A spectacular old-style publishing celebration last night in London: the Orion Authors party when more than seven hundred guests came to drink champagne in the Paul Hamlyn Hall at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. It was a stunning setting, the wrought-iron and glass structure lit up like a magical railway station.
I was happy before I even walked in with Araminta Whitley and Peta Nightingale from the LAW literary agency and fellow authors Veronica Henry and Kate Harrison, as we'd already hoisted a glass round the corner at the Opera Terrace. There were plenty of famous faces, including the legendary Lord Weidenfeld, Michael Palin, Julian Fellowes, Erica James, comedian Tim Vine, and, of course, The Hairy Bikers (without whom no Orion party would be complete) mingling with journalists, agents and editors in the thirsty crowd.
It's always lovely to plunge in to what seems like a sea of people only to find that there are plenty of old mates as well as new acquaintances to chat to. I can always find my old newspaper friends close to the bar! It's always a pleasure to see all the people who work so hard to make our words into real books and send them out into the world: Susan Lamb, Kate Mills, Jon Wood, Gaby Young and all those I didn't manage to say hello to.
I was able to tell Anne de Courcy and her editor Bea Hemming how much I loved her book The Fishing Fleet about the marriage market in colonial India. I really enjoyed meeting Katherine McMahon who wrote The Rose of Sebastopol. Bubbly Jean Fullerton, who writes the very successful Nurse Millie series swapped writing agonies with me. Then I bumped into someone I was great friends with at university and we had a fantastic catch-up.