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A hilarious collection of correspondence

Endlessly interested in people, and effortlessly funny, Miles Kington has left behind a collection of over 25,000 letters written with style and wit to those at the bottom of the pile and to those at the top, to struggling students, to strangers and friends, to those who criticised and to those who wanted something from him. His one, as yet unfulfilled wish, was to see a collection of those letters published.

My Mother, the Bearded Lady: The Selected Letters of Miles Kington will be edited by his widow, Caroline, and will feature over 250 of some of the very best letters from across his writing life.

'From an early age,’ Miles Kington once wrote, ‘I knew I wanted to be a humorous writer and a jazz musician . . . and when I went to Oxford University I spent most of the time playing the double bass in jazz groups and writing undergraduate humour. Thus when I left university I was almost entirely unfitted for life, and consequently went to London to try my luck as a freelance humorous writer, where I nearly starved to death.’

During his lifetime Miles wrote for Punch, where he created the hugely popular Franglais, then went on to write a daily humorous column for The Times, followed by The Independent. He wrote over thirty thousand newspaper columns in his lifetime, as well as contributing to countless magazines and other publications.

Turning his back on a promising career in television because he wanted to concentrate on writing, he became a regular broadcaster on radio until his death in 2008, which shocked everyone who knew of him because he told very few about his cancer and continued writing to the last day of his life.

A Life Cut Short

Friday, 3 March 2017

A life cut short cd face

We are delighted to report that we have added a brand new reward to our panoply of delights: a CD containing the last recorded interview Miles gave.

The broadcaster Tony Staveacre has kindly offered the recordings to help support our aim to get this volume of Miles' letters funded and published. Here's a short introduction to the CD from Tony:

For a man who wrote at least 800 words nearly every…

Three Miles High

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Last week we shared Miles' resignation letter from Punch magazine. In it he mentions a possible television documentary about the Andes railways.

And here it is.

Resigning from Punch

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Scan 3

In 1980, following the suggestion of its editor, Alan Coren, Miles resigned from his position as a writer for Punch magazine. The reasons are self-evident from his resignation letter, which is included in full below.

It is interesting to note that the column in the Mirror never materialised, although the television documentary about the Andes railways did come about.




A 'Thank You' Letter

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Simon kelner letter 1

As we make progress with crowdfunding this collection of Miles Kington's letters, we will occasionally share some of the letters we are unearthing from within the piles of Miles' correspondence. A taster of the book to come, if you will.

Now that Christmas is just a hazy, leftovers- and chocolate-fueled memory, some of you may be harrassing your children to write belated 'thank you' letters to…

Thanks. Progress. Prints.

Monday, 12 December 2016


We wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported My Mother, the Bearded Lady so far. We are extremely grateful and it is heartwarming to see so many people helping to make this book a reality. Caroline Kington wanted to pass on her personal thanks to each and every one of you.

The book has had 58 pledges so far and acheived 36% of the funding it needs, which is pretty good and puts…

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