As a writer and photographer I travel between my life in Toronto, my life in Antigua, and anywhere else my wanderings may take me ... writing my books and enjoying local arts and adventures along the way.

Nobel Prize Winner Orhan Pamuk Runs Amok at Book Signing?

Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk

Nobel Prize Winner Runs Amok at Book Signing

Chained to the desk where he sat signing autographs … either by expectation or by contractual obligation, Orhan Pamuk faced an enthusiastic and appreciative line of fans eagerly waiting to have their copies of his book signed. Some of them carried two or three. The line stretched around the entranceway of the theatre where he had just given a reading … straining the capacity of the theatre. The sheer number of people waiting for this likely once in a lifetime meeting allowed no possibility of him getting up for a break without leaving someone with a disappointment that they would take to their grave. Writers dream of big book signings like this with good reason … due to the steady escape of the written word into the electronic aether of the internet, the nation’s reading of printed literary publications is trending downwards as fast as the attention spans of online gamers. These big signings are becoming more and more rare.
Struggling with my own need for instant gratification I left my copy of his book “Snow” in my bag and settled for taking a portrait of the great man. I watched him … looking for a special moment of connection with a fan so that I could capture it. There was a smile here, and a pose there so that fans could have their picture taken with him. The line’s onslaught of books to sign continued … I waited for the moment I would capture. I got up from where I kneeled taking pictures and stretched a little. I didn’t know whether Orhan Pamuk had even been able to move … I didn’t perceive the slightest shift of his position sitting in his chair but having stared at the same place so long I was no longer sure I could trust my eyes. I salivated over the book buying hoardes his writing had attracted … well deserved after long years honing his craft. Yet my daydream of having a meaningful conversation with the Nobel Laureate … talking shop writer to writer … began to be replaced with a wish for his escape. There was no escape except that represented by the image “Nobel prize winner runs amok at book signing” that repeatedly popped into my head. I began to feel a little dread of being too famous. I took his picture.

Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk


An Endless Sea of Adoring Fans

Chained to the desk where he sat signing autographs … I guessed either by expectation or by contractual obligation, Orhan Pamuk faced an appreciative line of fans eagerly waiting to have their copies of his book signed. Some of them carried two or three. The line stretched around the entranceway where he had just come from giving a reading … straining the capacity of the theatre. The sheer number of people waiting for this likely once in a lifetime meeting allowed no possibility of him getting up for a break without leaving someone with a disappointment that they would take bitterly to their grave. Writers dream of big book signings like this with good reason … due to the steady escape of the written word into the electronic aether of the internet, the nation’s reading of printed literature of any genre is trending downwards as fast as the attention spans of online gamers. These big signings are becoming more and more rare.

My Own Struggles

Struggling with my own need for instant gratification I left my copy of his book “Snow” in my bag and settled for taking a portrait of the great man. I watched him … looking for a special moment of connection with a fan so that I could capture it. There was a smile here, and a pose there so that fans could have their picture taken with him. The line’s onslaught of books to sign continued … and I waited for the moment I would capture. I got up from where I kneeled taking pictures and stretched a little. I didn’t know whether Orhan Pamuk had even been able to move slightly … I didn’t perceive any shift of his position but having stared so long at the same place where he sat in his chair  I was no longer sure I could trust my eyes. I salivated over the book buying hoardes his writing had attracted … well deserved after long years honing his craft. Yet my unreasonable daydream of having a meaningful conversation with the Nobel Laureate … talking shop writer to writer (and maybe even giving him the copy of my book “In the Rum Shop” that I carried in my pocket) … began to be replaced with a wish for his escape. There was no escape except that represented by the image “Nobel prize winner runs amok at book signing” that repeatedly popped into my head. I began to feel a little dread of being too famous. I took his picture.

The Toronto skyline hidden behind razor wire near the docks at night. This picture was taken on the way back from the International Festival of Authors.

The Toronto skyline hidden behind razor wire near the docks at night. This picture was taken on the way back from the International Festival of Authors.

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