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Earl Spencer for A Very Private School, a Topping and Co Event

27 March @ 7:00 pm 9:00 pm

A Very Private School

Joining Topping and Co to talk on A Very Private School, his poignant memoir, Earl Spencer recounts the trauma of being sent away from home at age eight to attend a boarding school.

Charles Spencer was a reporter on NBC’s Today show from 1986 until 1995, and is the author of seven books, including the Sunday Times bestsellers The White Ship (picked as a Best Book Of The Year by The Daily TelegraphThe Guardian, and others), Blenheim: Battle For Europe (shortlisted for History Book of the Year in the 2005 National Book Awards), and Killers of the King.

A Very Private School offers a clear-eyed, first-hand account of a culture of cruelty at the school Spencer attended in his youth and provides important insights into an antiquated boarding system. Drawing on the memories of many of his schoolboy contemporaries, as well as his own letters and diaries from the time, he reflects on the hopelessness and abandonment he felt aged eight, viscerally describing the intense pain of homesickness and the appalling inescapability of it all. Exploring the long-lasting impact of his experiences, Spencer presents a candid reckoning with his past and a reclamation of his childhood.

Spencer will be interviewed by author of The River Kings and co-host of The Rabbit Hole Detectives, Cat Jarman.


‘Moving and beautifully written, what Spencer’s courageous book reveals will be horribly familiar to the thousands of us who endured the same vile abuse in dozens of schools that were clones of each other. Most of us will go to our graves with the wounds unhealed’ ~ Louis de Bernieres

‘This is a powerful, unforgettable story of childhood trauma, and the dark secrets and savagery of the past, told with a searing honesty and clarity that is ultimately redemptive’ ~ Justine Picardie

‘A detailed piece of modern history, A Very Private School chronicles the damage done to its author and many of his contemporaries in what John Le Carre called our ‘disgraceful’ private boarding system. It is a vivid, and enraging narrative of systemic brutality down the years, tolerated in silence, unprosecuted, whose consequences affect all our lives’ ~ James Fox

01225 428111

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