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Novelist and journalist Tony Parsons starts work today as writer-in-residence at Heathrow Airport.

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In a departure from his usual approach to writing, Parsons has moved into a hotel at the airport and will stay for a week.

The author of the best-selling Man and Boy will roam the terminals talking to travellers and staff looking for inspiration for his first collection of short stories which will be called Departures: Seven Stories from Heathrow.

He said: “Airports are places of extreme emotion where people come and go and experiences begin and end.

“Often when we travel we find ourselves in such a hurry to get to our end destination that we fail to appreciate the individual stories and moments happening before us.

“Having grown up reading Arthur Hailey’s novel Airport it feels like an incredible opportunity to live at Heathrow and write about the people whose lives are touched by it.

“I am looking forward to sharing these experiences and to reviving the airport fiction genre with my first short story collection.”

A former NME journalist, Parsons regularly writes for GQ and the Daily Mirror.

The airport’s first writer-in-residence was philosopher and author Alain de Botton.

Parts of his book, called A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary, were written from a desk in Terminal 5.

Heathrow Acting Chief Operating Officer Terry Morgan said Parsons was a “fantastic storyteller”.

He added: “We are delighted that passengers flying through Heathrow this summer will have the chance to inspire characters in a book by one of the world’s most renowned fiction writers.”

Five thousand copies of the book will be given away free to passengers before going on general sale from October.

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