They met by chance in the Palm Court of the Ritz Hotel on the evening of 26 October 1944.

By the time she eventually caught the train back to Penzance two days later they had fallen in love and Eric had declared that he was determined to marry her... Before her death in 2002, Mary Wesley told her biographer Patrick Marnham: `after I met Eric I never looked at anyone else again. We lived our ups and downs but life was never boring.' Eric Siepmann was her second husband and their correspondence - lively, intimate, passionate, frustrated - charted their life together (and apart) with unusual candour and spirit. Marnham suggests that through these letters Mary, who famously blossomed as a novelist in her seventies, a decade after Eric's death, found her voice. Bequeathed to Marnham in two size-5 shoe boxes, this is one of the great surviving post-war correspondences. `With you I can become the person I really am - and bearing the grave in mind be buried as such. Dear love consider yourself kissed' Mary, 30 October 1944 `I find you brave and amusing, understanding and beautiful, simple and sophisticated, and I love you. More than that, I mean to get you' Eric, 5 December 1944.

Journalist, travel writer and biographer Patrick Marnham has written about Diego Riviera, Georges Simenon and Mary Wesley among others. As a journalist, he was Literary Editor of The Spectator and Paris correspondent of The Independent. His books have won the Thomas Cook Travel award and the Marsh Biography Award.

 

Listing Details

Thursday 19th October, 5.00pm

Venue

United Church, 49-51 Charles Street

Ticket Prices

Adults: £10.00

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Paul was an excellent interviewer, and I loved the format. Great audience, acoustics...

Tracy Chevalier
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I had a wonderful time in Dorchester. Very best wishes, Tom.

Thomas Williams
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I very much enjoyed giving my talk and meeting you and all your colleagues. I can think of no way you could have been more accommodating. 

John Wright
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I was particularly delighted by how many of the audience seemed to know and appreciate my work. As you know, authors are solitary creatures - mostly - and for me at least it's a real pleasure to have good reason to leave my work-room (a shed in the garden with a too-seductive view of the Cambrians) and meet and talk with readers and fellow writers (not forgetting that many of us are both).

Elisabeth Luard
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A really enjoyable and unusual event. I got a good feeling from it. And am so glad the Festival in general has gone well.

Tracy Chevalier
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Kate Adie's Desert Island Books was thoroughly enjoyable! I had no idea she was (a) so glamorous and (b) so delightfully funny.

Sue Slater
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