I went to a panel discussion on WW2 and the continuing impact it has on the Middle East. The panel was not really what I had expected, with less focus on WW2 and more on the Palestine / Israel issue, but the reason I went was to see Antony Beevor. When I was at university, I came into possession of a book called “Inside the British Army”.
Since then, he has become a famous and award winning historian, with books such as “Stalingrad”, “Berlin: The Downfall 1945”, “D-Day: The Battle for Normandy”, and “The Second World War”. I went to talk to him after the discussion, and he made me feel like he couldn’t get away fast enough, which I have a lot of sympathy for as it must be odd having strangers come up to you and try to strike up a conversation.
As I was processing this thought, 5 teenagers interrupted me trying to engage Antony Beevor, and asked for MY autograph! They were students from Emirates International School Jumeirah, where I had done the TEDx talk in Dubai on 18th November 2012. Knowing what it felt like, and trying to learn from that lesson, I tried to be as friendly as possible to the kids.
When I eventually got back to Antony Beevor, he was much more friendly, introduced me to his wife, Artemis Cooper, and signed a book for me.