This I believe

Every week for the past 30 years, I've hosted a Sunday dinner in my home in Paris. People, including total strangers, call or e-mail to book a spot. I hold the salon in my atelier, which used to be a sculpture studio. The first 50 or 60 people who call may come, and twice that many when the weather is nice and we can overflow into the garden.
Every Sunday a different friend prepares a feast. Last week it was a philosophy student from Lisbon, and next week a dear friend from London will cook.

People from all corners of the world come to break bread together, to meet, to talk, connect and often become friends. All ages, nationalities, races, professions gather here, and since there is no organized seating, the opportunity for mingling couldn't be better. I love the randomness.
I believe in introducing people to people.
I have a good memory, so each week I make a point to remember everyone's name on the guest list and where they're from and what they do, so I can introduce them to each other, effortlessly. If I had my way, I would introduce everyone in the whole world to each other.
People are most important in my life. Many travelers go to see things like the Tower of London, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and so on. I travel to see friends, even - or especially - those I've never met.
In the late '80s, I edited a series of guidebooks to nine Eastern European countries and Russia. There were no sights to see, no shops or museum to visit; instead, each book contained about 1,000 short biographies of people who would be willing to welcome travelers in their cities. Hundreds of friendships evolved from these encounters, including marriages and babies.
This same can be said for my Sunday salon. At a recent dinner, a 6-year-old girl from Bosnia spent the entire evening glued to an 8-year-old boy from Estonia. Their parents were surprised, and pleased, by this immediate friendship.
There is always a collection of people from all over the globe. Most of them speak English, at least as a second language. Recently a dinner featured a typical mix: a Dutch political cartoonist, a beautiful painter from Norway, a truck driver from Arizona, a bookseller from Atlanta, a newspaper editor from Sydney, students from all over, and traveling retirees.
I have long believed that it is unnecessary to understand others, individuals or nationalities; one must, at the very least, simply tolerate others. Tolerance can lead to respect and, finally, to love. No one can ever really understand anyone else, but you can love them or at least accept them.
Like Tom Paine, I am a world citizen. All human history is mine. My roots cover the earth. I believe we should know each other. After all, our lives are all connected.
OK, now come and dine!

Listen to Jim on NPR!

Introducing Jim Haynes:

"Begin life in Louisiana, pass early teens in Venezuela, three years in a boarding school in Atlanta, attend university in Louisiana (L.S.U. and Tulane), do military obligation and in 1956 settle in Scotland.
Attend the University of Edinburgh, start The Paperback Bookshop & Gallery (1959), The Howff (1961), a folk-song club, the Traverse Theatre (1963), co-organize The Writers' Conference (1962) with John Calder and Sonia Orwell, the Drama Conference (1963) with John Calder and Ken Tynan and participate in the creation of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Move to 'swinging London' in 1966 and there co-create the London Traverse Theatre Company with Charles Marowitz, Michael Geliot, and Ralph Koltai. Co-launch the newspaper "I.T." (with Barry Miles, John Hopkins, Jack Moore, and Michael Henshaw), the Arts Lab mixed-media space (with Jack Moore, David Curtis, Biddy Peppin, Pamela Zoline and others). Producer by now of over 250 theatre shows I am awarded The Whitbread Prize in 1966.>>

Jim's life in the Theatre

My first theatrical experience was a T.S. Eliot play (I think The Cocktail Party) in Shreveport, Louisiana way back in the 40s. I was knocked out.
In the 1950s, I managed to see South Pacific, Porgy and Bess and other Broadway shows.
In 1956, when I moved to Edinburgh, my theatre-going activities increased. Thanks to Edinburgh's Gateway Theatre, the Lyceum Theatre, touring productions at the King's Theatre (another production of South Pacific and John Osborne's Look Back in Anger) and every August the Edinburgh Festival. Glasgow, an hour away, had the Citizens Theatre. Plus many trips to London's West End. On a brief trip to New York City in 1959, thanks to Fifi Sigg, managed to catch the off-Broadway production of The Three Penny Opera with Lotte Lenya.
In the 1957 Edinburgh Festival, after attending Ugo Betti's Corruption in the House of Justice, I stopped my Volkswagen in the Royal Mile and asked three people, who I had noticed earlier sitting near me in the theatre, if they would like a ride... >>

Social networking with Jim

Jim Haynes


How to make the gods laugh: tell them your plans! Nevertheless I hope the future includes my continuing to live here in my Paris atelier, travelling to see friends, writing newsletters and books, hosting friends, organizing the Sunday dinners, and enjoying every minute of life. For me, happiness is an intellectual concept, and I decided years ago to be happy. In spite of (and because of) everything, I love life. It has been good to me, and I hope that I have been good to it.


