Keith Kahn Harris

professionally curious, communally engaged

Whatever happened to The Best Waterskier in Luxembourg?

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So whatever did happen to The Best Waterskier in Luxembourg?

In 2011 and 2012 I worked with the crowd-funded publishing site Unbound on a book called The Best Waterskier in Luxembourg: Tales of Big Fish in Small Ponds. The idea was to choose – semi-randomly – a number of big fish in small ponds and then go and find them and their stories. As well as the eponymous best waterskier, I sought to find the top politician in Alderney, the Icelandic special forces, Malta’s favourite soft drink, the top metal band in Botswana and the best selling novelist in Suriname.

I got a lot of publicity for the project and received a fair few pledges. I managed to go to Luxembourg and track down the best waterskier. I also got to Alderney where I found the top politician. And then…

Well, there’s no hiding the fact – I didn’t manage to raise all the money I needed. I managed to complete the Luxembourg and Alderney chapters, both of which are available to download. But I didn’t get to Iceland, Malta, Suriname or Botswana.

It was always a big ask and I’m grateful for those who did pledge money.

What happens now? Well, I’ve learned a lot from this project. Most importantly, I’ve learned that what appeared at first to be a fairly frivolous and light-hearted idea actually had more substance to it than I’d imagined. ‘Small ponds’ are important, they are places of passion, politics and community. I want to continue exploring these small worlds to which unsung heroes devote their lives. I also want to try and draw comparisons between them and maybe even help them to flourish and thrive better.

So watch this space. The Best Waterskier in Luxembourg may ride again, in a different – perhaps more serious – form.

I will put up the Alderney and Luxembourg chapters as downloads in separate posts.

Keep checking this website or my twitter account for further news. If you have any ideas or thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.

It’s been a blast exploring the brave new world of crowd-funding. Je ne regret rien!

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