A theatrical retelling of Gogol’s famous story of the two Ivans squabbling over a trifling insult, The Two Friends transposes the action to the village of Newington Green on the outskirts of London in the year 1722, when Daniel Defoe was a resident of the parish, the South Sea Bubble had recently burst and a terrible gin epidemic was about to break out.
Peppered with memorable lines, populated by an unforgettable cast of characters and written by multi-award-winning duo Peter Benson and Alessandro Gallenzi, The Two Friends is about the triumph of hilarity in a “dreary old world”.
Alessandro Gallenzi is the founder of Hesperus Press, Alma Books and Alma Classics, and the successor of John Calder at the helm of Calder Publications. As well as being a literary publisher with over fifteen years of experience, he is a prize-winning translator, a poet, a playwright and a novelist. His collection of poetry, Modern Bestiary – Ars Poetastrica, was published in 2005 to critical acclaim. His satirical literary novel, Bestseller, was published in 2010, followed by InterRail in 2012 and The Tower in 2014. His verse translation of Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock won the Premio Biblioteca di Monselice special award in 2010. His articles have appeared in many papers and journals, including The Times, The Scotsman and The London Magazine.
Peter Benson’s first novel, The Levels, won the Guardian Fiction Prize. This was followed by A Lesser Dependency, winner of the Encore Award, and The Other Occupant, which was awarded the Somerset Maugham Award. Peter Benson has also published short stories, volumes of poetry and screenplays, some adapted for TV and radio. His works have been translated into many languages.
Read an interview with Peter Benson here