Celebrating literature

Celebrating literature

Actors and authors joined local residents to celebrate the written word at the second Mayfair & St James’s Literary Festival.



Literary-inspired events took place at a number of exciting venues around Mayfair and St James’s.

This year, the festival – sponsored by Grosvenor – introduced Ink on Screen, a film series at the Regent Street Cinema. It was curated by Tobias Menzies, who is currently starring as Prince Philip in The Crown.

Produced by acclaimed actress Justine Waddell via Asterisk Films, the two-night screening featured Don’t Look Now, introduced by Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw. It also featured Under the Skin, with Michael Faber, who wrote the novel in 2000, in conversation with Tobias Menzies.


Great actors reading great poetry


Poetry was once again represented in partnership with the Josephine Hart Poetry Hour and its director Shevaun Wilder.

Wilder, artistic director of the festival, also produced, cast, devised and presented An Evening of Irish Poetry & Song, Celebrating Women at Corrigan’s. This Wilder Shore production was a fundraiser for the Josephine Hart Scholarship Fund.

Actors Joel MacCormack, Michael Maloney and Anna Savvi read Keats, Shelly and Byron at the May Fair Theatre. Dame Joan Bakewell read Josephine Hart’s introduction.

The London Library also hosted a wonderful evening of poetry. Elizabeth McGovern, Poppy Miller and Harriet Walter read the poetry of Christina Rossetti and Elizabeth Bishop.  Nichola McAuliffe read Josephine Hart’s introduction.


Celebrating women’s creativity

The programme, which celebrated women’s creativity and success, included painter and poet Frieda Hughes (pictured) at the Maddox Gallery. Frieda is the daughter of literary legends Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

Other events included the award-winning British/Turkish writer Elif Shafak in conversation with Elizabeth Filippouli at Waterstones.

Swan Song author Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott was at The Beaumont, while Janet Todd, author of Jane Austen’s Sanditon was at Peter Harrington.

Liz Lochhead (winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2015 and National Poet of Scotland) was at the John Martin Gallery.


Top female chefs

Ella Canta hosted the “Tales from the Kitchen” panel discussion with an incredible line-up of top female chefs, restaurateurs and food writers.

The panel (pictured left to right  included: Angela Hartnett (Murano, Café Murano); Camellia Panjabi (Chutney Mary, Veeraswamy, Amaya); Martha Ortiz (Ella Canta); Ravinder Bhogal (Jikoni); Nieves Barragan (Sabor) and Ching He Huang (TV presenter and author).


Children’s favourite

For families, Brown’s Hotel hosted readings from The Jungle Book with actor Bhasker Patel (Emmerdale) and afternoon tea.

Afterwards, the three finalists of our poetry competition for the pupils of St George’s Hanover Square received their prize of a limited-edition copy of The Jungle Book, produced by Brown’s for their guests. 

Judges for the competition were Stephen Fry, Frieda Hughes and Shevaun Wilder.

Tarts in art and literary walk

London Art Studies hosted a fascinating event with lecturer Linda Smith at Matches in Carlos Place, looking at “Great tarts in art: high culture and the world’s oldest profession”.

Other highlights included a literary/art walk with broadcaster and art adviser Maeve Doyle.



Find out about the Mayfair Times’ Mayfair & St James’s Literary Festival in the Literary Festival section of our website.

For more about the Josephine Hart Foundation, see their website: https://thepoetryhour.com/.

To discover more about Grosvenor, the Festival’s sponsors, see their website: https://www.grosvenor.com/

Find out about Asterisk Films from their website: https://www.asteriskfilms.com/

You may also like to read Inspiring Times about Shevaun Wilder, artistic director of the Festival, who is an advocate of the arts.



Main picture taken at An Evening of Irish Poetry & Song, Celebrating Women at Corrigan’s

Then left to right: Kelly Holmes who spoke about her latest book Running Life at Grosvenor House London. The Josephine Hart Poetry Hour: Elizabeth Bishop & Christina Rossetti evening at the London Library. Sir Bob Geldof at Corrigan’s. 

Below: Frieda Hughes, at the Maddox Gallery.

Bottom: Bhasker Patel, at Brown’s Hotel.




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