Sunday, November 18, 2007

novelist jamaica

American women expect to find in their husbands a perfection that English women only hope to find in their butlers," said W. Somerset Maugham, famed playwright and novelist.

Memo to Somerset: The fad has spread.

Nowadays, it seems, well-heeled travelers of every nationality are seeking just the sort of perfect service in their hotel suites and cruise ship cabins that only a butler can provide. From Tokyo to Dubai, from Miami's South Beach to London―and, seemingly, on every swanky ship that plies the high seas―a wave of butlers is on the elegant march.

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"Butler service is definitely a growing trend, especially in top five-star hotels and resorts," says Khun Chomphunuch Thongkham, guest relations manager at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Indeed, butlers at Thongkham's resort are constantly on call, whether to pack and unpack suitcases, make restaurant reservations, fix stubborn Internet connections or simply prepare Jacuzzi baths.

The exact functions that these professional pamperers provide differ from property to property; but, generally, the job of the butler is to centralize the many functions of a hotel or cruise ship in the body of one resourceful, always available person. To that end, the butler is the equivalent of one-stop-shopping―the go-to guy for requests both large and small. Tell your butler to do it and you don't have to ask again.

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"Butlers and cabin stewards have very different roles," says Brian Major, a spokesman for Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC). "A cabin steward just cleans your stateroom. A steward would never perform the duties of a butler: making dinner reservations for a guest, booking shore activities or even providing service during an in-cabin cocktail party."

It's not that guests can't make their own reservations or book their own tours; rather, it's that luxury hotel and cruise patrons paying top dollar simply want to minimize hassles. Why worry about busy signals or lines at the concierge desk when you can just summon your butler and have him do all that arranging―and waiting―for you?

Of course, butlers do more than just stand and wait. On one Silversea cruise to Venice, a couple staying in a Grand Suite wished to take a private plane into the Alps, do some skiing and then be back on board before the ship sailed. Planning the excursion was the couple's job, but it was the butler who coordinated all the arrangements with the concierge and shore excursion desk.

Kor Hotel Group / Tides South Beach Hotel
Butlers by any other name, the "Personal Assistants" at the newly redesigned Tides South Beach hotel will get your clothes dry-cleaned, walk your dog, shine your shoes, serve you dinner and even arrange for a DVD to be delivered to your room. They'll also organize a yacht charter on two hours notice, or see to it that an exclusive boutique is closed to the public so that V.I.P.'s can shop discreetly.

"The guests thought of it as a whim," says Brad Ball, director of corporate communications at Silversea. "The butler made it a reality."

While butler service is always expanding, it is also changing in character. These days, butlers must still perform all the roles of the traditional butler without seeming too, well, butler-ish.

"Traditional butler service has been revived and reinvented in a less starched and stiff manner," explains Shan Kanagasingham, general manager at the Tides South Beach in Miami (where butlers are called "Personal Assistants"). "But they still have the utmost commitment to going above and beyond the call of duty." know you'll be talking about this at the ILAF panel on Saturday but why do you think Iranian literature isn't world literature yet?

We're all waiting for a miracle. We're waiting for the sky to open up and for everything to just fall into our lap. We don't think each of us has a personal responsibility. At this point in time, there may be more than 6 million Iranians living abroad, many of whom are financially secure, specially the ones that live in the US�ut after all these years away from home, where is that center in the name of Iran? Where is that place that looks like it was built on uniquely Iranian effort? As you know, most American universities are supported financially by American individuals, and people invest heavily in arts and culture. What do we expect? We expect others to pick up the slack for our culture. Opposition to fundamentalism has become hosting a million dollar wedding, and patriotism is reduced to serving Ghormeh Sabzi and Chelow Kabab.

Don't you think other cultures have the same issues?

The Goethe Institute has branches all over the world. How come we've done nothing?

If the people of the world aren't familiar with the guidance of Mahmood Dowlat-Ababdi or Ahmad Mahmood, then at least they know Rumi. Why is there no cultural society in his name yet? Not just for the sake of it, but for the promotion of storytelling and literature�o support talented writers, and to give literary grants! Does everyone else have to do everything for us?

When I was in Iran I was so excited to hear about Anoushe Ansari's flight into space. This event momentarily changed the closed and tired atmosphere in Iran, and planted seeds of hope in the heart of every Iranian woman. So I wonder, does Ms. Ansari ever think in her mother tongue? Don't other people of means want to do something to promote their own mother tongue?

