by Melinda Gallo

Robert Hellenga at the British Institute

At the British Institute today, I met up with my friend Lisa to see Robert Hellenga who was reading from his new book The Italian Lover. Lisa told me about the event and lent me his book to read last week, so I was looking forward to see him. While I walked to the British Institute, the sun was shining brightly and the hope of spring was in the air.

Living in Florence :: Robert Hellenga at the British Institute

I walked over Ponte Santa TrinitÓ, which is shown in the photo that I took after Mr. Hellenga's talk, and met up with Lisa. We arrived at the British Institute a half hour before the beginning of the event, and I was surprised that there weren't many people in the room. The last time I went to the British Institute, the room was packed full although I did arrive later too.

A few minutes before the start of the event, a large group of people filed into the institute. I asked Mr. Hellenga in the hall if I could take a picture of him during the reading because I didn't want to disturb him while he spoke. He said that it wasn't a problem, but I took only a couple of photos.

I enjoyed listening to Mr. Hellenga read from his book and talk about his writing life and other book, "Sixteen Pleasures." He has such a wonderful reading voice that I could've listened to him read more of his book. We stayed for the aperitivo (apÚritif) that they served, and then left.

I was happy to have met Mr. Hellenga and talked with him a few minutes before we left. It's always interesting to me to hear about other people's experiences in Florence. I look forward to any future writers who come to Florence to read an excerpt from their books and speak to us.

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