Jim Haynes
young Jimmy Haynes
come to Sunday dinner!

The Sunday Dinners

In the early 70s launch with Cathy Sroufe (now Monnet), a Sunday salon chez moi. It takes place, rain or shine, every Sunday evening from 20h00 to 23h00 - except for two or three weeks in August. To attend, write, email or call to have your name added to the guests' list >>


Event: Meeting Jim, the film!
"Meeting Jim" A film about the ordinary journey of an extraordinary man. Come and join us on this exciting adventure and give the film your support !>>


Sinfonietta Paris Chamber Orchestra online
Come and enjoy the SPCO directed by conductor Michael Boone! The 2016-17 season continues with two springtime concerts on April 7-8, 2017 at 8 pm with the Trio Atanasov playing Dvorák's Piano Trio No.2 Op.26 and Brahms' Piano Trio No.3, Op.101. Read more soon and buy your tickets here !

Cook Book

Throw a Great Party, the cook book inspired by Jim's Sunday dinners, has been published.
Get your copy here!
Read more about the Cook Book!


Our kitchen-table publishing house, Handshake Editions, continues. Founded in 1980, we publish small print-runs. >>
I also write and publish newsletters, pamphlets and books. >>
The A2 Gallery hosts small exhibitions of paintings and photographs. >>
From time to time, the atelier is transformed into a performance space for theatrical and other events.


One of my favorite activities is to travel to visit friends and lovers. I also travel to further projects and to meet new friends and lovers. Favorite destinations are festivals. Over the years I have attended dozens of festivals and conferences. And I like going back to the same festival year after year. I have attended The Edinburgh International Festival every year... >>

Jim's Newsletters
-2016 N.740 A Look Back at 2016, and a peep into 2017, a good read to catch up with time...
-2016 "The Man who opened his house to strangers" , an article by Keyvan Golestaneh published in the January online edition of Expatriates Magazine. An interview on some keypoints of Jim's life and activities in Paris...
Jim's Newsletters
-2016 N.739 The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, three weeks in Edinburgh for the always exciting and eventful festival...
2016 N.738 The Prague Fringe Festival, a week in good company enjoying the young and lively theatre festival...
Stay with Jim in Paris!
Book your stay in Jim's downstairs room with Airbnb...
We Are Charlie
Press Room
-2015 N.736 The San Sebastian Film Festival, a few days watching movies and eating pintxos with friends...
2015 Are we a nation of perverts? , an article by Auld Sneekie published in the Times' Edinburgh Festival Diary, 20 Aug 2015. "Jim Haynes made two enormous contributions to Edinburgh life in the 1960s...
Jim's Newsletters
-2015 N.735 The Edinburgh Festival, a great month with lots of friends, theatre and books...
-2015 N.734 The Trip to Madrid, a week in the company of friends, books, theatre and films...
a long awaited revised edition of Jim's memoirs, and also EVERYTHING IS! by Jim Haynes a new edition of Jim's soft manifestos for our time. And more to come! Get your copies now! ...
Paris Visite
watch the trailer of this documentary movie about Jim Haynes, directed by R.A. Rebetez, produced by Ellektra Pictures and Angela Spörri, and order your copy...
Books and writers in my life
an exhibition:
34 books and writers that have been important to Jim Haynes...
Handshake edition
revisiting the catalogue of the Paris based publishing house...
If you want to order a few books, check the updated book order form!
Jim Haynes takes Henry Miller down memory lane
an article by Adam Biles in Ling Magazine, March, 2009
This I believe
listen to Jim on NPR !
Broadcast on Monday, January 12th, 2009
Sunday Dinners
an ongoing story, the facts
+ free recipes for you!

Not only a Rumor
read what they wrote about Jim
















Jim Haynes' Website