Kyra Coulthard of Russell Books holds a 101-year-old copy of Alice in Wonderland. The independent book shop is hosting a tea party Nov. 26 inspired by the Mad Hatter where Dr. Lisa Surridge from UVic will discuss the symbolism behind the riddles found in the pages of the Lewis Carroll classic. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Unlock the infamous riddles of ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Russell Books and Terroir Tea Merchants invite you for tea to celebrate the literary legacy of Lewis Carroll

Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?

If you’re heading to Russell Books on Nov. 26, you might just get both at the same time.

Inspired by the Mad Hatter’s infamous tea party in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Victoria’s independent family-owned bookstore is teaming up with their Fort Street neighbours Terroir Tea Merchant and putting on the kettle to celebrate 152 years of the enduring literacy legacy of Alice.

Kyra Coulthard, events and social media coordinator for Russell Books expects a diverse crowd for the event. Terroir has a loyal following of its own so she’s looking forward to getting new faces into the book shop who may be tea fans, but not necessarily voracious readers.

“It’s super fascinating and really cool how much you can go back to the story as an adult,” Coulthard says. “We recently got a lot of really neat old Alice editions into the store and we have a lot of Alice fans here on staff.”

English professor Lisa Surridge, of the University of Victoria will join the party to present an expert analysis of the many hidden riddles planted in the pages of Carroll’s work, famously known for its symbolism.

Surridge teaches a course at UVic with a focus on Victorian children’s literature, and Coulthard isn’t surprised at the interest.

“[Alice] never completely left the cultural conscience,” she says citing its influence in pop and rock music, particularly in music videos. “It’s also had such an impact on so many other kids stories too, like Harry Potter.”

While book collectors may be fascinated by the 100-year-old copies in store, Coulthard is hoping for a younger crowd too. Maybe kids who have just read Alice for the first time, she says.

The family-friendly event takes place in downstairs in the vintage and collectibles department where tea will be served at 11 a.m. Tickets are $10, available at Russell Books. For more information, please call 250-361-4447 or contact

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