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I am sure that the 110 year old reading room of The London Library in St James’ Square has seen some jolly scenes in its time, but last Thursday’s shindig would take some surpassing. My old university pal, Nicky Dunne, had charmed me into agreeing to pour Yapp wines down the thirsty throats of a large crowd assembled for the joint Heywood Hill and London Library Christmas party.

London Library & Heywood Hill with Yapp Brothers

Current President, Sir Tom Stoppard used the occasion to announce the winner of the London Life in Literature award, a relaunched literary prize ‘for a lifetime’s contribution to the enjoyment of books’ which is sponsored by Heywood Hill bookshop. The posthumous joint winners for 2011 were novelist Josephine Hart and Patrick Leigh-Fermor.

London Library - Heywood Hill - Bill Nighy

Bill Nighy reading at The London Library

Guests were then treated to readings by actors Dominic West, Natascha McElhone and Bill Nighy while they enjoyed Vouvray mousseux Brut, Saint Pourçain Cuvée Printainière and Côtes du Thongue. And rather a lot of it!

London Library - Heywood Hill - Dominic West

Dominic West reading at The London Library