Tilda Swinton is coming to Bangladesh, for the first time in her life, to attend the Dhaka Lit Fest.
We first discussed the idea somewhere in Paris, when we randomly bumped into one another, or rather Tilda -- in some way -- came looking for me, but that’s a story for another time.
We became friends pretty quick, now that I look back -- yes, one of those connections you either instantly feel or you can spend a lifetime cultivating and get nowhere. I suppose it was easy, because Tilda makes you feel at ease, she makes YOU feel special. And I recall the moment when we shared our passion for -- one might hazard a guess: movies, which would be rather obvious but no -- writing, for books, for poetry. She said she doesn't even consider herself an actor, as a Hollywood A-list, a celebrity. In her words, she is an artist who wants to explore any form of expression and check this out: She would rather be a writer, writing prose and poetry.
We took a picture when we first met, which -- no prizes for guessing -- I requested. Sandro Kopp, a brilliant artist, who is her partner and I’m excited to say he will also be participating in the festival, help us took that picture. I remember why I requested the photo opportunity: It was because I wanted to treasure the moment. I sent it to Tilda, and she wrote back requesting a copy of my book (of poems). But I also remember why I never shared it on any of my social media platforms. Somehow I knew this was the beginning of a lifelong friendship, and not just friendship, but we’d be working together on projects that are heartfelt, and as a result, energetic and about changing paradigms that don’t work anymore, e.g., school education.
Somewhere in the Scottish Highlands …
Everyone in her village knows and loves her. No one is stalking her, which I couldn't say about London or New York, or about most big cities around the world. What else can I tell you that are not on her bio? She has four lovely Labradors and they are really friendly, a sign of their happy existence, and as if that wasn’t enough, they wait by her front window and greet her with tremendous enthusiasm and force that would put Usain Bolt out of business. She also has well fed hens that lay eggs that have unique shells -- a lighter shade of blue and they taste just magical. Her house is full of two things, really. Books and paintings.
Last year the New York Times asked her to name 10 favourite books. We shared the link of DLF’s Facebook page, and if you haven’t had a chance to see it, I suggest you do. It’s not only eclectic, it’s rich in literary taste: from the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish to essays by Michel de Montaigne.
Somewhere in the megacity of Dhaka …
This is the part where you -- as part of our audience at DLF this year -- will help me write. Until then, and #seeyouthere!