, flying on Blue Air this morning. The in-flight magazine has this spread – Dean snapped it and sent it to me. The joys of smartphones…!

Simplă, tristă și veselă

A thorough and very favourable review has been published on the blog cyberculture.ro by George Hari Popescu.

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“Cartea pare o colecție de schițe, dar întîmplările se adună frumos, pentru a crea tabloul general al despărțirii autoarei de țara natală și integrării ei în satul românesc. Arabella McIntyre Brown îmbină evocarea cu observația și liricul. După ce explică de ce a decis să emigreze, povestește greutățile prin care a trecut ca să vîndă totul acolo și să o ia de la capăt aici. Ne descrie în detaliu modul în care a renovat micuța casă din Măgura. Ne face părtași la primele ei constatări despre așezare, oameni, satul și statul român. Unele capitole sunt mici lecții de botanică și zoologie, altele sunt scurte lucrări de etnografie și folclor. Aproape fiecare “schiță” se încheie cu bucuria ei de a fi acolo și din volum transpare o oarecare stimă de sină determinată de faptul că a avut curajul de a se muta.

“Cred că veți fi surprinși de faptul că această englezoaică face o radiografie foarte exactă a României și a satului românesc, după cîțiva ani de ședere la Măgura. Mai mult decît atît, veți constata că Arabella McIntyre Brown pur și simplu iubește aceste locuri și se simte integrată aproape perfect. Pe un ton amabil și cald, ea ne îndeamnă în mod subtil să apreciem ce avem lîngă noi și să ne simțim privilegiați că încă avem valori care au pierit de mult din alte părți ale Europei.

“Recomand cartea pentru că…..

Read the whole review here.

Cooking up a storm on Romanian TV

Delia, Jamie, Nigel, Heston: move over. A new TV chef has arrived…

Before Christmas I got an astonishing invitation to come and do some cooking on camera.

happy-food-still-chillisHere you can see me and Vlad, the charming presenter, being hit by a high-Scoville wave of heat from an innocent-looking chilli pepper we’d just eaten.

Apart from our heads exploding with spice, it was amazing fun. And while I don’t expect to worry any famous TV chefs, it was a great new experience and I’m grateful to the team at Happy Day for the chance to chop chillis on the telly. The crew certainly seem to relish every dish once the cameras were switched off…

See the three 8-minute shows here.

Sunteti in Brasov? Petrecere, vineri! / Are you in and around Brasov? Party on Friday evening!

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În seara de vineri, 16 decembrie, are loc în Braşov lansarea cărţii mele şi m-aş bucura tare mult dacă mi-aţi fi alături.

Vă veţi putea bucura de:

  • o tombolă cu multe premii delicioase
  • un interviu telefonic cu Ranulph Fiennes, cel mai mare explorator în viaţă din lume (şi văr al actorilor Ralph şi Joe), care a semnat Cuvântul-înainte al cărții
  • colinde cântate de copiii de la şcoala din Măgura (îmbrăcaţi în costume populare)
  • o scurtă, dar fascinantă intervenţie a lui Dan Marin, unul dintre cei buni ghizi turistici din lume
  • ocazia de a-mi pune orice întrebare doriţi în legătură cu volumul sau cu viaţa mea în Transilvania
  • gustul minunat al chutney-ul de casă pregătit chiar de mine, din mere româneşti, alături de brânza organică făcută de păstorii din Zărneşti, precum şi de o prăjitură de casă delicioasă.

Programul va fi distractiv, dar scurt, aşa încât vom avea timp pentru a ne relaxa şi a discuta pe îndelete. Vă veţi întâlni cu câteva dintre personajele din carte, putând, totodată, să achiziţionaţi o mulţime de exemplare – cadouri minunate de sărbători, cu care îi veţi încânta pe cei dragi… mai ales că vor purta autograful autoarei!

Evenimentul va avea loc la Librăria Okian (Str Mureşenilor, lângă Orange, telefon 0728 728 315) și începe la ora 6pm (18.00). Am rugămintea de a vă confirma prezența, precum și de a mă anunța de câți prieteni veți fi însoțiți. Nu întârziați, riscați să pierdeți lucruri absolut minunate… Ne vedem acolo! xx

English:

Next Friday evening, 16th December, my book is being launched in Brasov and I’d love it if you could be there with us.

