I’ve been re-reading Invisible Cities this week so the discovery of an interview in English with its author was most welcome. Bookmark was a BBC series about writers that ran throughout the 1980s; each programme usually lasted for 50 minutes but this episode from 1985 only devotes 25 minutes to Calvino’s life and work. Considering Calvino’s stature, and the scarcity of English interviews, this seems like a missed opportunity but Calvino says at one point that he dislikes talking even in his own language. The presenter/interviewer (whose name has eluded me) gives a précis of the most celebrated works, and also talks to Calvino’s very adept translator, William Weaver. If you’re familiar with If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller there’s a fascinating moment when Calvino goes through the hand-written manuscript showing the tiny diagrams he used to keep track of the narrative threads. Watch it here.
Update: The presenter/interviewer was Ian Hamilton.