Cancel binge-watching box sets from June 22 to July 5 as Mayfair Times stages its 2023 literary festival
Mayfair Times is bringing back its literary festival this summer with a star-studded line-up. Supported by Auriens Chelsea and Montblanc, the third edition of the festival will run from June 22 to July 5 and will celebrate the written word with a packed programme of talks, walks, quizzes, cocktails nights, theatre events, panel discussions, and much more.
We are partnering with a host of local venues across Mayfair, Marylebone, St James’s, Belgravia and Chelsea to celebrate the literary heritage of central London, giving guests the chance to share the company of bestselling authors and cultural icons.
“We are delighted to be bringing our literary festival back this year,” says Selma Day, editor of Mayfair Times and founder of the Mayfair Times Literary Festival. “What sets London apart from other global cities is its rich arts and cultural scene and we would like to play our part in celebrating this. We are excited to see the festival shaping up with a series of diverse and inclusive events across venues in Mayfair and beyond, and hope to inject some heart and soul back into an area that has been the centre of the literary community for hundreds of years.”
David Meagher, CEO of Auriens, says: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Mayfair Times on their annual Mayfair Times Literary Festival in June and July. Set in the heart of Chelsea, an area that has inspired and is associated with London’s literary greats, Auriens is fuelled by literature, stories and a creative energy that runs through our community of residents and the local area. The festival seeks to create and support cultural events in the very centre of our great city and will celebrate the written word with a host of events such as author readings, panel discussions, poetry readings, guided literary walks, bedtime stories and a literary pub quiz – something for all ages and interests.”
Georgia Noutsi, Montblanc UK brand director, says “We are delighted to sponsor the Mayfair Times Literary Festival. Writing is at the very heart of Montblanc, so it felt natural for us to align with this festival. Supporting London literature is very special to us, especially this year as Montblanc has launched The Library Spirit Campaign, which celebrates the written word and libraries, with the second chapter of the campaign focussing on London, celebrating the city’s most famous libraries. With the festival taking place in the heart of Mayfair which is the home to Montblanc’s London Flagship boutique in Bond Street, it makes the partnership even more relevant. We look forward to being part of the festival and to inspire everyone to leave their mark in the world through writing”.
JANE AUSTEN AND REGENCY CHARM
Thursday June 22, at 2pm-3pm and 3.30pm-4.30pm
Transport yourself to the Regency era with Professor John Mullan, Northcliffe Professor of English Literature at UCL and eminent authority on Austen. Chaired by Hellen Blackwell, chairman of the Jane Austen Society London Branch, this intimate discussion takes place in the former home of Jane Austen's favourite brother, Henry. Now a boutique hotel, the townhouse celebrates its heritage with beautiful interiors of a bygone age. Two separate hour-long sessions will take place, each with an audience Q&A at the end.
Henry's Townhouse, 24 Upper Berkeley Street, Marylebone
Tickets are £20 and include a glass of champagne.
Both events are now fully booked
IN CONVERSATION WITH HENRY WINTER
Friday June 23, 3pm-4.30pm
Enjoy a rounded conversation about the highs and the lows of writing on the beautiful game with The Times' chief football correspondent Henry Winter. Widely regarded as one of the most respected voices in football, as evidenced by his 1.3 million twitter followers, Henry has covered multiple World Cups and European tournaments, written from everywhere — from deep in the Amazon and the Brazilian favelas to a snowball encrusted telephone box — and won multiple awards for his writing. Mayfair Times' writer, Will Moffitt, quizzes the veteran football journalist about chaotic match reports, the art of great sportswriting, following England home and away, and ghostwriting footballers’ memoirs.
St James Suite, DUKES London, 35 St James's Place
Tickets are £20, including up to two glasses of wine or up to three beers and can be booked here: eventbrite.com/in-conversation-with-henry-winter
BEDTIME STORIES WITH SAVOIR
Friday, June 23, 5pm
Located in the heart of Mayfair, makers of the world’s most extraordinary beds, Savoir, will be hosting an event for up-and-coming author, Taymour Soomro, to promote his new book in their beautiful showroom.
Author Taymour Soomro will perform an exclusive reading of his debut novel ‘Other Names for Love’, a tale of masculinity, inheritance, and desire set against the backdrop of Pakistan’s troubled history, told with uncommon urgency and beauty.
Savoir Beds, 6a Bourdon Street, Mayfair, W1K 3PB
Tickets are £10 (all proceeds will go to the National Literacy Trust), including English sparkling wine and can be booked here: eventbrite.co.uk/bedtime-stories-with-savoir
SHAKESPEARE’S TWELFTH NIGHT
Sunday June 25, 5pm
Shakespeare in the Squares, in partnership with the Mayfair Times Literary Festival, invites you to a performance of one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays. The production offers a unique audience experience of theatre, music and dance. Belgrave Square Garden will be open, from 3pm, for guests wishing to enjoy their own picnic before the show.
Belgrave Square Gardens, Belgravia.
