MICHAEL JACOBS' LAST JOURNEY
We have lost him to Don Quixote: Michael Jacobs has just set off on a new adventure, and this time it is his last. Michael was one of the many gifts that the Hay Festival brought to me. I first met him at Hay Festival in Granada, Spain, and immediately felt his goodwill towards people and his generosity. We shared many trips, many adventures; I remember in particular a journey to La Guajira and Cerrejón in Colombia. His heart was big enough to contain his native Italy (he was born in Genoa in 1952), the Andalusia in which he loved living, and of course, England and Colombia – the country he adopted and to which he dedicated so many trips and his latest book The Robber of Memories, which we hope will soon be published in Spanish.
His stories were great, though it was sometimes hard to follow the thread because he recounted them so vehemently, his passion swallowing the words. He was a Sybarite, a conversationalist, great traveller and lover of good food, with a contagious enthusiasm for life. The day I took this photo with Michael perched inside a giant rubber coal-truck tyre, which he accepted without question, he ended up with his trousers stained black and, to top off my guilt, lost his wallet inside the tyre. It was a mixture of Peter Sellers and Pierre Richard, of Indiana Jones and Don Quixote. In one of his last letters he wrote of our plan to make a book together and now, faced with the news of his death, I understand that Michael was the book; because he lived life like Don Quixote, convinced that the reality and the dreams were the same thing. Today, we are all more alone in the world. Friends and readers who had the opportunity to know him and love him, and those who love reading and life, we are all more alone because Michael Jacobs has left on his last journey. Don Quixote is dead: long live Michael Jacobs.
Listen to Michael Jacobs' talk on The Robber of Memories at Hay Festival 2013, or his event 'Fascinados por España' at Hay Festival Segovia 2008 on Hay Festival Audio.