On Wednesday 6th November we had the pleasure of welcoming guests to a Gala Dinner hosted by our President Sir Tim Rice.

The event was arranged to raise funds for the Library and in particular for its Emerging Writers Programme which was launched early this year to support aspiring writers at the start of their literary careers. The Programme has proved immensely popular – receiving 600 applications for the 38 places that were available during the year. Applications for the 2020 programme will be launched in the New Year, with the programme again featuring a package of support including membership of the Library, access to its extensive resources, plus masterclasses and networking support.

Guests at the Gala event – with the dress code lightly themed as “your favourite literary character” - included Ian and Victoria Hislop, Simon Schama, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, author and TV presenter Gyles Brandreth, writer and broadcasters Patrick Marber and Ian Skelly, theatre and film director Josie Rourke, and Daisy Goodwin, author and producer of the international bestselling book and TV series, ‘Victoria’. And we were delighted to welcome Monica Parle, one of the 38 participants on this year’s Emerging Writers Programme.

Over dinner in the Reading Room the Cantabile vocal quartet performed a range of literary-themed songs, including the humorous tribute to The London Library, personally written by Sir Tim Rice. Guests were also treated to readings by actor and comedian John Sessions and by cast members of the Victoria series – Jordan Waller and Anna Wilson-Jones.

The evening’s fundraising focused on a special auction featuring a number of items donated by Library members which included: coffee with Bill Bryson; the chance to adopt one of the London Library books that Bram Stoker personally used to research Dracula; a weekend stay at Jasper Conran’s Marrakech hotel; the chance to appear as a character in William Boyd’s next novel, due to be published in 2020; and, of course, a signed copy of Tim Rice’s London Library song, one of the many moments that had helped make this evening such an enjoyable and memorable occasion.

At the time of writing, the gala has raised £60,000 through ticket sales and donations and we are extremely grateful to have received such generous support.

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