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Updates from Rome writer, Linda Lappin

a stupa of stones on the shore of Lake Bolsena
sun setting over Lake Bolsena

Reluctant Spring

Spring returns with its uncertainties of weather and a general struggle to keep on with creative projects. After over two years of pandemic restrictions and limitations, we face a terrifying new calamity, war on the outskirts of Europe as Covid cases begin to rise again.

My family continues to live in our little bubble as on an island, praying for peace and doing what we can. And yet, writing helps keep me sane, all the arts keep us human, and on that note I write these lines to report my progress.

If you have followed my Instagram posts you’ll have seen the details of our daily village life in a very ancient house –the rustic moments, meditative walks along Bolsena lake, Etruscan ramblings, country cooking, all interspersed with short stays in our authentic, blue-collar Roman neighborhood.

My work has been leading me more and more into dramatization and narrating, and I was delighted to perform a reading of Loving Modigliani for Story Time at ParisUndergroundRadio, available for free streaming at StoryTime

At the end of last year, I teamed up with FranceBookTours for a book fete featuring Katherine’s Wish, my novel about the life of Katherine Mansfield and with Yorick Radio Productions to create a radio play based on a chapter of that novel. What came out of that is “A Public of Two,” brought to life by young actors in the UK. Celebrating the friendship between Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf, the play debuted on March 8th, International Women’s Day.

Here's a synopsis of the radio play: In the summer of 1920, Mansfield received a frequent visitor to her London home: Virginia Woolf. Once a week, Woolf took the train from Richmond, disembarking at Hampstead Heath, and walked the rest of the way to Mansfield’s house at 2 Portland Villas. In Mansfield’s studio overlooking the garden, the two women would discuss the craft of writing. Keen fascination with each other’s work and life and a sharp rivalry united them. At summer’s end, Mansfield traveled to France, seeking a cure for her tuberculosis. Katherine and Virginia would not meet again. Mansfield died in France, outside Paris at the Prieuré of Fontainebleau in January 1923.

I wrote the script for the play directed and produced by Rosemary Beech, featuring Ellisha O'Donnell in the role of Katherine Mansfield; Rosemary Beech in the role of Virginia Woolf; Alice Gold in the role of Ida Baker; and Jonty O’ Callaghan in the role of John Middleton Murry, Mansfield’s husband.

"A Public of Two" lasts only twenty minutes, and if you are so inclined, please give it a listen, and if you have the opportunity, leave some feedback to support these young, talented performers on social media.

Their Twitter handle is @RadioYorick ---- FB @Yorickradio

The play is available for free streaming on all major podcast platforms – here are the links to two popular ones Buzzsprout

apple podcasts

Currently I am making plans to record a dramatized audio book of The Etruscan with Yorick Radio Productions, and I am very excited about this prospect.

Other news: Loving Modigliani is a finalist for the Montaigne Medal in the Hoffer Book Awards. This medal is given to “thought-provoking books of distinction.” It’s an honor for my work to be listed for this prize.

My newest writing project has twin-tailed mermaids at the core of the action… I can’t say more than that yet. I have been drawing inspiration from a fabulous book by Selma Sevenhuijsen La Signora Porta del Cielo.

The publisher of Loving Modigliani, SERVING HOUSE BOOKS (SHB) has just come out with a festschrift dedicated to writer Thomas E. Kennedy, author of The Copenhagen Quartet, and co-founder of SHB, who died in 2021. Tom was a friend and mentor to many and connected to the Geneva Writers Group and to the Aegean Art Circle, for which he had taught workshops. The novels of the Quartet are easily found at your local public library. The festschrift contains essays about his work, reviews, and sundry writings. Ask your library to order a copy! It may be purchased from SHB

If you'd like to meet me on social media, you can follow me

on Instagram @linda_lappin_author

On twitter at @LindaLappin1

and on my WordPress blog
https://magiclibrarybomarzo.wordpress.com Until next time, take care

Autumn Updates Katherine's Wish, back in print, goes radio!  Book Giveaway & More

On Halloween it’s said that the veil between the worlds grows thinner – on November first and second, the souls of the dead are believed to be closer to us. It’s a time to remember those we have lost – visit their graves, make pilgrimages to special places, light candles, leave offerings. It’s a time that I remember Katherine Mansfield.

Katherine Mansfield, born on October 14th, made her last journey at the end of October 1922, entering Gurdjieff’s institute at the Prieuré in Fontainebleau outside Paris, where she died ten weeks later. How and why she went there seeking to become a pupil of Gurdjieff’s science of being, has fascinated me for years, and radiates at the core of Katherine’s Wish, my novel tracing the last five years of her life. My research for this novel extended over a decade and produced two essays in addition to a novel. The first, “Ghosts of Fontainebleau” was originally published in the Southwest Review available at JSTOR the second, “Katherine Mansfield and DH Lawrence, A Parallel Quest,” won the Katherine Mansfield Society Essay Award I was pleased to see one of these essays and also the novel included in an excellent resource on Mansfield’s connection to Gurdjieff available on gurdjieff-bibliography.com

Originally published in 2008, winner of the IPPY gold medal in historical fiction and short listed for the ForeWord book of the year in fiction, 2009, Katherine’s Wish received high praise from the Katherine Mansfield Society, the Historical Novel Society from Rain Taxi and from Mel Ulm's fabulous book blog, Re Reading Lives

After languishing out of print, Katherine’s Wish is back in print again, and available at Bookshop Org.

