How surprised we are, the participants of an exploratory trip about biodiversity, when in the restaurant “Chez Julien” in Paunat in the Périgord, the writer and journalist Martin Walker actually appears.
Martin Walker is Scottish and has had a varied professional life. He is the author of the million-selling Bruno series about a village policeman in southern France. So we’re at Walker’s favorite restaurant, and he’s there, too. He readily gives the group insight into how he works: Each of his 14 volumes in the Bruno series has a specific theme, which he researches intensively. He usually takes nine months to write a book and publishes about one volume a year. Sometimes he works on two books at the same time, for example, when a nonfiction book is added: a book about Bill Clinton, a cookbook together with his wife, or a travel guide through the Périgord, as it will be published this fall.
COMMITMENT TO THE ARTIFICAL LANDSCAPE OF PERIGORD
On this evening, I very much admired the energy with which Martin Walker is committed to this still fantastically beautiful artificial landscape. He wants to support tourism so that the region, which is located away from the metropolises (about one and a half hours from Bordeaux and three hours from Clermont-Ferrand), can continue to develop and at the same time maintains its beautiful nature.
At the same time, the stories that the writer tells in the Bruno novels give a good insight into the history of the region. Many of his male characters are based on real-life models: A “real” policeman from the small town of Le Bugue, near which Walker spends part of the year, was the godfather for “Bruno.” He doesn’t have a concrete role model for women, he claims, although his daughter says she knows them.
25 YEARS FOR THE GUARDIAN
We are all very impressed by this dedicated man, who was a journalist for the British daily newspaper Guardian for 25 years. He wrote about Russia, the Cold War, the United States. He also got to the bottom of many other topics in detailed articles. Walker says he also participated in Sigmar Gabriel’s and Angela Merkel’s “workshops on the future”. He says it was very exciting for him to see the German government using such a method. Future workshops are comprehensive approaches that start without prohibitions on thinking and are used to jointly develop solutions to social challenges.
I was also surprised that, as a Scot, he speaks perfect German and French. He has just made a reading tour through Germany, Austria and Switzerland and enjoyed it very much, he chats with us.
I enjoyed preparing for the trip with his latest novel and then meeting interesting people as well. Martin Walker has lived part-time in the Périgord for 25 years. One task he has set for himself is to visit all the winemakers in the region. He has already managed 300 of the 1100 and has come to an amazing realization: He has not met an unhappy winemaker! I can confirm this. I have not met 300, but only two, but was also thrilled by their enthusiasm.
Thank you, Martin Walker, for the exciting insights this evening.