You will find:

– a prize draw with lots of delicious things to win

– a phone interview with Ranulph Fiennes, the world’s greatest living explorer (and cousin to actors Ralph and Joe), who wrote the foreword to the book

– colinde sung by children from Magura school (in traditional dress)

– a short but fascinating talk by Dan Marin, one of the world’s top tourist guides

– the chance to ask me any questions you have about the book or my life in Transylvania

– a taste of my home-made Christmas apple chutney with some organic cheese from Zarnesti’s shepherds, plus my home-made cake.

We’re keeping the programme entertaining, but short, so we all have plenty of time to relax and talk, meet some of the characters from the book, buy lots of books to cross all the names off your Christmas present list… and get them signed!

The event is at Okian librarie (Str Muresenilor, next to Orange, tel 0728 728 315) and starts at 6pm (18.00). Please let me know if you are coming, and how many friends you are bringing along. Don’t be late or you might miss something… See you there! xx

Latest interview in vocea.biz

Journalist Ioana Nicolescu’s latest interview in online journal Vocea.biz is here, but below is a rather bad translation (Google Translate + me):

img_1236-me-writing-in-snowBritish writer Arabella McIntyre-Brown has lived for six years in a village on top of Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, and is committed to never leaving Romania. She bought a house in Magura village and moved there permanently in 2010. This month she has published a book about her life in Magura, which she wrote over several years. “It’s been a while since I published a book, I think eight years. It’s great to get back into the world of books. How did I realize I should write a book about my life here? It’s simple – it’s Transylvania, and people from outside the country are very curious about this place; Transylvania is one of the most romantic names in the world.

“For years I’ve been writing notes about my life here – not regularly, but occasionally I’d put my thoughts on paper. I remember the first time I heard the sound of the scythe as it cut the grass and saw people scything the meadow, it was like a ballet. In the book I wrote a little about my life in England, for readers to understand where I come from and why I make this parallel between Romania and Liverpool. I write mostly about my life in the village, about animals around the house, about my cats, about the rhythm of life here, in the heart of the mountains,” she said in an earlier interview for Vocea.biz.

She says that many foreigners do not believe that Transylvania is a real place. “I get the impression that people believe Transylvania is a mystical realm, like Ruritania, or Avalon in the legend of King Arthur, because they read about it in a book. When they hear that I really live there, they’re amazed, and ask me How is it possible? How is life there? Are there vampires?” says Arabella, laughing.

She says that the brand of “Transylvania” is very strong, one of the strongest tourism brands in the world, and surely the most famous brand name in Romania: everyone has heard of Transylvania.  Romania gets rather negative publicity, and this is often the perception of foreigners. Romanians are aware that the outside world does not have a good opinion of their country. “People are fascinated but know nothing about Romania. The stories that we hear in the UK are quite negative. For example, when I moved from London to Liverpool, people said I was crazy, because the country had a negative perception of Liverpool. In the case of Romania, the world does not know what is actually here and make assumptions based on limited information. They get their information from the right-wing press, which appears to be ignorant of anything outside the UK. It’s very similar to what Liverpool had to put up with for years.

When I first went to Liverpool and Romania, I noticed that in both places, people apologised for the city, for their country. Romanians and Liverpool residents are proud of their birthplaces, but at the same time are aware that the outside world does not have a good opinion of them, so they asked: ‘You like it here?’ Obviously I really liked it, I’d just bought a house there,” said the British writer.

Once local people learn about her story, the first question they ask  is “Why did you move here?” After finding out that she’s been here for six years, they ask “How come you haven’t left yet?”

“Why ask me that? For years the foreign press and even the media in Romania said that the country is ugly and that its people are lazy and dishonest, which is a colossal stupidity. This is the level of intelligence of the British tabloid press and their readers; this very distorted image of Romania has been absorbed here and has destroyed people’s confidence over the years,” said Arabella.

She mentioned what she first knew about Romania. “Immediately after the revolution, I heard about the execution of Ceausescu; I even kept newspapers from that day because it was something shocking. I didn’t know anything much about Romania – it wasn’t generally discussed in the UK outside specialist circles. I met my first Romanian in Liverpool – a young man who helped to illustrate one of my books – and his parents, both doctors: wonderful people. I first came to Romania in 2003 to do a short course in Zarnesti. It has changed a lot since then. What I remember is that people were very eager to know that we were enjoying ourselves and we liked it here. It was superb. We were taken by horse and carriage up to Magura and I felt great, as though I had gone back in time to 1960s’ Sussex, where I grew up. I went home after the holiday, but the next year I bought a house here,” said Arabella. The decision to move here came after some tragedy in her life. Several family members died within about 14 months, first her sister, then her aunt, and her mother. “I became overwhelmed – it’s hard to describe what happened, but I was not able to think straight; I couldn’t work, so there was no way to pay my bills. I realised that I had a house in Romania and I could move here, so I sold the house in Liverpool and in July 2010 I settled here, “said the writer.

