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Baillie Gifford winner Craig Brown on A Voyage Around the Queen

Thursday 26th September

Topping & Company Booksellers of Bath, York Street, Bath, Somerset BA1 1NG
Doors Open
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Craig Brown has been writing the parodic celebrity diary for Private Eye since 1989 alongside a rich variety of publications, including the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Spectator. His books include One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time, which won the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, and Ma'am Darling, which won the James Tait Black award.

Now, one of the funniest writers of our time, the award-winning Craig Brown turns his attention to Queen Elizabeth II in an unforgettable and fascinating biography.

The world revolved around Queen Elizabeth II. Everyone was caught up in her orbit.

Andy Warhol envied her. Michelle Obama was overawed by her. Jackie Kennedy resented her. Haile Selassie gave her a gold tiara. Virginia Woolf compared her to a caterpillar. Dirk Bogarde watched Death in Venice with her. E. M. Forster might have married her, if only she had been a boy. Idi Amin confided in her. On the day of her death, Jeanette Winterson got dressed in black, in preparation for the official announcement.

She became a human looking-glass: the light cast by fame bounced off her and back onto everyone else. She mirrored our hopes and anxieties. To the optimist, she seemed an optimist; to the outsider, distant. To the cynic she was prosaic, and to the awestruck, charismatic. When people spoke of The Queen, they spoke of themselves; when they dreamed of her, they dreamed of themselves. Though by nature reserved and unassuming, in her presence rock stars were transformed into awkward schoolboys, dictators would tremble and Nobel Prize winners would start to talk gibberish.

In a kaleidoscopic series of chapters, A Voyage Around the Queen finds her painted by Rolf Harris and Lucian Freud, celebrated in verse by Ted Hughes and John Betjeman, serenaded by Jimi Hendrix and tussling over a teapot with Mrs Thatcher. From Craig Brown, the bestselling author of Ma'am Darling and One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time, comes an exhilarating new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, her family, her friends and enemies; and of all the rest of us, too.