Thursday 13 March 2014

Orion party

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.
As we reluctantly departed, all the guests were given a parting gift of two special edition books, beautifully designed as keepsakes of evening. Champagne, books, gossip and more serious conversation about books - as well as being part of a great publishing house - what more could anyone want?! I don't even feel tired today.



Evelyn said...

I think you deserve a bit of fun after all your hard work on "The Sea Garden!" Sounds like a lovely evening..

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Looks like it was a beautiful party. Glad you had a lovely time. It's good to see publishers still are throwing big parties somewhere. In America, it feels like they have abandoned all of the niceties of life.

James Kiester said...

Fun stuff. :-)

Gill Edwards said...

wow what a great night, i would love to have met Michael Palin he seems so sweet.
Glad you had such a great time
Gill xx

Yvonne Osborne said...

Lovely! When one is creating or celebrating other creative endeavors, fatigue is never a factor.

Marcheline said...

OMG... Julian Fellowes!!!! The fabulous actor from "Monarch of the Glen", writer of "Gosford Park", and creator of "Downton Abbey"!!!

And Michael Palin!?!?! Nudge, nudge, wink wink!!

Not going to pretend I know who the rest of them are, but those two would be enough for me.

Brilliant venue, as well.

Muriel said...

I love the Royal Opera House. I am glad that you had such a nice time, and I can't wait to read the Sea Garden

Barbara said...

It sounds like a great evening made more special by the keepsake books.

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