Master Palindromist Barry Duncan beams at the camera

Barry Duncan

“I write in two directions.  I had very little experience with collaboration when Karen (who had read a magazine article about me) got in touch and asked if we might discuss working together.

What impressed me about her immediately was how receptive she was to anything I suggested.  It made no difference to her that a thing had never been done before, or that there was no obvious language for expressing something.  I would eventually come to understand that this striking combination of curiosity and flexibility was at the heart of who she is.  Karen is a creator of possibilities, a synthesizer of ideas, a translator of the seemingly untranslatable (palindromes, in my case).

There is a way of approaching a collaboration, where one says to oneself:  I have this really great concept.  Let me try to get others to see it my way.  Karen’s approach is more like:  I am working with talented and clever people.  Let us discover what we can make together.

It is difficult to imagine anyone who is closer to the ideal of what a collaborator should be.  I have now reached a point where I accept almost every project I am offered.  The reason I can do that is because of my collaboration with Karen – or, to put it another way, because it was Karen who taught me how to collaborate.”

Barry Duncan, Master Palindromist


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