'If then, there is to be a festival, why should it not be the festival of Christmas?', asked Arnold Bennett. For as long as Christmas has been celebrated poets and writers have sought to explore every aspect of it, whether the story of the nativity, or the festive traditions that have grown up over the centuries. A Literary Christmas is a seasonal compendium that collects together poems, short stories and prose extracts by some of the greatest poets and writers in the English language. Like Charles Dickens's ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, they are representative of times old and new - from John Donne's Elizabethan hymn over the baby Jesus to Benjamin Zephaniah's 'Talking Turkeys', from Thomas Tusser counting the cost of a Tudor feast to P G Wodehouse's wry short story about Christmas on a diet. Enjoy a convivial Christmas Day as described by Samuel Pepys, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot or Nancy Mitford. Venture out into the snow in the company of Jane Austen, Henry James and Dickens's ever-popular Mr Pickwick. Entertain the children with the seasonal tales of Dylan Thomas, Kenneth Grahame and Oscar Wilde. For any lover of great literature, A Literary Christmas is the perfect gift. As a companion to the book, 'A literary Christmas' is also being released as a 2CD set at the same time. The audio recordings on the two discs feature readings of many of the same poems and prose extracts from the book.