|The Sheldonian Theatre|
We learned that Dickens spoke in Oxford in 1859; not at the Sheldonian but at the Town Hall, after which he reported 'Oxford came out brilliantly'. I wonder whether the audience was more Town than Gown - after all, Dickens' showiness and commercial acumen might well have led Oxford academics to conclude he was 'not quite the thing' ...
Christopher has taught in a Sheffield comprehensive school, where his most frequently-used phrase was 'Put the chair down!' He said 'I don't think we should grind people through books - I think we should tempt them.' Absolutely. Before writing Oliver Twisted, J.D. Sharpe had overheard people in a bookshop talking excitedly about that notorious mash-up novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: in her novel, Oliver is drawn into the world of the undead, the 'woe-begotten'. Her story was given to a class of children for comment and she said it was interesting how some readers loved it and others were genuinely annoyed that she had tampered with the original. When asked whether she'd be writing any other twisted Dickens stories she said no, although someone had volunteered the quite marvellous title 'Zombie and Son'!
So, all in all, even though he's two hundred years old, Dickens is still kicking!
Look out for further Literascribe reports from the Festival.
See also my review of Lyn Shepherd's wonderful book Tom-all-Alone's, inspired by Bleak House, here.
Philip Pullman: The Ruby in the Smoke
Christopher Edge: Twelve Minutes to Midnight
J.D. Sharpe: Oliver Twisted
Write It! will cover all the elements of composing your story, from finding ideas to finishing your first draft.
Edit It! will teach you crucial techniques for polishing and presenting your work effectively.
Full details of these courses are on the Course Dates and Details page of my website: www.fictionfire.co.uk and there are discounts if you wish to book more than one course!