Exclusive interview: Brokeback Mountain writer, Annie Proulx

Green coffee beans roast in a revolving white machine on the kitchen counter. Annie Proulx, one of America’s greatest living writers, is upstairs in the shower. She looked startled when she opened the front door and found me there. She was wearing her dressing gown. An idea for a story had kept  her awake for…

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The True Story of the ‘Free State of Jones

With two rat terriers trotting at his heels, and a long wooden staff in his hand, J.R. Gavin leads me through the woods to one of the old swamp hide-outs. A tall white man with a deep Southern drawl, Gavin has a stern presence, gracious manners and intense brooding eyes. At first I mistook him…

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Italy’s fascinating Festival of the Snake-Catchers

The snake-catchers of Cocullo were drinking espresso in the village’s only cafe. Photographs on the walls showed famoussnakes and snake-catchers from the past, and a few live serpents lay coiled in pillowcases on the floor. It had been a difficult year, the men said. Spring came late to the mountains, and the snakes were slow…

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Good Dog: Born to Run

A loveable mutt with no patience for life at home She had been missing for three days. We had put a reward notice with a photograph and dollar signs in the window of the nearest store, seven miles away across open fields and swampy woods. The local farmers, tractor drivers, and crop-duster pilots had all…

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The call of the road

On visiting the United States, the Tibetan dignitary T T Karma Chophel met with a group of supporters in Utah. He was there to discuss democracy, but his gaze kept travelling out across the high desert to the snowy mountains on the horizon. He thought of yaks and yak-herders, making their endless migrations across a…

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Hard trucking

The warehouse workers are in no hurry. It doesn’t cost them a dime to keep a trucker waiting. “It’s going to be tough to deliver this load on time without breaking the hours-of-service regulations,” says Harsell. “I’m safe, I’m reliable, I do a good job, and they want to turn me into an outlaw.”

Sweet Home Mississippi – NY Times

PLUTO, MISS. — TO move from Lower Manhattan to rural Mississippi is probably the most extreme culture shock available in this country. To do it as an Englishman adds an extra twist. But I fell in love with an old farmhouse while visiting a friend in the Mississippi Delta, bought it for next to nothing,…

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