Books: Inspirations: Writer and photojournalist John Reader

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The place

The sea. And any coastline, where breakers deliver the energy of the oceans to the beaches, the rocks and the tidal pools.

The play

Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author. The best sort of drama.

The film

The Passenger directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.

The artwork

Any rock painting, where you can stand exactly where the painter stood thousands of years before.

The music

"Early one morning, just as the sun was rising..." - that song, sung by a single, unaccompanied soprano voice, is an echo from the childhood of an evacuee. The simple, clear purity of it doesn't so much fill a space as create one.

John Reader's latest book is `Africa: a biography of the continent', published by Penguin at pounds 14.99

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