Saturday, 2 May 2009

Wilde card

To the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival - on an impulse - to hear Gyles Brandreth promote the latest in his series of murder mystery novels, featuring Oscar Wilde moonlighting as an amateur detective.

Brandreth is a bit of a one - clever, witty, charming, hyper-energetic and, in my view, very definitely a good egg.

The venue was an opulent, though chilly, tent in the Bancroft Gardens. The audience was small, bordering on microscopic. Maybe fifty of us. But Gyles was unfazed and proceed to offer a masterclass in 'working a room', puffing his book and giving us an informative and highly entertaining hour.

Gyles was educated at Bedales School in the 1960s, where once a week he played Scrabble with the school's retired founder John Haden Badley, who had known Oscar Wilde in his youth - which helped launch his lifelong enthusiasm for Wilde.

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