Friday, September 30, 2005

London diary : Thursday 22 September 2005

A morning in Marylebone High Street



For years, one of my favourite places in London has been Daunt Books For Travellers at 83, Marylebone High Street. Whenever I'm going "on location" for a new book, I know Daunt Books will supply me with the best books about the country I'm planning to visit, not only those published recently but, often, books long out of print.

Why Daunt Books doesn't have a website is a mystery I meant to investigate on my visit last Thursday morning. However, distracted by all the temptations on the display tables and shelves, I forgot to ask.

Had I been in London this week instead of last, I should have wanted to go to Daunt Books to hear John Julius Norwich [seen on the left] talking with Artemis Cooper about The Duff Cooper Diaries 1915-1951 at 7 p.m. on 29th September.

Next month, on October 6th, David Gilmour, author of The Ruling Caste : Imperial Lives in the Victorian Raj with be "in conversation with" Charles Allen whose latest book is called Maharajas : Resonance From The Past. Tickets for both events are £5 including wine. The shop's telephone number, should you want to attend, is 0207 224 2295.

Another lovely shop not far from Daunt Books is V V Rouleaux which does have a website where their wonderful range of ribbons, trimmings and braids can be ordered.

On Thursday afternoon I attended a talk by novelist Elizabeth Buchan to members of the Romantic Novelists' Association.

At this meeting I was approached by a member of the Association's New Writers Scheme who asked me to sign her copy of my 1982 novel Antigua Kiss – she is holidaying on the island of Antigua as I write – and then, to my surprise and delight, presented me with a beautiful silk scarf as a gesture of thanks for what she described as "the hours of pleasure your books have given me."

I won't reveal her name now, but I'm confident that it won't be long before her first book is published and I'll be able to blog about it.

For some reason the photos of Elizabeth Buchan and Lord Norwich I intended to show here won't upload. It may be that they are not in the public domain which I feel authors photos always should be.

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