The 27th letter: what will it be?
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. thebookcollector.co.uk FW
Write stuff: author Ian Fleming