Full Tilting Interview

In 1977, in her astonishing account of a winter spent with her six year old daughter in the sub-zero Indus Valley in Baltistan, Dervla Murphy declared that she had ‘no head for politics’.  In ‘A Month By the Sea: Encounters in Gaza’, her no less astonishing new book, it is abundantly clear that much has changed on that front in the ensuing 35 years, and readers of Dervla’s recent books may rather suspect that her claim made in Baltistan may well have been a case of modesty over accuracy.

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Around the world in 80 years

Dervla Murphy rarely gives interviews. She is one of our most senior and prolific travel writers – more than 20 books in a half-a-century career – but she is extremely publicity-shy, from an age before blog and spin were part of a writer’s toolkit. She’s not a J D Salinger – there’s the odd public sighting or visit to an Irish bar – but this was her first interview for many years . . .

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A birthday tribute

Many people have stayed with Dervla, or been host to her, during the 48 years that she’s been a writer, and any who visited her during the winter will remember the challenge of keeping warm (“I wonder if it would be possible to have a bath?” I asked on my first visit. “The river’s down there” she responded. It was while bathing in the same river some years later that a frisky bull charged her and broke some ribs – or possibly her back, I can’t now remember) . . .

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