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Tony Parsons' Literary Layover At Heathrow

First Posted: 08/03/2011 11:43 am Updated: 10/03/2011 5:12 am

Heathrow Airport is getting into the literary game. The hub announced on Wednesday that Tony Parsons, the popular English novelist and documentarian of all things punk, will spend the rest of the week as the airport's writer-in-residence, roaming the terminals in search of vignettes for a short story collection due out in October.

Parsons will live in a airport hotel, spend all of his time in Heathrow and probably subsist entirely on bar snacks and duty free. At least that's what we have pictured in our minds. He will also be given access to pilots, air traffic controllers, policeman and immigration officers.

Seven Stories from Heathrow, the tentative name of the yet-to-be-written book will be inspired by the work of Arthur Hailey, who spent much of the 1980s penning melodramas like "Airport." The books were massively popular and inspired not only mockery (the Airplane! movie franchise) but devotion from a then rock-and-rolling Parsons.

Parsons has long been part of the British literary scene's fraternity of enfants terrible, the quiet intimacy of novels like Man and Boy offset by public acknowledgments of amphetamine use and statements like: "Grammar schools are public schools without the sodomy."

In a statement to the press, Heathrow Chief Operating Officer Terry Morgan said, "We are delighted that passengers flying through Heathrow this summer will have the chance to inspire characters in a book by one of the world's most renowned fiction writers."

If successful, Parson will join the growing ranks of airline-obsessed writers like Jonathan Miles, author of Dear American Airlines, and Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air.

Parsons released a statement explaining his interest in Heathrow by saying, "Airports are places of extreme emotion."

Damn right.

Hanging out at the departing gate for a delayed flight to Charles de Gaulle may not be so different from Parson's bad old days at Sex Pistols concerts.

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Filed by Andrew Burmon  |