My first ever experience of a Dan Brown novel was when I was fifteen / sixteen.
Before I go into detail, it’s probably best that I mention that I am in fact a little person, I stand at three foot, five inches. I promise it’s relevant.
Back to story; I had an appointment in Temple Street Hospital and before exiting the car to sit in the waiting room, I had a conscious thought that while sitting in the children’s hospital, everyone around me would think me much younger than I was, just because of my height.
Thus, I decided to make them question my age a little bit.
In the back of the car I found this weight of a book that my Dad had just began to read. It was called ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and although I didn’t know much about it, I was certain that by the cover design alone, it was not a book that a ten year old would pick up.
There I was, sitting in the waiting room of Temple Street Hospital, surrounded by babies, infants and children alike imagining what Robert Langdon looked like.
Unbeknownst to me, also sitting in the waiting room that day was another little person, a girl a few years younger than me but we had never met before.
Our accompanying parents began to chat and soon after, my new friend joined the Little People of Ireland organisation and we have been firm friends ever since.
The power of Dan Brown, eh?!
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure I would be impressed by him. Although I have read most of his books, with ‘Angels and Demons’ my definite favourite, I have read so much about his supposed inadequacies as a writer online and through the press, I was expecting quite a conceited and almost pompous individual to walk out onto the stage.
I could not have been more wrong.
From the moment he arrived, he was honest, self-deprecating, warm and witty. He brought along the first book he ever published (along with the help of his mother) ‘The Giraffe, the Pig and the Pants on Fire’ and although Tom Hanks didn’t feature, we can forgive him as he was merely six at the time.
Also in his carry on luggage? The registration plates of his mother and father’s cars. KYRIE for his mother and METRIC for his father; a symbol almost of the contrast between the influences of science and religion during his youth.
Dan narrated his youth, his beginnings as a writer and starting his day at 4am, every day. He also discussed the transition from book to film, the choosing of Tom Hanks as the on-screen protagonist and looking at the Mona Lisa at 3am.
Much of the discussion and proceeding question and answer session focused on Brown’s new novel ‘Inferno’ and his desire for the public to take an interest in Dante.
Whilst this was Brown’s first visit to Ireland, he promised the audience that he would return for a lengthier duration very soon. Whether or not that would result in a book based here on the emerald isle – Dan politely refused to comment.
Dublin Writers Festival: I don’t often speak in public but when Dublin Writers Festival calls, I respond. I’ve never been to Ireland before, says Dan Brown
Aoife Caulfield: ”My parents are at fault for my take on religion” says Brown. They were a math teacher and a church organist / choir director.
Sinéad Burke: Dan asked a priest why the scientific & biblical definitions of existence differ. His reply; “Nice boys don’t ask those questions”.
Sinéad Burke: Overheard while filming the Da Vinci Code – “Can someone please get Mary Magdalene a Diet Coke”?