Ross King

Leonardo: The Man Behind the Genius

Ross KingWhat you don't know about Leonardo da Vinci that would make you love him even more

Or so goes the through line of Ross King's talk  with Kirk Lapointe (Event #12) about his book "Leonardo and the Last Supper", which King lavished with such details as Leonardo's favourite colours, his weapons of mass destruction, his genius, his late-life vegetarianism, his handsome legs, and of course one of his renaissance-era jokes about two friars and a business man that somehow manages to remain timeless with King's droll and erudite delivery.

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Ross King

What has been your favorite or most unusual experience at a reading or a literary festival?

Most of my talks, luckily, have been incident-free. However, I was speaking in Philadelphia about ten years ago when a fire alarm went off. We all filed dutifully out of the building and stood in the street chatting and shivering (it was the middle of winter, of course) before we were told it was safe to go back inside.

If someone loves your latest book, what would you recommend they read next?

I would in all modesty direct them to one of my other books! But anyone wanting to know more about Leonardo could do no better than to read Charles Nicholl’s biography, Leonardo da Vinci: The Flights of the Mind. It’s not just a great biography of Leonardo; it’s a great biography, period.

What books might we be surprised to find on your bookshelf?

My bookshelf isn’t just laden with weighty tomes on art and history. I have a number of books that I read when I was a kid and that I like to reread. One of them is Astrid Lindgren’s Mio My Son, which is a charming children’s story that I first read when I was 8 or 9 and which I still love.

What are you most looking forward to in coming to this year’s Vancouver Writers Fest?

I’m looking forward to catching up with a few friends who live in the area, including Susin Nielsen and her husband Goran. Susin and I were GG laureates together last year in Ottawa, and it will be fantastic to see her again.

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