Monday, August 14, 2006

Tiziano Terzani, Travel Writer and ...

I was delighted to find news of my favourite contemporary Italian travel writer over at Wind Rose Hotel , the blog that makes me wish I was a good student of language and could learn Italian.

He wrote of the current discussion developing around the Italian journalist and writer Tiziano Terzani, who died aged 65, under the title 'A secular saint?'

He writes: There is a debate now going on in Italy: was Tiziano Terzani a secular saint, a Guru, or even “the lay Pope?” Terzani (see Wikipedia and The Guardian), before wearing a long white beard and robe and living in an Indian ashram, was a former war correspondent and an expert on China and Japan—he wrote for Der Spiegel, Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica—who covered wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan.

The Guardian has written that Tiziano was the the man who once said that his gravestone should be inscribed only with his name and the word "traveller". His approach to the final destination has certainly been followed in Italy with an attention rarely accorded to journalists, however distinguished. Last spring, his book on the cancer that killed him was a bestseller, and it is a mark of how unique a figure he had become that his death was marked by pages of tributes in La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, and by extensive coverage on television and radio.

I loved this extract from the Guardian article: Der Spiegel became used to both the gifts and the eccentricities of Herr Doktor Terzani, and there were tensions from time to time. But when Terzani proposed to spend a year covering the news without travelling by air, choosing, in a deliberately contrarian way, to pay heed to a warning by a soothsayer, Hamburg did not baulk. The result was A Fortune Teller Told Me (1995), an account of journalism in the slow lane and an examination of alternative values and beliefs. It was a huge success in Italy, and elsewhere in translation.

As Terzani later explained, "If you run a big magazine like that, you can afford a fool because maybe he'll deliver something different."


'A Fortune-Teller Told Me' was the book that won me over completely, it's delicious book that I've often gifted or loaned to friends.

Tiziano Terzani, journalist, born September 14 1938; died July 28 2004.

4 comments:

paris parfait said...

Thank you for sharing the news of his death. I hadn't heard and he was one of my favourite writers.

woman wandering said...

Paris, you have such good taste in authors :)

V-Grrrl said...

A new name for me...I'm intrigued by the concept of a journalist writing from the "slow lane." Maybe there's a place for me in the publishing world after all. I'll have to add his book to my reading list...

woman wandering said...

Lol, I loved the book v-grrrl. And the view is surely different in the 'slow lane'.