I have seen crowds before, but I was taken aback by the Belgrade book fair, where some 15,000 people attended my opening address. A few days later, too, at the airport lost and found, I watched an officious frown break suddenly into a smile. "You're a writer!" the woman behind the counter exclaimed and, as others watched enviously, produced my bag. The power of writing! During the fair, a reporter asked whether writers in the United States were like writers in Eastern Europe and, when I said I didn't know, volunteered, "Here, writers are gods." Well, that's a difference, I said...The rest hides behind a registration screen at TNR, the patient are welcome to sample on.
Gish Jen in Beograd
This just in from a friend of East Ethnia, Gish Jen's experience at the Belgrade Book fair: