A sparkling drinks reception, followed by a delicious lunch while two award winning authors reveal the inspirations behind their latest books. Take a table of ten and entertain clients or socialise with friends or join our mixed tables and meet some likeminded women. Join us for a lunch that celebrates the good things in life; fizz, food, books and conversation.
Best of Friends
Born and brought up in Karachi, Kamila Shamsie moved to the UK in 2007. She was named a Granta Best of Young British Novelist in 2013 and is the author of seven novels. She has twice been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize with Burnt Shadows and A God in Every Stone. She later won it with Home Fire, which also won the London Hellenic Prize, was longlisted for the Man Booker prize 2017 and was shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Award amongst other awards. She is published in over 30 languages. Best of Friends was picked as a Fiction highlight for 2022 by the Financial Times, the Guardian, Daily Mail, New Statesman and Observer.
Opening in Karachi in 1988, Best of Friends explores the friendship of two women, Maryam and Zahra. When we meet them in Karachi, they are best of friends though their families are socially and politically apart. A decision made in a split-second one night, as the dictatorship falls, will change the course of their lives. Moving to London 30 years later, we zoom in on Maryam and Zahra, the different paths they have taken and the things they care about. Maryam is moving among the political and social elite, whilst Zahra is a leading human rights lawyer. Best of Friends is a novel about Britain today, and about power and how we use it. Like Home Fire, Best of Friends propels to its jaw–dropping climax.
Praise for Kamila
A new Kamila Shamsie novel is always worth celebrating, but Best of Friends is something else: an epic story that explores the ties of childhood friendship, the possibility of escape, the way the political world intrudes into the personal, all seen through the lens of two sharply drawn protagonists. The Observer
Chibundu’s life, which began in Lagos in 1991, spans two military dictatorships, two boarding schools, five grandmothers and a first book deal at nineteen. Her debut, The Spider King’s Daughter, published in 2012, won a Bettty Trask Award, and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize. Her second, Welcome to Lagos, published in 2017, was shortlisted for the RSl Encore Award. Chibundu was elected as a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature as part of its ’40 Under 40 initiative, contributes regularly to the Guardian and co-wrote and co-produced BAFTA-nominated Dolapo is Fine. Her autobiographical show 1991, featuring narrative, music, song and dance, sold out at the London Literature Festival in 2018.
Anna grew up in London with her white mother and knowing very little about her West African father. In middle age, after separating from her husband and with her daughter all grown up, she finds herself alone and wondering who she really is. Searching through the belongings her mother has left behind, Anna finds her father’s student diary, chronicling his involvement in radical politics in 1960’s London. She discovers that he eventually became president – some would say the dictator – of Bamana in Wet Africa. And he is still alive.
She decides to track him down and so begins an unpredictable, painful, fascinating journey and an exploration of race, identity and what we pass on to our children.
Praise for Chibundu
An accomplished novel that explores difference and belonging with a cool intensity. The Guardian
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