English PEN Summer Party 2005

John Walsh, Deborah Moggach, Lisa Appignanesi and Hari Kunzru
John Walsh, Deborah Moggach, Lisa Appignanesi and Hari Kunzru

Guests enjoyed blissfully warm weather and delightful surroundings at this year’s 

Tim Lott hard at work
Tim Lott hard at work

jovial Summer Party, held in the Dissenter’s chapel and grounds of the Kensal Green Cemetery. Spirits were high as guests tucked into an excellent offering of culinary delights and enjoyed drinks served from the hands of our glamorous celebrity waiters Tim Lott, Margaret Drabble, Michael Holroyd, Rowan Pelling, and her lovely trio of helpers. Many members enjoyed Henry Vivian-Neal‘s tour of the extensive cemetery in which some of the most famous writers are laid to rest.

Roawn Pelling takes a break from waitressing to chat to
Rowan Pelling takes a break from waitressing to talk to David Erdal 

This year’s Summer Party was also the setting for the presentation of three literary prizes: the J.R. Ackerley Prize for Autobiography, the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and the Golden PEN Award for a lifetime’s distinguished service to literature. Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy was awarded the J.R. Ackerley Prize of £1,000 by eminent novelist and trustee of the J.R. Ackerley foundation Colin Spencer, for his novel Half An Arch. The Hessell-Tiltman Prize of £3,000 was split between Richard Overy for The Dictators: Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia and Paul Fussell for The Boys’ Crusade, presented to the two authors by distinguished writer and English PEN Vice President Raleigh Trevelyan. Jan Morris was awarded the Golden PEN Award 2005, a specially commissioned glass trophy, voted to win by the members of the English PEN Executive Committee. Sadly Morris was not present to accept the reward but the author’s agent Derek Johns did so on her behalf, relating the following words:

Michael Holroyd & Margaret Drabble donning their aprons
Michael Holroyd & Margaret Drabble donning their aprons

I don’t generally set much store by literary prizes, chiefly because I don’t think the opinion of a few people on a single book is much more valuable than a review in a magazine. But the Golden PEN Award is something different. To have my work judged by so many of my peers and betters, over I suppose so many years, and to find myself in the company of such frighteningly eminent predecessors – well, that really does seem to show that I must have been doing something right. A thousand thanks for the great honour you have done me, and pleasure you have given me, and allow me, in return, to raise my tot of single malt whisky to PEN and all it stands for.

 

Louise Doughty, Jill Dawson & John Walsh
Revellers Louise Doughty, Jill Dawson & John Walsh

We would like to thank Henry and The Friends of Kensel Green Cemetery for their wonderful hospitality, the string quartet for providing a delightful musical accompianment to the evening, all our celebrity waiters for their time and efforts and all those who presented and accepted the three literary awards.

 

 

Report by Alice O’Hanlon. Photos by Tanya Andrews and Andrea Pisac.

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/events/reportsonrecentevents/pensummerparty2005/

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