Comedian, actor and writer Stephen Fry was born in 1957 in London and brought up in Norfolk. He attended Queen’s College Cambridge from 1979, joining the Cambridge Footlights Dramatic Club where he met Hugh Laurie, with whom he forged a highly successful writing partnership. His first play, Latin! or Tobacco and Boys, written for Footlights, won a Fringe First at Edinburgh Festival in 1980. He wrote again for theatre in 1984 when he rewrote Noel Gay’s musical Me and My Girl (1990). This was nominated for a Tony Award in 1987.
He has written for television and screen, and as a newspaper columnist – for the Literary Review, Daily Telegraph and The Listener. Stephen Fry's four novels are The Liar (1991), The Hippopotamus (1994), Making History (1996) and The Stars' Tennis Balls (2000). He has also published a collection of work entitled Paperweight (1992); Moab is My Washpot (1997) - an autobiography; and Rescuing the Spectacled Bear: A Peruvian Journey (2002) – his diary of the making of a documentary on the plight of the spectacled bears of Peru.
His book, Stephen Fry's Incomplete History of Classical Music (2004), written with Tim Lihoreau, is based on his award-winning series on Classic FM and is an irreverent romp through the history of classical music. The Ode Less Travelled - a book about poetry - was published in 2005. His latest book is Stephen Fry in America (Harper Collins 2008).
Question: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Stephen Fry: Who would I go to dinner with? Well obviously Oscar Wilde. I mean I know it’s just he seems to be the theme of our conversation, but he would be a good one. I’d like to go to… And I’ll tell you who else. I’d like to go… I’d like to meet F. Scott Fitzgerald. I mean I love his lectures. I think he writes amazing letters and someone who is just about the best writer his age I think, just sentence after sentence were simply perfectly made and I just want to know how he did it. That’s terrible. I just want… I mean there are other writers who you know you could regard as just as great, but something about him just so technically perfect and yet so I don’t know what it is. Whenever I read a sentence of his I think it’s so simple. There it is. It’s in front of me and all the words are easy and yet just wow and you know from his letters that he did work very, very hard at it, but I just want to know where it came from.
Recorded on December 8, 2009