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Centenary—16th June 2011

We have reached and passed what would have been Victor Canning's hundredth birthday. As a tribute to the author and a present to his readers I have written a new story, "A knife and fork" downloadable as a .pdf. This was a story that Victor Canning promised to write but never got around to, so I have tried to make good the deficiency.

In 2011 the Shaftesbury Arts Centre staged a revival of Victor Canning's comedy Beggar's Bush from 12 to 15th October. It is a splendid play, whose script disappeared for seventy years until unearthed in the censorship archive of the Lord Chamberlain.

I had been hoping to organise some kind of event to mark Victor Canning's hundredth birthday, such as a long weekend at a hotel in one of the towns close to the places he lived in and wrote about, either Plymouth, Barnstaple, Salisbury or Tonbridge. Unfortunately there was too little take up, so whenever we celebrate we shall have to celebrate separately. May I suggest that every 16th June we all eat a kipper for breakfast (like the one Rex Carver should have eaten chez Mrs. Meld) and an omelette Baron de Barante (omelette with shrimps and cêpes) for lunch, and steak Diane with a Chianti (like Rex Carver and Maurice Crillon) for dinner. Bon appétit!

John Higgins, Chiang Mai, October 2024