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The Red Funnel Isle of Wight Digital Literary Festival will be officially opened by Cowes born, multi-award-winning actor Jeremy Irons on Friday 9th October at 19:00.

To get proceedings underway, Jeremy will read Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in Eight Fits). It has been chosen for its Island connection; the book is dedicated to Gertrude Chataway and opens with a poem that uses her name as a double acrostic. Carroll met the 9-year-old Gertrude on the beach in Sandown in 1875.

Irons has a rich and much-lauded career in theatre, film and television. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1990 for his performance as Claus von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune.  He was awarded Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe and Emmy for his role in the television miniseries Elizabeth I  (2005) alongside Helen Mirren. He went on to play Pope Alexander in the Showtime historical series The Borgias (2011), and portrayed Henry IV in the BBC Two series The Hollow Crown opposite Tom Hiddleston.

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The star of the screen, who grew up in St Helens, may be best known for his role as Charles Ryder in the cult TV series Brideshead Revisited (1981), or perhaps playing the role of baddy Simon Gruber in Die Hard with a Vengeance. Most recently he starred alongside Regina King in the HBO series WATCHMEN, the revamp led by Damon Lindelof.

Maggie Ankers, chair of the Red Funnel Isle of Wight Literary Festival, has said:

“We can think of no better person to open our digital literary festival than the much respected actor Jeremy Irons.

“Jeremy’s connection to the island and those of Carroll’s poem are a great start to a literary weekend that offers something for everyone.”

Viewing the free digital festival

The Isle of Wight Literary Festival, an established event on the UK Arts calendar, is now in its 9th year. The festival provides a far reaching eclectic programme designed to attract a wide audience and increase the cultural richness of the Isle of Wight.  The festival is normally hosted at Northwood House, Cowes over 4 days with more than 60 writers and presenters talking about their latest works and providing thought-provoking insights.

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