A highly respected literary and academic figure failed to attend a talk he was due to give for a literature festival, after getting confused over the date.
Professor of philosophy Anthony Grayling, of Birkbeck College, University of London, had arranged to speak about his latest book, The Choice of Hercules.
His talk was part of Richmond’s 17th annual literature festival.
The book reflects on the challenges of duty versus pleasure.
Anna Lombardo, of Mount Ararat Road, Richmond, who was part of the crowd gathered for the event, said: “I was left in some doubt over Professor Grayling’s position on the matter, after he failed to show up.”
Prof Grayling was one of the most eminent speakers participating in the festival.
Tickets for his appearance had sold out.
His talk was scheduled to take place at the American International University in Queen’s Road, Richmond, at 7.30pm on Wednesday, November 19.
By 8pm, an announcement was made saying the talk would not go ahead.
Festival programmer Penny Bowles said: “Professor Grayling was absolutely mortified when he realised what had happened, especially because of the nature of the talk.
“Although we had arranged for the event to take place on Wednesday, somehow it had become fixed in his mind that it was due to take place on Thursday.”
Prof Grayling said: “I made a mistake about the date of my talk at Richmond, and was very upset indeed to have done so.
“I am glad that the talk has been rescheduled.
“I’ve talked at the Richmond Literary Festival before, to excellent audiences who ask perceptive and interesting questions.
“I’m looking forward to more of the same, and to being able to make amends in person for last week.”
Ticket holders, who had been enjoying free wine since their arrival, were offered a full refund, along with an apology and an explanation as to why the professor had been unable to attend.
For the most part they took the news in good spirit.
The event has now been rescheduled for Wednesday at the same venue and time.
Existing ticket holders will be able to attend using their original tickets.