The Morges literary festival is this year playing host to anglophone writers Val McDermid, Andy McNab, Louise Doughty and Martin Sixsmith – of Philomena fame – among others. I’ll be one of the lucky animatrices asking the questions. This festival just goes from strength to strength. The lakefront at Morges is a fabulous place to be when the sun is shining, which may be one reason why writers like to stop there come the rentrée. It runs over the weekend of 5-7 September and the programme is here. Entry is free.
ONE day in September 2005 Sarah Tomkins went to the top of the stairs to wave her daughter Caitlin off to the village school. Still in her pyjamas because she was feeling under the weather, she suddenly felt lightheaded. Before six-year-old Caitlin knew what was happening, her mother was lying at the bottom of the wooden staircase with blood on her face. Tomkins’s fall that day resulted in a massive haemorrhage that destroyed the front left-hand side of her brain. If it hadn’t been for quick-thinking Caitlin, who immediately phoned her grandmother, Tomkins would have died. As it was she spent three weeks in a coma before she opened her eyes. For the next couple of months doctors could elicit no response from her and diagnosed her as being in a vegetative state (VS). Then they began to see fleeting signs that she was aware of her surroundings. The diagnosis changed to minimally conscious state (MCS), and Tomkins was moved to a rehabilitation centre at Leamington Spa, where she came under the care of the neurological rehabilitation consultant Derar Badwan…
This article first appeared in the Telegraph Magazine on 22 March 2014. To continue reading click here.
Former racing car driver Michael Schumacher’s prognosis is still uncertain following a skiing accident in late December 2013, though he has recently come out of a coma:
Lausanne is a cosmopolitan city located at the heart of Europe. Viewing it as a microcosm of the continent as a whole, Laura Spinney goes out to meet its inhabitants. The result is a portrait of a European city painted in the words of the people who live and work there. Encountered in the street, in their bedroom, on a barge or in the belfry of the cathedral, 68 individuals talk about their hopes, their fears and their daily lives. Bankers, prostitutes, illegal immigrants, pillars of the community… Word by word, from the grassroots up, they build a city in Europe at the beginning of the 21st century.
Un portrait d’une ville européenne, Lausanne, peint par les mots des personnes qui y habitent ou qui y travaillent. Rencontrés dans la rue, dans leur chambre, sur une barge ou dans le beffroi de la cathédrale, soixante-huit personnes parlent de leurs espoirs, de leurs inquiétudes et de leur vie quotidienne. Banquiers, prostituées, clandestins, piliers de la communauté… mot par mot, du sol au ciel, ils construisent une ville en Europe au début du 21ème siècle.