Neighbours were already accustomed to her eccentric presence and received her with open arms. “Few people in the village spoke English, but I knew a little Romanian – very limited, but it was okay; one of my neighbours is a teacher at the village school and speaks English, so I have someone to talk to if my Romanian language fails. I’m something of a hermit, I like to be alone, I do not want to be disturbed. If I do not see anyone for a week, and it’s just me with my cats, it’s okay. What I love is that the rural world is full of life, of nature; it’s not always silent, but the sounds are animals and birds, not the sound of city traffic,” she said. Life here reminds her of her life as a child in the famous English country landscape. “I loved animals, and was given a piglet – we were friends even when she was fully grown and had piglets of her own.

“I think the reason I feel at home in Magura is that the earth itself is made of the same elements: chalk and limestone, and both places have the same animals and plants. I immediately felt something in the air here, I was back in my element.

“Another reason Magura is an ideal location,” she added, “is the cost of living. I heard recently that the fifteenth century house where I was born was sold for over two million pounds. My home here cost 1% of this price.

“I’m very lucky,” said Arabella.

TEDx and Vocea offer evidence

A couple of stories have appeared today, in the TEDx Brasov magazine (which has a link to my TEDx talk in May) and Vocea.biz. Thanks to Tibi Ruczui, Ioana Niculescu and Miruna Tudor.

This piece follows on from my TEDx talk in May, about creativity, imagination and innovation.  “Imaginaţie, creativitate, inovaţie. Toate reprezintă acelaşi lucru, corect? 
În realitate, de fapt, sunt trei lucruri total diferite.” Astfel şi-a început Arabella, englezoaică de provenienţă, discursul….  Read more 

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A piece in today’s Vocea.biz, about the launch on Saturday. “Cu o pălărie mare tip joben și o pană prinsă chiar pe mijloc, Arabella McIntyre-Brown atrage imediat privirile publicului care s-a adunat la târgul de carte Gaudeamus ce are loc în acest weekend la Romexpo în București. „Din Liverpool în Carpați”, cartea pe care o lansează astăzi, este despre viața pe care o trăiește într-un sat din inima Transilvaniei, Măgura, despre oamenii de acolo, despre animalele din sat, despre natură și despre liniștea sufletească pe care Arabella a găsit-o aici, în România, unde dorește să rămână….” Read more

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Photo: Ioana Niculescu

 

A savoury little bomb of taste

A plate of cheese, chutney and black grapes

Apple & ginger chutney, home-made in Magura

Come and try a tiny taste bomb of Romanian mountain cheese and homemade apple & ginger chutney, with one of Rachel Sargent’s freshly made cheese scones and a sip of Alan Clark’s cider – just for you when you come to my book launch on Saturday. A classic British treat with a Romanian twist – a bit like the book, really…

Look, look – book’s here!

Book Din Liverpool in Carpati against snowy landscape

Monochrome setting, colourful book

The book, with half the number of authorial hands that typed it. Of the individuals on the cover, the bear is behind a tree on the left; the sheep are huddled just behind the book, the horse is in her stable, birds are fluffed up on their perches, dog’s in his kennel, and cats are all snuggled up in their beds by the fire in my study. I’m the fool with her hand out of the window…

Shakespear joins me in the limelight at Gaudeamus

stabilit_in_romania-c1-420x600I’m delighted to tell you that my compatriot, fellow writer Nigel Shakespear, is also launching his book at Gaudeamus on 19th November.

As you can see from the cover design, which has the same style as mine, Nigel’s book is part of Editura All’s new series revealing Romania through foreign eyes. Nigel’s book was originally published in English, as Times New Romanian (great title) and will now reach Romanian readers as Stabilit în România: unde orice e posibil, totul e imposibil si nimic nu e ceea ce pare a fi

Nigel’s launch is at 7pm (1900 hrs), so you’ll have plenty of time to buy your copies of my book and get me to sign them before Nigel’s event.

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