I recently got an email from a friendly woman at the Russian travel channel, “Teletravel,” asking if she could send me a few questions for the site, which she did. I sent her my answers back, and afterward she let me know when the interview was up. Then, for fun, I ran the site through the Babel Fish translator, just to see what I’d said. This is always amusing. For starters, “Frank Of bures – man, which it is first of all worthwhile to name writer, the secondly – traveller. It much wanders and even more greatly he writes about his adventures so that other people also could feel the taste of road.” I’m sure it sounds, and looks, much better in Russian: “Frank Bures – человек, которого в первую очередь стоит назвать писателем, во вторую – путешественником. Он много странствует и еще больше пишет о своих приключениях, чтобы другие люди тоже могли почувствовать вкус дороги. Frank жил в нескольких странах, прилично говорит на суахили, итальянском и тайском языках, но писать предпочитает на английском. Его рассказы о путешествиях печатали в антологиях, а также….” Read the rest (in Russian) here.
Archive for the Press Category
If you’re in New York this week, I’ll be doing a reading as part of the Restless Legs Series along with fellow Best American Travel Writing 2009 anthologees Tony Perrottet, who will share his story about sex museums in Europe, and Elisabeth Eaves who will be reading about the nuances of ecotourism in Central America. Also present will be series editor Jason Wilson, as host. Come down to the Lolita Bar (266 Broome St.) on Wednesday (Oct 21) at 7pm to hear all about it. As usual, I’ll be discussing vanishing genitalia, thugs, guns and the changing face of Nigeria.
Not long ago, I got an email from Shawn Donley, who writes a travel column for the Oregonian. He kindly asked if I’d do an interview for his column, and I said of course. But when I asked how he got started with his column, he sent me an article by an Oregonian reporter about his and his wife’s trip recent around the world. It’s a fantastic story and, as you can see from their photos here, will make you want to pack it all in, quit what you’re doing, and head out for the horizon. You can read the interview here, and Shawn’s story here. He’s also got a great blog from their trip, which is something I don’t say lightly.
In the November issue of Madison Magazine, there’s a fun story I got to do, inspired partly by the Experimental Travel movement, partly by Will Self, and partly my own travel experiences. Early one morning, I set out to walk from the place we were living in Verona, Wisconsin, to Madison. It was long trek, but well-worthwhile. I think everyone should do this to get a real sense of how far things are. In an interview with my editor Brennan Nardi, she asked: “First, what the hell were you thinking? Second, what are trying to convey to the reader through this kind of travel writing versus the more conventional service-oriented “go, see, do” travel story?” More on that soon, but for now a brief answer, along with other thoughts on writing, can be found here.
A couple years ago, I was teaching a class in Madison on freelance writing. There was a woman who sat in back named Maggie, and she said she’d never heard of freelancing before. But by the time the second class rolled around, she had pitched, sold and written her first story. Not surprisingly, these days, she’s enjoying no small success, both in her writing and with her blog, Okay, Fine, Dammit, which gets a phenomenal amount of traffic from people who’ve fallen in love with her voice. (Check it out, you’ll see why.) But also this month, she and I share bylines in Madison Magazine. Hers is a heartbreaking piece about what could be a tired and maudlin topic in the hands of a lesser writer: domestic violence. It’s been great to watch her career take off and her talents unfold, and this week, our great editor, Brennan Nardi did an interview with both of us for her blog Forward. You can read her (and my) responses here.
Good thing for google alerts, or I might have missed the fact that I’m a “literary scholar,” according to a nice piece in Malawi’s Nation newspaper. I also got a kind mention in Stephen Regenold’s piece on where travel writers like to travel. My destination of choice, however, didn’t make the cut. Lagos isn’t quite what what Forbes Traveler readers are looking for, but I do think it’s one of the greatest cities on the world. Which may be why I don’t usually read Forbes Traveler.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Inside the Amateur Scientist Studio: Frank Bures
I had a nice chat with Brian Thompson of The Amateur Scientist, a clever science-humor blog. Needless to say, we talked about penis theft. The gist: “In the studio this week: Travel writer Frank Bures discussing his article A Mind Dismembered: In Search of the Magical Penis Thieves, an exploration of the phenomenon of witchcraft-assisted penis theft in Africa. Frank’s writing has been featured in Harper’s, Esquire, Outside, The Washington Post Magazine, and the L.A. Times. His work has also been anthologized in Best American Travel Writing 2004, and he’s the recipient of a 2007 Lowell Thomas award for travel writing. For a fun drinking game, try taking a shot every time someone says “penis” during this interview.” You can download the podcast of the interview here.
Yesterday I was interviewed on the ill-fated Bryant Park Project show talking about…what else?…penis theft. The show actually was a lot of fun and the host, Mike Pesca, was smart and funny, with good questions. You can read about or listen to it here, or get the podcast through iTunes. One quote they pulled from the interview about the phenomenon, which sums up the endeavor nicely: “It does have a sort of a shock value thing, but I figured there was more behind it,” says Bures. “I wanted to get into the world where that belief comes from and look at what kind of culture that kind of thing can emerge from.”
In a post over at World Hum, Jim Benning kindly pointed out a few other penis-related projects. David Farley, a great travel writer out of New York, is hard at work on a book about the strange case of the holy foreskin in Italy, a relic that is exactly what it sounds like. He wrote a great piece about it for Slate. Meanwhile, Tony Perrotett has been looking into the history of Napolean’s Privates. Seems like a trend.
Yesterday I had a nice interview about magical penis loss with WCCO’s Jack Rice, a thoughtful guy and ex-CIA operative turned radio personality. Jack is currently the 34th most important radio broadcaster in America, and he always travels with Desert Tan Nomex Fire Retardant Gloves because, hey, you never know. I don’t believe the interview is online, but you can see Jack’s blog here.