Granta Reading Poster (Blackwell’s, 1983)

Notes on this item: Poster advertising a public reading of three authors — Julian Barnes, A.N. Wilson, and Adam Mars-Jones — at Blackwell’s, Broad Street, Oxford on March 9, [1983]. The reading is assumed to have taken place in 1983, because the poster advertises the “Best of the Young British Novelists”, from Granta No. 7. Bill Buford, the editor of Granta at that time, discussed in a 2013 article how the famous “Best of the Young British Novelists” list came into existence, stating:

“When the list of 20 under 40 was announced in the Sunday Times, on 22 August 1982, there was no noise or ceremony. Hoopla would have been premature because bountiful stacks of British books wouldn’t be in the shops to buy yet. What mattered was the fortnight of frenzied promotion that was then planned for six months hence” (The Guardian, 6 April 2013).

The Granta issue based on the “20 under 40” list was published in 1983.

This particular poster was acquired by a student attending Oxford at the time, was stored in their attic for nearly two decades, and eventually given to Julian Barnes’s bibliographer, Ryan Roberts. When Roberts presented the poster to Barnes, the author inscribed it:

Bloody Hell
This is/was my
public appearance
Very pre-Ryan …
Julian Barnes

Barnes also playfully drew glasses and a beard on the photo of A.N. Wilson. Measures approximately 12″ x 17″.