So you think Anoushe Ansari has a responsibility to her mother tongue? Why her? Why not the government of Iran?

We have to start somewhere. Time has shown that the political system in our country can only change our holiday "Chehar-shanbeh Soori" (literally means 'Wednesday celebration') which is a sign of friendship and peace into "chehar-shanbeh Sooozi" (which translates to Wednesday inferno). The system that has created the conniving mentality of pitting "us" against "them" and it has to be removed by the root, before we can do something for our own language. This language is a gift that has been handed down to us and the least we can do, is as much as forefathers did, which is pass it down to the next generation. We need to build hope against all this hopelessness that's so rampant in our country.

What is your experience publishing books in Iran? What is it 8 or 9?

The experience of publishing a book in Iran is an extremely difficult process. The last 30 years have been (cleansing/censorship) but it has had its highs and lows. I was very beleaguered around my first book. The book was enslaved and held hostage for 8 years before it got to print. But after 1369 (1990) the situation got a little better and I was able to publish my books: Del e Foolad (Heart of Steel), Ahl e Ghargh (The Drowned) and Sangha ye Sheytan (Satan's Stones). Since we are the mercy of censorship, we cannot follow the usual writing protocol. Often, a writer's first book takes much longer to get published than their second or third. Censorship, which is a relic from the days of slavery, enslaves writers, painters and filmmakers. It does not allow us to publish our books in an organic way. This is why authors like me have learned to write the book and let it sit at home until it's due for publication. I only published two books in the 1370's (1990's) Koli e Kenar e Atash (Gypsy by Fire) and Siriah Siriah. In the 1380's (2000's) which is not over yet, I have two books published; Namhaye Nazly (Nazly) and Zan e Foroodgah e Frankfurt (Woman at the Frankfurt Airport). I also have 3 other books ready for print: Fereshetei Rooye Zamin (Angel on Earth) Shabhayeh Shoor Angiz (Wonderful Nights) and Asheghan e Ahd e Atiq (Ancient Lovers).

I am saddened for myself and my fellow writers who are embattled with a group of narrow minded, self absorbed people with underdeveloped principles, who still think they can create the world in their own image.

Tell us about the state of literature inside Iran.

It's been about 9 month since I left Iran but I am well aware of what's happening there. I know that Vistar Bookstore has been destroyed and Yaaghoob Nad-Ali has been tried and imprisoned. Until the last day I was in Iran and was reading the books that have been printed, I got the feeling that because most writers, think we're not supposed to be political, they have simply retreated to the kitchen. Only a very few have maintained their integrity. In reality, our literature doesn't have much stamina against the oppression of being "red lined" with increasing limitations on a daily basis.

As you know living and writing under the rules of another is not a modern human condition. We would fool ourselves into thinking that censorship is not so bad and it can even promote creativity. This was a mantra that many belabored and consequently endorsed the current condition of Iranian Literature. Like a condemned prisoner we convinced ourselves that someday our sentence would be over and so we turned a blind eye to many of society's injustices. A free thinking writer does not acquiesce to the mind-numbing laws of oppression. A free thinking writer is against oppression, not a party to it. Of course, I do know writers who write independently, and do not give in to the absurdity of censorship.

How do you spend your time in the US?

I have an office at The Black Mountain Institute, an affiliate of the University of Nevada which I go to everyday. It is run by Carol Harter who used to be the Dean of the University 10 years ago. This institution is really a sanctuary for writers from all over from Jamaica, to Africa to New York. What's attractive for me is the tireless work of women like Carol who put so much into bringing color to the cultural face of their home towns. There are women here that put everything they have into the furthering of cultural causes. The University of Nevada and its affiliates only thrive on contributions from individuals. Unlike wealthy women in Iran who see friendship as serving Ghormeh Sabzi and Kabab, wealthy women here place a great deal of importance on preserving the integrity of their societies.

I don't know when we are going to realize that our language is our nation, and it goes wherever we go in mind, body and soul, and is part of the fabric of our existence.

... Payvand News - 11/12/07 ... Oceanview Publishing is pleased to announce the second printing of Stuff to Die For, the latest release by award-winning novelist Don Bruns.

