The British Library asks: Which literary characters would you invite round for tea? Part One


Well now, what a question? Where to begin with a suggestion like this?

My knee-jerk response is of course, Arthur Dent. He of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. A veritable tea connoisseur, tea head, and possessor of tea-addled brain.

“Arthur blinked at the screens and felt he was missing something important. Suddenly he realized what it was.

“Is there any tea on this spaceship?” he asked.”  

But then I got to thinking about who I’d like to have a chat with over a civilised cuppa, and more and more “people” sprung to mind. Here is the first half of my list:

Ray Bradbury’s Guy Montag, fireman (Fahrenheit 451). I think Guy could do with a nice pot of strong tea. Disillusioned with his work, feeling like he’s slept-walked through his life, he’s awoken by a young neighbour who more or less brings him to life. She shows him things that he was blinded from, by socially constructed norms and by the tediousness of life. Burning books can never be right after all. Someone get that man a cuppa.

George Orwell’s Winston Smith, who works for the Ministry of Truth (1984). Poor Winston, constantly watched, constantly under scrutiny, under-performing, looking suspicious. It’s hard work being non-conformist! Let me make you a pot of tea and a few cucumber sandwiches …

J.B. Morrison’s Frank Derrick would make a great afternoon tea companion – witty, street-wise, lots of stories to tell and aged 81. Pull up a chair Frank. Grab a few of those Rich Tea while you’re at it as well.

Emily Bronte’s Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) would be an interesting guest. I’m not sure he’d want to contribute to the conversation very much, so brooding and handsome, but remaining all sultry in the corner will suffice while I drink my lovely brew.

Genevieve Cogman’s Irene – specialist librarian from The Invisible Library. Irene needs a quiet moment for a nice cup of tea. Always running around in pursuit of an acquisition for the Library whilst dealing with the Fae and dragons too. I’d like to talk to her about the books she finds!

Bailey Clarke from Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus would make a great afternoon tea guest, with tales of the Circus, of Celia and Marco but probably mostly of Widget and Poppet. I would hope to be passed a card when he left giving me unlimited access to the Night Circus!

Time to go make a nice cup of tea and contemplate the remainder of my list.









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