We accompanied our author and illustrator, Sarah Elizabeth Beaumont, to Cambridge University to support her in lecturing ‘Alice in the Classroom’. We were also pleased to promote our new book at a number of associated ‘Wonderland Week’ events, which formed part of the University of Cambridge’s celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the first publication of ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
Sarah Elizabeth Beaumont spoke about her lifelong passion for ‘Alice in Wonderland’, why she had been compelled and inspired to write ‘Alice’s London Adventures in Wonderland’, how she had made a decision to remain reasonably faithful to Carroll’s original text and Tenniel’s style of pen and ink drawings, and how she had emphasised Carroll’s themes of identity, scale, and nonsense – “there is far more nonsense around nowadays than ever there was” – and the joy and rewards of writing (and reading) parodies. Sarah also participated in a round table discussion about the book, chaired by Morag Styles.
Heffers of Cambridge sold pre-publication copies of ‘Alice’s London Adventures in Wonderland’ prior to the official launch date of the first of October, and Sarah was able to sign these first editions for the delegates and visitors who bought copies.
It was absolutely apparent that ‘Alice in Wonderland’ remains a huge worldwide phenomenon, attracting readers of all ages, including academics, commentators, and interpreters. It was indeed interesting and gratifying to meet so many Alice enthusiasts!
The ‘Tea Party’ in the Great Hall, at Homerton College on Saturday afternoon, provided a relaxed and enjoyable end to what was a fabulous week of academic celebrations. The Great Hall and grounds had been transformed with the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme, including oversized furniture and a giant chess board, pink flamingos, a Cheshire Cat sitting in a tree, and many Wonderland costumed characters, with a jazz band providing music on the lawn and in the hall. Tables in the Great Hall were decked with imaginative Alice-referenced items including chequer-board sandwiches, stands of ‘eat me’ cakes, ‘drink me’ beverages, and even tiny ornate jam tarts. Playing cards were scattered everywhere and tiny heart shaped confetti cut from book print.
It was an all-round well organised affair that was fun, imaginative, and intellectually stimulating.