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
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
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
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
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!
"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
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
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...
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.
young Jimmy Haynes
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 the two or three weeks in August. To attend, write,
email or call to have your name added to the guest's list
Two productions on the Fringe, Broadway Enchanté
and The Surrender, are being supported by Jim Haynes. Come
for supper and meet the performers, buy your tickets! Read more
Come and join the Sinfonietta Paris Chamber Orchestra conducted by Michael
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 on the Handshake
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... >>
Festival 2013 -Come and have supper with Jim at the Scottish Arts Club.Jim is supporting two productions this year, places are limited
so book early!...
Events -2013 The 1962 Writers' Conference Revisited / Shakespeare
& Co: celebrating the book co-edited by Angela Bartie and Eleanor
Bell published by Cargo Publishing...
Newsletters -2012 N.721 A Look Back at 2012: dinners, exhibitions,
trips, visitors, theater, books, press articles, an action-packed
-2012 N.720 The Edinburgh International Festival:
theatre, friends, a rhino and a nano-stage, the events and get togethers
of a busy month...
-2012 Before Google… the alternative travel guide to Poland. Vicky Baker takes
social networking back to its roots. An article published in The
Observer, October 7, 2012...
-2012 Let's do it! The International Writers' Conference, a "highly
provocative week", and an interview with Jim Haynes published
in The Times Literary Supplement, August 17, 2012..
-2012 Dinner? Paris? Invite Everyone!, by Kenan Christiansen,
an article published in The New York Times, Friday, March 2,
-2011 Chez Jim Haynes: In Paris, a great Sunday feast with instant
friends, by Doug Oster, an article published in the Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette, Sunday, November 20, 2011...