In 1988, fresh out of Oxford University with a degree in French and German, Nicky Gentil moved to Paris to pursue a career in translation.
Some twenty years later - having acquired a husband and two children along the way! - she took up jazz improvisation on the piano, rapidly discovering a great passion for it, so much so that, in 2016, she published a book on the subject. Her first published work, LA JAZZ-GIRL PASSIONNEE ET SON DEVOUE ACCORDEUR (Editions Beaurepaire), is a light-hearted, feel-good account of her unexpected road to jazz.
The book received an overwhelmingly positive response at France's 2016 EuroPiano Congress. Consequently, at the suggestion of the English-speaking attendees and in light of numerous requests from family and friends in the UK, she translated her work into English. It was published in March 2018 under the title THE JAZZ-GIRL, THE PIANO, AND THE DEDICATED TUNER (Matador Publishing).
In October of that same year, she also published PETITS DIALOGUES EN TAXI (Editions Beaurepaire) - a collection of around thirty tales recounting some of her more memorable cab rides since moving to France - in celebration of her thirtieth anniversary in the capital.
TAXI TALES FROM PARIS is the English version of that work.
Today, Nicky Gentil divides her time between her writing, translating her writing and her various musical activities.
One of the many things I love about publishing a book is the subsequent trip it takes you on, as if the book itself begins to write its own story. All sorts of wonderful things happen such as my waking up one morning this week to receive this amazing message: "Thank you for sharing your experiences. This is a valuable piece of literature for us piano technicians." These comments came from an American piano tuner who is currently reviewing my book for the Piano Technicians Journal.
In France, the 21st June is National Music Day (Fete de la Musique) and, to celebrate it, I shall be playing jazz and giving a talk on my book in WH Smiths of Paris, located just near the majestic Place de la Concorde. When first I moved to Paris, some thirty years ago, this shop was my regular source of English books and newspapers. Never in a million years, though, would I have thought, back then, that one day I might actually find myself presenting my own book there! But as I said, publishing a book seems to be but the mere beginning of one truly exciting trip and book presentations are all part of it!!
On 23rd November, I shall be giving a talk on my book and bringing some of the scenes to life on the piano at the Nantwich bookshop in the town where I grew up. It's really quite amazing to be going back there in my capacity as an author!