To coincide with Jim’s recent birthday, I am very pleased to announce that all 561 printed newsletters produced by Jim have now been catalogued. He produced over 700 but latterly they appeared on his website rather than in printed form to be sent to friends. As a result there are a number of gaps in the run particularly after number 600 (mid 2004) and sadly they are no longer on his website either. But we should celebrate what we do have!

The newsletters take many forms – diaries of his annual trips to the Edinburgh Festival and the Frankfurt Book Fair; accounts of his travels to eastern Europe or further afield to the Kolkata Film Festival and Cuba; articles about the Sunday dinners; reviews of his People to People travel guides – the list goes on. What the diary style newsletters have in common are the sheer number of names he includes – not just friends but anyone he meets, waiters, fellow travellers on trains and chance acquaintances. It is astonishing that he not only noted the names of all these people at the time but took the trouble to name them in his newsletters too.

And some newsletters were just a photograph like this one below. Newsletter 381 from September 1996 – a party for the American poet Ted Joans in the garden of Stanley Cohen’s house which shows Joans, Jim and the literary theorist Ron Sukenick with jazz journalist and writer Mike Zwerin playing in the background.  A typical afternoon with Jim…

Newsletter 381