The Century of Deception: Ian Keable and Brian Sibley in Conversation

Tuesday 19th October 2021
18:30 at Waterstones, London - Gower Street

Please note this event has been postponed, we apologise for any confusion or disappointment. 

Join us for an evening with Ian Keable, Magician and author of 'The Century of Deception: The Birth of the Hoax in Eighteenth Century England', as he details some of the most bamboozling hoaxes of the 18th Century –  a woman who birthed rabbits, someone climbing into a bottle in front of a live audience, curious astrological predictions and more hoaxes of intrigue. Ian will be in conversation with the writer, journalist and broadcaster Brian Sibley.

In 1749 a newspaper advertisement appeared stating that a man would climb inside a bottle on the stage of a London theatre. Unfortunately, although the audience turned up, the conjurer didn't. Over the following decades, elaborate jokes and fanciful tales would continue to bamboozle people across England.

In The Century of Deception, magician and historian Ian Keable tells the engrossing stories of these eighteenth-century hoaxes and those who were duped by them. The English public were hoodwinked time and time again, swallowing whole tales of rapping ghosts, a woman who gave birth to rabbits, a levitating Frenchman in a Chinese Temple and outrageous astrological predictions. Not only were the hoaxes widely influential, drawing in celebrities such as Samuel Johnson, Benjamin Franklin and Jonathan Swift, they also inflamed concerns about ‛English credulity’.

Ian Keable obtained a first-class degree from the University of Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, qualified as a chartered accountant and then became a professional magician. A member of The Magic Circle with gold star, he has won several awards for his unique brand of comedy magic. Keable has also performed on television and has written and presented programmes for BBC Radio. An accredited lecturer for The Arts Society, he gives talks on magic history, cartoons and eighteenth-century hoaxes. Keable’s other publications include Stand-Up: A Professional Guide to Comedy Magic and Charles Dickens Magician: Conjuring in Life, Letters and Literature. He lives in London.

Brian Sibley is a writer, journalist and broadcaster and, for many years, arts presenter for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service; he is also the author of plays and notable, award-winning dramatisations as well as presenting numerous documentaries for BBC’s Radios 2, 3 and 4. As a writer he is known as the author of Shadowlands the widely read story of C S Lewis and his late marriage as told on TV, stage and film; and the official biographer of filmmaker Peter Jackson and Rev W V Awdry, the creator of the ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ books. Other publications have chronicled the film franchises based on ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Hobbit’, ‘Harry Potter’ and the animated films of Aardman, along with books exploring aspects of historic and contemporary fantasy fiction.

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This event has been postponed

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