The 27th let­ter: what will it be?

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

ACOMPETITION to come up with a 27th let­ter of the al­pha­bet, con­ceived by Ian Flem­ing, is be­ing res­ur­rected to mark its 70th an­niver­sary. The con­test was orig­i­nally con­ceived by Flem­ing while help­ing his friend Robert Har­ling at the ty­po­graph­i­cal magazine Al­pha­bet & Im­age and now, his neph­ews, James and Fer­gus Flem­ing, in con­nec­tion with The Book Col­lec­tor (the pe­ri­od­i­cal for bib­lio­philes owned by Flem­ing), are to run it again. The rules are the same: come up with a 27th let­ter ‘that ful­fils a dis­tinct pur­pose that the present al­pha­bet lacks’. Stand­out en­tries in 1947 in­cluded let­ters for ‘th’, ‘-sion’ and ‘er’, as in ‘I have no—er—hes­i­ta­tion in say­ing’, a ‘long, thin let­ter, droop­ing slightly at the end’.

‘It’s of­ten been said that my un­cle—and the Bond books—lacked a sense of hu­mour,’ says Fer­gus, ‘but I re­cently edited his let­ters and, ac­tu­ally, he seems great fun.’ He’s hop­ing for in­no­va­tion, but stresses that ‘emo­jis aren’t al­lowed’. Eighty years ago, Flem­ing wasn’t around to judge— ‘he was off chas­ing his wife-to-be [Ann] in Ja­maica,’ says his nephew. This time around, Sir Peter Blake will judge the en­tires, with £250 and a tro­phy for the win­ner. En­tries close on April 25. To en­ter visit www. the­book­col­lec­ FW

Write stuff: au­thor Ian Flem­ing

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