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117 years apart: Oscar Wilde & Katie Price

There has been a strange meeting (in my mind anyway) in the world of books, involving Oscar Wilde and Katie Price. Last month’s list of the most expensive sales on AbeBooks was led by a signed copy of The Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde. Around the same time as we were compiling that list, the glamour model turned entrepreneur Katie Price (formerly called Jordan) was launching her new novel, In the Name of Love, at a press conference in London.

A signed limited edition of Wilde’s famous stage had play sold for $20,120 during June. Of course, poor Oscar Wilde was convicted of gross indecency, over his homosexuality, in May 1895 and sentenced to two years in prison.

And 117 years later we have Katie Price’s highly original press conference where she wore a red satin bikini and rode a black horse.  In the Name of Love was ghostwritten for Katie, a fact she openly acknowledges about all her books. Katie really knows how to launch a book and grab the headlines.

Apparently, during the press conference, Katie was asked what was the rudest thing she’d ever done in the name of love. Her reply – which stunned the audience of London tabloid hacks into silence – detailed a sex act with her former husband, mixed martial arts fighter Alex Reid, that I can’t really expand on here. (Details here from Now Magazine.)

And all this is happening with 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James selling millions of copies around the world.

Wilde’s health was badly affected by his imprisonment, which involved hard labour. It’s an awful story of prejudice and persecution. The last three years of his life, after his release, were utterly miserable. I can’t help thinking how unfair life can be.

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