Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Public rebuke for Savoy over costly ramp

Also in today's blog
Lesley Blanch dies
Rosie Thomas interview

An extraordinary story has emerged in the aftermath of the Romantic Novelists' Association's 2007 Award lunch at the Savoy Hotel, London, last month. You can read it in full at Buzzle, but the bones are as follows -

"Equality chief threatens boycott over charge to install wheelchair ramp
The Savoy hotel in London has been publicly rebuked by Trevor Phillips [see photo], chairman of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights, after it demanded £1,000 to install a temporary ramp for a wheelchair-user who was the star guest at an awards ceremony.

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Britain's greatest Paralympian with 11 gold medals, was chairwoman of the judges at the Romantic Novel of the Year award last week. The organisers requested a ramp on the platform leading to the top table and were shocked when the Savoy told them a £1,000 charge was involved. They eventually managed to negotiate a reduction to £200."

Lesley Blanch dies

Browsing the UK broadsheets this morning, I was sorry to read in The Independent that Lesley Blanch has died, aged 103. She wrote some excellent books and, until it was burned down, her house in the south of France sounded bliss.

Don't miss a visit to her excellent website. There's also good piece about her, written in 2005 by Joe Boyd, here.

Extract : "Born in London in 1904, she was entranced as a child by a mysterious Russian, later her lover, who instilled a love of the exotic. She became features editor of Vogue, then married the writer Romain Gary who took her to Bulgaria and the US, where she wrote a cult book which pioneered a new approach to history writing. Now 101, she is writing a new volume of memoirs."

Rosie Thomas interview

The Guardian has an interview with Ms Thomas which is worth reading if you're interested in women's fiction.


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