In Stuff to Die For, Bruns, who brought us entertainment journalist Mick Sever, introduces the most hilarious duo in years � James Lessor and Skip Moore. And now, due to high demand and excellent reviews, Oceanview has called for more Lessor and Moore, just two months after the book's September release.

Stuff to Die For has received a number of excellent trade and consumer reviews, including:

"This quirkily engaging mystery is a buddy novel as funny as the movie Dumb and Dumber." --Library Journal

"Will remind the reader of Tim Dorsey's cast of whacked-out characters but with the narrative voice and feel of Mark Twain's Huck Finn." -- Booklist (Starred review)

"James and Skip are so puppy-dog endearing and funny that they deserve an encore. Perhaps even a series. Like the Hardy Boys." --ForeWord Magazine

"Bruns is simply masterful…. a romp through Miami to be snickered at and savored." -- Deadly Pleasures

"Bruns has created a clever piece of fiction. Lessor and Moore are delightful characters." --Crime and Suspense

"A sure bet to appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, or James O. Born."--BookPage

In Stuff to Die For (Oceanview, ISBN: 978-1-933515-10-6, $24.95) best friends James and Skip are hardly on the fast track. James reports to duty as a line cook at Cap'n Crab, and Skip spends his days selling � or rather, attempting to sell � security systems to people who (a) have no money, and (b) have nothing they care to protect. Although James and Skip aren't exactly upwardly mobile, they're about to get literally mobile when James spends a surprise inheritance on a white box truck. An investment in the future, James surmises, as these two are starting a business. Moore and Lessor, or Lessor and Moore. Have truck, will haul.

Things are looking up when James and Skip land their first client and collect a handsome paycheck. But, this job can get pretty ugly, pretty quickly. While unloading the contents of their first moving job, James and Skip find some unexpected cargo � a bloody human finger. For these two, the phrase "dead-end job" is about to take on a whole new meaning. Instead of chasing the American dream, Skip and James will wind up running for their lives. As they scramble to stay one step ahead of the perpetrators of the gruesome crime, they'll learn that there is some stuff you should never touch � and some stuff to die for.

A witty, gritty mystery about big dreams, big ideas � and big trouble, Stuff to Die For showcases a sensational new side to award-winning novelist Don Bruns.

Don Bruns is an award-winning novelist, songwriter, musician and advertising executive. He is author of Jamaica Blue, Barbados Heat and South Beach Shakedown, a music murder mystery series featuring entertainment journalist Mick Sever. Bruns' South Beach Shakedown was recently awarded top honors in the mystery/suspense/thriller category of the Best Books 2006 sponsored by USA Book News, and named a finalist in the mystery/suspense category of the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards. Don Bruns divides his time between Ohio and South Florida. Oceanview Publishing Dr Benjamin Zephaniah said he had a weird experience the other day: a visit from Benjamin Zephaniah, aged seven.
Performance poet, novelist for teenagers and citizen of the world now living in Moulton, there are five children named after him by their parents � one is in Jamaica, one in Indonesia, two in Brighton and one in Birmingham, where he grew up.

That is the honour that means most to him.

He turned down the OBE when it was offered in 2003.

More people have recognised him around Spalding since the recent Channel 4 screening of Last Chance Kids, an inspiring documentary that showed him working on a year's project at an Essex primary school where 25 per cent of children were leaving illiterate.

At the end of the year every child could read and the school won a London-wide verse-speaking contest, thanks to synthetic phonics educationist Ruth Miskin, staff led by headteacher Lynna Thompson and Benjamin showing them how to love words.

What is a Rasta poet who has always lived in cities doing in the sleepy Fens?

Benjamin said: "I moved here just over a year ago and people keep expecting me to get fed up but I'm not.

"I have fallen in love with the place.

"In London I was so aware of spending time stuck in traffic, the pollution and how tense it was.

"I had always wanted to live in a little English village and I have got to the age where I had to do it.

"I didn't want to end up saying I could have done this but didn't.

"It had to be far away from motorways and I didn't want to be anywhere known as a place where poets and artists live.

"People don't bother me here.

"I go on tour a lot with people around me all the time so when I come back home I like to be very quiet.

"The creative part of me needs silence.

"I also have an apartment in Beijing. I first went because of my love for martial arts but I have written two whole novels there.

"It's similar. People over in China don't recognise me either so I can be quiet there."

l Benjamin Zephaniah's latest novel for teenagers Teacher's Dead has just been released and is available in local bookshops.
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