London is like an old friend. This weekend, I’m grabbing a Virgin Atlantic flight from SFO to Heathrow to attend the London Literature Festival — now in its 12th year — and visit some of my favorite places.
“This year we invite you on a journey across centuries and borders to celebrate the power of literature to reflect on the world in which we live,” according to the Festival guide. “Our journey takes in everything from a celebration of Homer’s Odyssey to an examination of contemporary America in the lead-up to the midterm elections.”
On Tuesday night, I secured tickets to hear author Salman Rushdie speak in a program titled “From Midnight’s Children to Trump’s America.” Rushdie’s latest novel is The Golden House, “a satirical and incisive anatomy of contemporary American politics.”
Rushdie’s publication of Satanic Verses in September 1988 caused immediate controversy in the Islamic world because some saw it as irreverent. A year later, a fatwā ordering Rushdie’s execution was proclaimed on Radio Tehran by Ayatollah Khomeini.
I’m also booked tickets to see Agatha Christie’s”Mousetrap” in the West End Theater District, along with Hollywood film composer and conductor Bryan Tyler directing the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
I look forward to reading London’s broadsheet newspapers, a walk in St. James Park, a ride on the London Eye, Indian food at Gymkhana, Dover sole at Wilton’s (see video) and breakfast at The Wolseley — all favorite spots. My wife and son will hold down the fort at home until I return next weekend. I’ll file a report or two while on the road.