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Philip Paris 'researching The Italian Chapel was a quest'

23rd September 2009

Scottish author Philip Paris has revealed how he spent three years researching his latest book.

The Italian Chapel, which was released today, examines the picturesque church on Orkney which was created by Italian prisoners during World War II and went on to become a major tourist attraction.

Paris told the BBC that he started work on the book in 2005 by interviewing former prisoners of war (PoWs) and their relatives, a process which he claims became something of a 'quest'.

'I tracked down elderly men who had been PoWs in Orkney. I contacted the families of the key artists who built the chapel and the descendants of the men who ran Camp 60,' he explained.

The author added that getting in touch with these people allowed him to discover the church's 'untold story' and tell its tale in a way which has not been covered before.

Writing recently in the Guardian, Paris explained that he considers the chapel, which was built so Italian PoWs would have somewhere to worship, to be a symbol of mankind's ability to tackle adversity.

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