Hiwthornden Institute


Roy Blount

Malcolm Bradbury

Tibor Fischer

Grey Gowrie

John Gross

Drue Heinz

John Mortimer

George Plimpton

Mordecai Richler

Calvin Trillin

Auberon Waugh

John Wells


“Moult no feather, 1 have of late, but wherefore know not, lost all my mirth”

                —Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2


Roy Blount, Jr. and I were the first arrivals at the Casa Ecco on Lake Como where the “conversazione" on the topic “Whither mirth?” was scheduled. Calvin Trillin, his wife Alice (who begged off being a panelist), and a British contingent of wits and humorists (Lord Gowrie, Auberon Waugh, Malcolm Bradbury, John Wells, John Mortimer, Tibor Fischer, John Gross, and Mordecai Richler, a Canadian writer working and living in London) turned up later in the day. The event was sponsored by The Paris Review, and also by the Hawthornden Institute, which offers one of the more prestigious literary prizes in England as well as providing retreats for writers both at …