CRAIG BROWN, the satirist, author and columnist (including a regular diary in Private Eye) will form part of the Saturday evening panel discussion and is joining us for the party afterwards. The topic, for the beginning of the discussion, will be the portrayal of Bletchley Park in popular media; but the panel will be guided by questions from the audience.
Craig Brown was educated at Eton and at Bristol University, then found a career as a freelance journalist in London. For many years, Brown has appeared in the UK media as himself, and also under a variety of comedic disguises. His work has encompassed columns and occasional pieces for The Tatler, The Spectator, The Times Literary Supplement, Literary Review, the Evening Standard, The Times (notably as parliamentary sketchwriter), and The Sunday Times (as TV and restaurant critic). He later continued his restaurant column in The Sunday Telegraph and has contributed a weekly book review to The Mail on Sunday.
For the past quarter century, he has authored the parodic Diary in Private Eye, under names as diverse as W.G. Sebald, Donald Trump and Pippa Middleton. His book 1966 and All That takes its title, and some other elements, from 1066 and All That, extending its history of Britain through to the beginning of the 21st century. A BBC Radio 4 adaptation followed in September 2006, in similar vein to an earlier series This Is Craig Brown, winning a Sony Radio Gold Award for comedy. His most recent book, One on One — a daisy-chain of real-life meetings — was a New York Times bestseller, and was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson prize. It was chosen as Book of the Year in The Spectator, The Guardian, the New York Times and by Julian Barnes in the TLS, among others. In 2012, Kirsty Young invited him to introduce his Desert Island Discs for BBC Radio 4, and the programme can be heard here.
In a virtuosic display of writing, he created the characters both of ‘Bel Littlejohn’, an ultra-trendy New Labour type, in The Guardian, and ‘Wallace Arnold’, an extremely reactionary conservative, in The Independent on Sunday. From 2001–8, he took over Auberon Waugh’s “Way of the World” column in The Daily Telegraph following Waugh’s death.
Brown has also written comedy shows such as Norman Ormal for television (in which he appeared as a returning officer). He has also appeared on television as a critic on BBC Two’s Late Review as well as in documentaries such as Russell Davies’s life of Ronald Searle.
In 2012, upon receiving three Press Awards in in single ceremony, becoming the first writer to do so, Craig Brown remarked as he retraced his steps to the stage: “I feel like the waiter on the Titanic who said ‘I know I asked for ice but this is ridiculous’.”
“The most screamingly funny living writer”. (Barry Humphries)
“The wittiest writer in Britain today” (Stephen Fry)
“Craig Brown is astonishing, uncanny in his uncanniness, his every wicked paragraph doing what a born satirist is born to do.” (Alan Coren)
“The funniest journalist of his generation.” (Harry Enfield)
“Among the finest literary parodists we have.” (Rory Bremner)