Tony Parsons returned to the setting of his latest book, ‘Departures: Seven Stories from Heathrow’, yesterday (26 October) to give fans a live preview of the collection of short stories.
Former journalist and best-selling author Parsons read an extract from the book on Heathrow’s facebook page live from Terminal 5.
Inspired by ‘Airport’ – the 1960’s bestselling novel about a large metropolitan airport and the personalities of the people who use and rely on it – Parsons wanted to revive the genre of airport fiction made famous by Arthur Hailey.
Therefore, for a week in August, Heathrow provided Parsons with the freedom to visit all areas of the airport to better understand the lives and routines of his potential characters.
All passengers, as well as pilots, air traffic control officers, police, fire chiefs and immigration officers, were given the opportunity to meet the novelist and potentially find themselves in his latest book.
The Heathrow writer-in-residence initiative was first launched in 2009 after the airport appointed philosopher and author Alain de Botton to tell the behind-the-scenes story of a week at Heathrow.
Parts of that book, titled A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary, were written from a desk in Terminal 5 where passengers were invited to share their stories.
Tony Parsons said: “There’s something both magical and majestic in the way that airports allow us to connect to the world in a way that would have been unfathomable to my parent’s generation.
“I feel very fortunate for the experiences I have had as Heathrow’s writer-in-residence and for the chance to learn more about the airport’s unique history, folklore and truly global residents.
“It has opened my eyes to how Heathrow is not just a hub for physical journeys, but also very often where passengers reach a crossroads in their lives and embark on new and life changing experiences.”
Parsons is best known for his multi-million selling novel 'Man and Boy' WHERE `id` = which was the winner of the Book of the Year Prize in 2001.
He is also a columnist in the Daily Mirror writes a monthly column for GQ magazine.
Departures: Seven Stories from Heathrow is Parsons’ thirteenth book and his first collection of short stories.
Here is the video of the book reading, let us know what you think!