BOOKS & TALKS
Apparently there are over 350 literary festivals a year in the UK and Ireland (according to last week’s FT Weekend) – still, what’s one more series of engaging talks between friends? Especially when it sounds darn cool. For this, east London’s ex-hydraulic power station turned cultural venue and restaurant, The Wapping Project, has joined forces with lefty politics and arts magazine The New Statesman for a series of “Skylight Soirées” on Thursday evenings. Erica Wagner, former literary editor of The Times, and twice a Man Booker judge, has cherry-picked a delicious assortment of luminaries, kicking off with a March hitlist of novelist Ali Smith on the 12th, British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh on the 19th; and journalist Andrew Marr on the 26th. April sees Labyrinth novelist Kate Mosse on the 16th, historian Ian Kelly on the 23rd and Everything But The Girl’s Tracey Thorn on the 30th. And for these Thursday gatherings, you don’t have to hot foot it across the country to Hay on Wye, but can stick around in London’s Mayfair, Ely House to be specific – the rather spectacular 18th century townhouse originally built for Edmund Keene, the Bishop of Ely, in 1772 and now home to antique specialists Mallett’s. Very chic.