If the level of epistolary enthusiasm in the air at the South Bank this week was anything to go by, then the humble letter has never been more highly regarded.
Letters Live was a celebration the enduring power of literary correspondence, with a diverse selection of actors, musicians and writers reading out a range of emotionally charged missives to a packed house.
From Caitlin Moran reading the message intended for her daughter in the event of her death to Toast of London’s Matt Berry reciting Elvis Presley’s presidential request for “Federal Agent at Large” status, it made for an extraordinary evening.
Oscillating between humour and heartache, often within the same letter, it served as a potent reminder of the power of prose and its ability to enchant an audience even today.
More immediatly surprising, however, was the wave of famous faces that filed onto the stage, totally unannounced, to share their favourite correspondences.
From Stephen Fry wielding Oscar Wilde’s wit with his usual aplomb to an eleventh-hour appearance from Russell Brand, who delivered Mick Jagger’s wise words to Andy Warhol with his hallmark theatricality.
Most impressive to me, however, was the consideration each author had clearly given every word to ensure its maximum impact before ever reaching for their letter set – something still clearly worth celebrating in this quick-fire, hash-tag hungry age.