Evelyn Waugh Annual Lecture: 2023

Lancing College has announced the details of their annual Evelyn Waugh Lecture to be convened next month at the college. Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:

We are delighted to have Oliver Soden (Teme 20032008) [writer, broadcaster and OL] as the guest speaker for our Evelyn Waugh Lecture…

[His book] Michael Tippett: The Biography was hailed by Philip Pullman as a “delight to read”; by the Spectator as “an exceptional piece of work”; and by Gramophone as “nothing short of miraculous”. Book of the Year in the Spectator,Times Literary Supplement and Observer, it was read (by the author) for BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week, with Sir Derek Jacobi playing Tippett. The book won both a Somerset Maugham Award and the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for Storytelling; it was shortlisted for the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography and longlisted for the HWA Non-Fiction Crown.

Jeoffry: The Poet’s Cat, a semi-fictionalised biography of the cat who belonged to eighteenth-century poet Christopher Smart, was acclaimed as “inspired and original” by Hilary Mantel and as “the most beautiful and haunting book of recent times” by Alexander McCall Smith. Book of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement, it was championed as “a little classic” by Dame Eileen Atkins on BBC Radio 4’s A Good Read.

Masquerade, the first biography of Noël Coward in nearly thirty years, will be published on 16 March 2023.

Oliver’s writing – on art, music and literature – has appeared in the GuardianSpectatorLondon Review of BooksTimes Literary Supplement, and Literary Review; he is a frequent guest speaker on BBC Radio 3, and has been interviewed for the Six O’Clock News (BBC Radio 4) and for Times Radio and ABC Radio National. He is Chair of the Michael Tippett Musical Foundation and has worked on award-winning television documentaries such as Janet Baker: In Her Own Words and for BBC Radio 3’s long-running programme Private Passions. After Lancing Oliver went on to Clare College, Cambridge, where he took a double first in English. Born in 1990, he grew up in Bath and Sussex, and lives in London.

This very special occasion is by invitation only and open to all members of the Lancing Foundation in recognition of their support for the College…

The lecture is scheduled for 20 April 2023 at 645p at the college.  It is not open to the public, although the college has on occasion in the past allowed individual members of the Evelyn Waugh Society to attend if they request permission and space is available. Contact Alexandra Friedman, Events Coordinator.


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