EDitorial ± 9-Oct-2012

Pulitzer Prize Pursuit

I'm sitting in coach C of the 21:00 train to London. Behind me in the guard's van is the Boardman bike which has just brought me from UEA to Norwich station. Ahead of me is, most likely, a Pulitzer prize winning author by the name of Michael Chabon (who?) Let's go find out.

Through the alphabet I stride, D-E-F to any objections, iPad in hand. Can't leave that amount of tech sitting on the table, can we? Figure that I can quite legitimately head up to the buffet car -- I'd love a coffee and nearly went back to the AMT at Norwich at 20:57 before sense kicked in -- and idly check all passengers, visually, for their writing skills. And, if unsure, their curly hair.

Mr Chabon was tonight's guest speaker at the university's International Literary Festival, one of two such shindigs they hold each year. Get them, ay what, up the A140 in their City of Literature. He's American, late 40s and has a way with words. If you've got a blank couple of weeks, go read Kavalier and Clay. In lecture theatre 1, he was being asked about the 12 page sentence in his latest book and was discussing a possible upcoming series on HBO. His book, Wonder Boys, was made into that film with Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire; MC was also one of the screenwriters on Spider-Man 2. What a guy. Then, after a brisk book-signing session in the campus Waterstone's, he was whisked away in a car while I did the same journey on two wheels.

Buffet is shut since there's obviously no demand for hot drinks gone 9pm. On into 1st class, picking up a few looks en route. Cool klaxon: murmuring away on his iPhone, there on the left, is MC himself. Opposite him sits a lady, presumably an assistant while he's in the UK. Staying calm, I go past and find the next loo, since that's a perfectly rational thing to do for someone with a seat in coach C. In and out, then the journey in reverse. The Famous Author has now finished his conversation. I briefly make eye contact -- look, it's me again, the guy in The Flash T-shirt who asked you to sign The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man -- then walk back to my own more humble place.

Next stop, I'm off, bike and all. Michael Chabon has now left Ipswich. I am very much still on the platform.