It’s also currently featured on FranceBookTours who are offering a giveaway of the book now extended until Nov. 30. 2021. Direct giveaway link here

Katherine’s Wish is also the core of a new experiment – a radio play, produced in association with YorickRadioProductions in the UK. I worked on the script over the summer with Yorick’s founder, Rosie Beech, and we have now passed on to the rehearsal phase.

I have been working with Yorick since March 2021, when Rosie interviewed me about my latest novel, Loving Modigliani, and also featured a reading from the book on her podcast, available here

In summer, Yorick featured my reading of my story "Mal D’Isola," with sound effects, on her channel, and in October, celebrated Mansfield’s birthday with a vintage podcast of a talk about Mansfield and Katherine’s Wish , followed by a short reading from the final chapter, available here

I am working with some fabulous young British actors, and Rosie Beech is a savvy director as well as a gifted actor. The current episode we are rehearsing now deals with the friendship of Mansfield and Virginia Woolf, and their conversations on writing diaries. As the project continues, I will be posting more about it.

Recent posts on my blog have included a commemoration of Jane Heap and Margaret Anderson’s trial for pornography – after publishing chapters of James Joyce’s Ulysses in their magazine the Little Review – the full text of my essay “Jane Heap & her Circle,” winner of the Hugh J. Luke award, will be available on my website until the end of November. Other recent blogs discuss the fate of PierPaolo Pasolini’s tower in Tuscia, recently sold to private hands.

to sum up:

Book Giveaway for Katherine's Wish at FranceBookTours until Nov. 30th https://giveawaytools2.com/giveaway.php?sk=43499053689

Free Access to my prize winning essay about 2 pioneers in LBGT Literary Publishing Jane Heap & Her Circle on my blog (until Nov. 30) Jane Heap & her Circle

Literary and Theatre Podcasts available at YorickRadioProductions, on all platforms.

Now into our second covid summer, life has unfolded interspersed with short lockdowns since January. The promotion and follow up of my new novel LOVING MODIGLIANI: THE AFTERLIFE OF JEANNE HEBUTERNE , carried me through most of that period, offering a safety valve of escape and distraction, as new writing and multimedia projects took shape.

I am proud to announce that Loving Modigliani won the Women’s Fiction Category in the Indie Reader Discovery Awards and was a finalist in the Daphne DuMaurier Awards. I am grateful to all the readers, reviewers, interviewers, bloggers, judges, and web hosts who warmly endorsed the novel. Special thanks to BonjourParis.com , Fusac.com, Travel Writing World Trip Fiction, the RWA Kiss of Death Chapter, World Radio Paris, Shauna Gilligan @ Writers’ Chat, ByronsMuse, Frenchvillagediaries, the Content Reader, Bonnie Reads, Meredith Mullins, Mel Ulm, among many and FranceBookTours for the attention they gave the book. I was particularly tickled to be featured in the fabulous Paris blog MessyNessyChic.com in the Daily Art Magazine and twice on the Historical Novel Society website – both reviewed and interviewed . I was delighted with the praise the book earned from Kirkus and Indie Reader but was especially pleased with Lisa Coletta’s insightful review in the Italian Insider

Among the highlights of the spring and summer were a Zoom event with 3 other authors inspired and obsessed with the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo – aka the Monster Park, which is the setting and the heart of my mystery novel: Signatures in Stone –A Bomarzo Mystery (overall Daphne DuMaurier winner in 2014). Together with novelists Teresa Cutler Broyles, Gigi Pandian, and historical writer and local expert on the Tuscia, Mary Jane Cryan. we discussed the garden’s history, alchemical associations, and magical atmosphere and read from our works about the garden – youtube link

In May, I participated in an event organized by FranceBookTours, Four French Artists in Fiction with novelists Drema Drudge, Lilianne Milgrom, and Joe Byrd. We read from our novels based on the lives of French artists, discussed them briefly, and took questions from an international audience. Special thanks to Emma of Words and Peace for her work in organizing this very classy event. Lilianne has blogged about the experience for Art in Fiction. A video of the Zoom event may be viewed on youtube

The most exciting project of this period has been a series of audio recordings – which began when World Radio Paris invited me to do a short reading from Loving Modigliani. After that, I was hooked. Years ago, I worked briefly for the RAI as an interpreter for radio interviews, and before that had some theater training. So last spring, I had the opportunity to brush up some skills long forgotten. Over the last four months, I have collaborated three times with Yorick Radio Productions – with a long interview and a reading from Loving Modigliani – followed by a short story with sound effects - MAL D’ISOLA, an unsettling encounter with the spirt of place-- which I recorded with a Yeti mike and audacity. I am planning a longer project with Yorick Radio Productions based on Katherine’s Wish – my novel about the life of Katherine Mansfield. I have also kept up my activity as a reviewer – and am delighted to have reviews already out or forthcoming from the California Review of Books, the Italian Insider, and Rain Taxi. I find that reviewing books by other writers is an excellent discipline for collecting my thoughts and impressions. It’s also an excellent way to attract editors’ attention and create new contacts. If you are having a slump or off period in your work, it’s a good way to focus energies and get writing.