Through the glass door, about to enter the Mishkenot Sha’ananim Conference Centre I could see a table covered with Ilene Prusher‘s first novel, Baghdad Fixer. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy and then of course get it signed.

I bought my copy and made my way into the main hall. I didn’t recognize any of the people sharing thoughts, laughing and enjoying their wine.

I’ve been a fan of Ilene’s for a couple of years now. Since June 2010 when I attended a writing workshop she led. Last year I attended another one and about a month ago Ilene did me the great benefit of introducing me and initiating my current writing group.

So when next I spotted Ilene, looking as beautiful as ever in her teal dress,  I was thrilled. Thrilled that I had made it on time (I forced my husband to leave work early), thrilled that I had a copy of her book in my hand and thrilled to see Ilene so calm, composed and in the moment.

Next up was the reading. Ilene had selected chapter 22 of the book. The one about ice cream. Because she explained “when you think about Baghdad you think about many things…but you don’t think about ice cream.”

I loved the reading and that Ilene had chosen to read it out together with friends. Ilene read the role of Sam (an American journalist), and two friends read the roles of Nabil (the main character – the fixer) and Rizgar (the driver).

Ilene explained the title of the book and what a fixer is. A “fixer” she explained is the person whose job it is to take care of, or fix, everything from translation to security and accommodation for a foreign correspondent. She also explained that the additional person important to the foreign correspondent is the driver. Chapter 22 brings us into the interaction between these three characters (foreign correspondent, fixer, driver).

The book received a great review from The Guardian and others.
Kudos to Ilene for sticking it out. Writing is difficult and seeing a novel through to completion even more so. So while Ilene’s job is done mine is just beginning. I’m both lucky and proud to have such a teacher.