Waugh Event at Henley Festival Early Sell Out

The Henley Standard for today reports that the Evelyn Waugh event at the Henley Literary Festival next month was its first sell out. Philip Eade will discuss his new biography of Waugh in a session at Stonor Park where lunch will be provided. According to the Standard article this may have more to do with the lunch offer than the subject matter. The small size of the venue (40 seats) may also have contributed:

What we find is that authors are less fussed over the size of their venue as long as whatever room we put them in is full. They like to sell out. We have a reputation for selling out but in fact it is only certain events. With 150 to choose from, it is always possible to book some things, right up until the day…We had wanted to use Stonor much more, but although the house is substantial as well as beautiful, it was built as a home and there isn’t a large room for theatre-style seating.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Evelyn Waugh’s death, and as Waugh was a regular visitor to Stonor we thought it a fitting venue for Philip Eade, who has written about his life. I am looking forward to it. My friend and colleague at the Daily Telegraph, the late Bill Deedes, knew Waugh well as they were on assignment together in Abyssinia. That was the trip that inspired Scoop and the main character was based on Bill. Actually, Bill didn’t care for Waugh much — he thought he was a terrible snob. But there is no doubting he was, like Graham Greene (another regular visitor to Stonor), one of the greatest writers of that generation.

Unsurprisingly all the tickets for Philip Eade went within a couple of hours of going on sale — a mix of the subject matter, the fact it includes lunch (often in short supply for dedicated festivalgoers) and the chance to visit Stonor. So it was officially our first sell-out.

As noted in an earlier post, the description of Waugh as  “regular” visitor to Stonor park may be an overstatement based on published records. 

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