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Europe

Talking Malta with Jeremy Bassetti

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Did you miss our live launch conversation for A Sunny Place for Shady People? I know the start time didn’t fit everyone’s schedule. It was 1am here in Berlin — but I’m far sharper past midnight than I am in the morning, so I didn’t mind. I spoke with Jeremy Bassetti, host of the excellent Travel Writing World podcast, about:  why I moved to a country I’d never been to the history of this...

I hope you’ll join me on Tuesday

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Tuesday April 23 is the official publication day for my new book A Sunny Place for Shady People. It’s been a long haul from first draft to finished volume. I must have rewritten it seven or eight times as the story I set out to tell morphed into the story I had to write.  I hope you’ll join me on Zoom for the online launch. I’ll be talking with Jeremy Bassetti, host of the excellent Travel...

Ryan Murdock in conversation with Caroline Muscat

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I want to give you a rare behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like being an investigative journalist in Malta after the car bomb assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.  And so I reached out to my friend Caroline Muscat, founder and editor-in-chief of The Shift, the Maltese investigative news portal where I was a weekly columnist for over four years. If you’ve read my new book A Sunny Place...

A sunny place for shady people

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A Sunny Place for Shady People by Ryan Murdock My new book is now available for your reading pleasure. It’s called A Sunny Place for Shady People, and it’s about six years I spent living on the island of Malta. I went there because I wanted to write an island book inspired by Lawrence Durrell — and there was light and laughter in those early years. But then there was an election, and everything...

The future was there

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Berlin residents must have felt one step closer to the future in the decade before the Cold War ended.  That’s when a 313-metre-long spacecraft materialized in Westend.   East Berlin was building their Palace of the Republic in the 1970s, and the West’s Congress Hall in the Tiergarten — known as the pregnant oyster for its unfortunate shape — was too small. A competition was held to...

Wannsee and the bureaucracy of genocide

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The villa of the Wannsee conference Remembrance Day isn’t observed here in the country that started and lost two World Wars. But Berlin is filled with memorials which commemorate the Twentieth Century’s darkest events. I normally stand alone in my study for the 11am moment of silence. But this year I decided to observe Remembrance Day by visiting the Wannsee villa where Nazi bureaucrats met to...

In the city of the golden fleece

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Colchis Fountain, Kutaisi The train ride passed quickly with comfortable first class seats and a back issue of the London Review of Books.  It was the same Zugdidi-bound service we’d used a few days before, but we would not be returning to the highlands. We were bound for Berlin the next day, and there isn’t much more to say. All aboard for Kutaisi I liked Kutaisi immediately, with it’s...

Leaning balconies of Tbilisi

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Tbilisi balcony I was getting used to the cool dimness of our rented flat on Revaz Tabukashvili Street, with its taciturn owner who was only talkative when scented with vodka, but our time in Tbilisi was drawing to a close. We slept late, and walked over to the Dry Bridge, where mismatched items were being laid out on plank tables or plastic sheets on the ground. It was the same sort of trinkets...

Museum for a monster

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Gori’s Stalin Museum I told you about Mirian in my last blog — the driver we hired to visit two towns outside Tbilisi — and how intent he was to educate us about Georgia’s Atlantean origins, its remarkable fecundity in spawning the bloodlines of every royal family from Europe to Asia, and the mysterious way a baby can tap into universal truth. If only they had a larger vocabulary, we’d all...

The Pyrenees: Matthew Carr on Europe’s savage frontier

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Matthew Carr The Pyrenees is one of the great European landscapes. It cuts across the mouth of the Iberian peninsula, forming the border between France and Spain. It’s been a place of beauty and of terror; a passage for refugees, dissidents and resistance fighters; and the cradle of both religious heresy and religious pilgrimage. This fascinating region is too often overshadowed by the...

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