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NEWS Last modified on May 9, 2011

Airports and authors

It seems that Europe’s airports are becoming increasingly popular places for authors and academics to write books and carry out scientific research.

By Joe Bates

It seems that Europe’s airports are becoming increasingly popular places for authors and academics to write books and carry out scientific research.

First, Swiss author Alain de Botton published A Week at the Airport after being appointed Heathrow’s ‘writer-in-residence’ in the summer of 2009.

Last year, anthropologist Dr Damien O’Doherty – nicknamed Terminal Man after the Tom Hanks film character trapped at an airport – spent a year living at Manchester Airport observing the habits of workers and passengers as part of a social experiment.

Now Danish author, Thomas Aagaard Skovmand, is writing his latest book, a thriller where the plot unfolds at Copenhagen Airport, at the Scandinavian gateway!

Skovmand began writing his book at a specially created desk in the busy transit area of Copenhagen Airport in March, and is due to return to the airport next week to complete it.

As an added bonus for passengers and fans, a large display screen will enable them to read his manuscript as he writes it at the airport between May 16-27.

As part of his preparation for the book, Skovmand spent time with Copenhagen Airport’s fire fighters, police, customs officers, air traffic controllers and “sea gull hunters”.

He says: “With my earlier books, I tried to give readers different experiences by reading aloud at various locations. For instance, if one of the chapters took place in a dark basement, I took the readers along by visiting such a location and reading aloud from the chapter there.

“I have also read aloud from my books at a kiosk counter, in lavatories, and even from the trunk of a car in which one of my protagonists was trapped. I decided to move the entire writing process on location at Copenhagen Airport for my new book.

“At the airport, I will be sitting among my potential readers and I will be writing the book in the actual environment where the story takes place. It will also mean that I have a chance to talk with people who can contribute ideas or have an opinion on what I’m writing.”

Skovmand’s previously two thrillers are ‘Skyerne over Vesterbro’ (Clouds over Vesterbro) and Hvad skete der den nat? (What happened that night?).

He promises that his new book will be a “thriller with lots of action and excitement” that will take readers to “many parts of the airport”.

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