Lawrence Wells presents Fair Youth & Ghostwriter

Please help Square Books welcome author Lawrence Wells for his new books, Fair Youth and Ghostwriter: Shakspeare, Literary Landmines, and An Eccentric Patron's Royal Obsession. The event will take place Wednesday, July 10th at 5:30 PM at Off Square Books.

Can't make it? Reserve a signed first edition of Fair Youth here and Ghostwriter here. Personalization available. Can't make it? Tune in virtually via Facebook Live.

About Ghostwriter: Shakespeare, Literary Landmines, and An Eccentric Patron's Royal Obsession

Part literary mystery, part an examination of what constitutes fiction versus reality, Ghostwriter is based on the true story of author Lawrence Wells, then 45, hired by the University of Mississippi in 1987 to ghostwrite a novel for a wealthy, eccentric donor ("Mrs. F," then 75), who was convinced that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, was William Shakespeare. Believing herself to be the reincarnation of Queen Elizabeth I, Mrs. F treated ghostwriter Wells as a "modern day" Edward de Vere.

Their roller-coaster literary collaboration dramatized Elizabeth and de Vere's romance, which according to legend produced a son (Henry Wriothesley) born in secret. Henry grew up to become the 3rd Earl of Southampton, who is universally acknowledged as "The Fair Youth" of Shakespeare's sonnets and whose real-life descendants include Princess Diana and her sons, Prince Harry and William, Prince of Wales.

Wells and his late wife, Dean Faulkner Wells traveled to England to research the life of Edward de Vere and interview proponents of the Shakespeare authorship debate. That summer, London tabloids headlined the royal breakup of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, incidentally echoing Wells and Mrs. F's tempestuous love story about Edward de Vere and Queen Elizabeth I.

Flashbacks weave several elements together--the seventeenth-century mystery of Queen Elizabeth's "royal bastard," Wells' evolving relationship with his eccentric patron, his search for the "real" Shakespeare, and the bawdy Elizabethan narrative he composed for his benefactor. The stories merge, leading to a surprising conclusion.

Praise for Ghostwriter

"A mix of memoir with literary criticism, Lawrence Wells’s Ghostwriter dives into the Shakespeare authorship debate from the perspective of a skeptic working alongside a staunch believer... Mixing the past and present, the facts and fiction, the literary memoir Ghostwriter approaches the history behind a controversial literary theory from an intriguing perspective." — Julia Dillman

About Fair Youth

Fair Youth, a fictional sequel to Wells’ new memoir Ghostwriter (University Press of Mississippi, 2024) is the novel that Wells ghostwrites for his literary patron, “Mrs. F.”

A historical novel set in the Renaissance, Fair Youth explores the legend that a love affair between Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, 20, Lord Great Chamberlain, and Queen Elizabeth I, 37, produced a son, Henry, born in secret and given to a nobleman whose heir died in infancy.

Acting as Lord Chamberlain in charge of producing plays for Elizabeth's court, Oxford circulates sonnets that idolize a "Fair Youth" and hint that he is an unacknowledged heir to the Tudor throne. Believing himself to be Queen Elizabeth's unrecognized heir, Henry joins the Essex rebellion and attempts to seize the Tudor throne. He is captured and tried for insurrection. Oxford begs Elizabeth to commute Henry's sentence to life in prison. She reluctantly agrees on the condition that Oxford heads the jury that sentences Henry to death.

Praise for Fair Youth

"Lawrence Wells’s historical novel Fair Youth enlivens the theory that Edward de Vere, England’s seventeenth Earl of Oxford, was the true author of William Shakespeare’s plays.... Spirited and speculative, Fair Youth is a captivating historical novel that explores the true origins of Shakespeare’s works." — Meg Nola

About the Author

Lawrence Wells' Ghostwriter manuscript was awarded the 2014 Faulkner-Wisdom Prize for narrative nonfiction at the Words and Music Festival in New Orleans. His memoir In Faulkner's Shadow, about his thirty-eight-year marriage to Dean Faulkner Wells, niece of William Faulkner, was published by University Press of Mississippi in 2020. Wells is also the author of two historical novels, Rommel and the Rebel and Let the Band Play Dixie.

Books: 
Ghostwriter: Shakespeare, Literary Landmines, and an Eccentric Patron's Royal Obsession By Lawrence Wells Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781496852434
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University Press of Mississippi - July 10th, 2024

Part literary mystery, part an examination of what constitutes fiction versus reality, Ghostwriter is based on the true story of author Lawrence Wells, then 45, hired by the University of Mississippi in 1987 to ghostwrite a novel for a wealthy, eccentric donor ("Mrs. F," then 75), who was convinced that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, was William Shakespeare.


Fair Youth By Lawrence Wells Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780916242930
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Sanctuary Editions - May 21st, 2024

"Fair Youth" explores the legend that a love affair between Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, 20, Lord Great Chamberlain, and Queen Elizabeth I, 37, produced a son, Henry, born in secret and given to a nobleman whose heir died in infancy.


Event date: 
Wednesday, July 10, 2024 - 5:30pm
Off Square Books
129 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS 38655
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