Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

At the Writers Festival

Author: Paulo Coelho

It will be my most important participation at the Writers Festival.

It is 10am; the auditorium is filled.

John Felton, a local writer, will interview me. I step on the stage with the apprehension of always.

Felton introduces me and starts asking me questions. Before I can finish my thoughts, he interrupts me and asks me a new question.

When I answer, he says something like “this answer wasn’t very clear.”

Five minutes later, a discomfort can be felt in the audience — everyone notices there is something wrong. I recall Confucius and do the only thing possible:

“Do you like what I write?” I ask him.

“That doesn’t matter,” he answers. “I am the one doing the interview, not the other way around.”

“It does matter. You don’t let me finish a thought. Confucius said: ‘whenever possible, be clear.’ Let’s follow this advice and leave things clear: do you like what I write?”

“No, I don’t like it. I have read only two books and I didn’t like them.”

“Ok then, we can go on.”

The fields were now defined. The audience relaxes, the atmosphere is charged with electricity, the interview becomes a true debate and everyone, even Felton, are satisfied with the result.

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