Monday June 26, 6.30pm
Artist and author Frieda Hughes, the daughter of literary royalty Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, speaks about her new book George: A Magpie Memoir and much more.
Hatchards, 187 Piccadilly, St. James’s
AMISH TRIPATHI AND VIVEK SINGH
Tuesday June 27, 7.30pm
A special event featuring author Amish Tripathi and chef Vivek Singh. Amish is the fastest-selling author in Indian publishing history, besides being a diplomat and TV documentary host. His book Raavan, recently published in the UK, tells the story of one of the most complex and fascinating characters in Indian mythology.
Vivek is one of the most inspiring Indian chefs of his generation. His signature culinary style marries modern Indian flavours with western techniques. He’s the author of six cookbooks and a regular face on both television and live cookery events across the country.
At this event, Amish and Vivek will discuss Raavan’s journey from modern-day Delhi to Sri Lanka and his place in Indian culture. Farzana Baduel, founder and CEO of Curzon PR, will introduce the event and join the conversation between Amish and Vivek about the intersection of literature and food. The event will include a special meal curated by Vivek based on Amish’s book.
The Cinnamon Club, The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith Street
IN CONVERSATION WITH INDIA HICKS
Tuesday June 27, 6pm-7.30pm
Enjoy a glass of champagne whilst listening to Rizzoli author, entrepreneur and model, India Hicks, discuss her life and work. A British designer, writer, businesswoman, and former fashion model, after graduating from the New England School of Photography, Hicks became an interior designer and a model for Ralph Lauren, among others. A daughter of Lady Pamela Hicks, and renowned designer David Hicks, she is a descendant of the Mountbatten family and King Charles III’s goddaughter.
India will be discussing her book, An Entertaining Story, in which she presents readers with her irreverent take on style and entertaining. India will describe her spin on entertaining for all occasions – family suppers, big dinners, British breakfasts and most importantly – cocktail hour. She will offer tips and ideas on how to host events full of personality and charm, whilst also weaving in stories about her own family and life in the Bahamas and England. Heywood Hill will be selling signed copies of her book on the night.
The Belgravia Room, The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner
THE MYSTERIOUS AGATHA CHRISTIE
Tuesday June 27, 9.45am-11.15am
Outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare, Agatha Christie is one of the world’s best-selling novelists, famous for her Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple detective stories. But what do we know about Christie herself? Biographer Laura Thompson, author of Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life, shines a light on Christie’s upbringing, influences and her own mysterious disappearance. Enjoy tea, coffee and pastries in The Drawing Room of Brown’s, a hotel where Christie was a regular visitor and was said to have inspired her novel, At Bertram’s Hotel.
The Drawing Room, Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel, Albemarle Street, Mayfair
Tickets are £25 and can be booked here: eventbrite.com/the-mysterious-agatha-christie
POETRY AS SALVATION
Wednesday June 28, 6.30pm- 8.30pm
Scarlett Sabet & Matthew Salyer, two powerful poets, will give a reading and discuss the topic of ‘Poetry as Salvation’ at Pictorum Gallery in collaboration with the Mayfair Times Literary Festival.
Scarlett Sabet is a poet and writer, known for her emotive performances and captivating stage presence, hailed by The Telegraph as “a rising star in the world of poetry”. In recent years, Scarlett has performed at iconic venues including Shakespeare & Company in Paris, City Lights in San Francisco, Keats House in London and Hay Festival. She has released four self-published collections, been nominated for a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship, and in 2019 released a spoken word album Catalyst, produced by Jimmy Page. Scarlett is fast becoming “one of the brightest new stars on the international poetry scene” (Hunger Magazine).
Matthew Salyer is an associate professor of English Literature at the United States Military Academy, West Point, and a Pushcart-nominated author of two poetry collections, Probation and Ravage & Snare, as well as a pamphlet, Lambkin. He has twice been a finalist for the Iowa Review Prize in Poetry. His work has appeared in the Columbia Review, Massachusetts Review, New Orleans Review, Beloit, Hunger Mountain, Long Poem Magazine, and other journals.
Pictorum Gallery is a contemporary art gallery on Portman Square that specialises in curated exhibitions that bring UK-based and international artists together, with a specific focus on women and POC artists. This is consolidated by in-depth solo exhibitions from emerging to mid-career artists. Visit the website at pictorumgallery.com
Pictorum Gallery 2 Portman Square London W1H 6LA
Tickets are £5, including a glass of wine and can be booked here: eventbrite.com/poetry-as-salvation
Image of Scarlett Sabet courtesy of Scarlet Page
IN CONVERSATION WITH PAOLA DIANA
Wednesday June 28, 12.30pm
Mumble Forum joins forces with the Mayfair Times Literary Festival to celebrate with a seated lunch and talk at the Home Grown Club – an interview with author Paola Diana on her bestselling book “Saving the World. Women: the XXI’s Century Factor for Change” – a part manifesto for change about women’s condition through the centuries, analysing their treatment within political, religious, economic, and societal contexts to form a bigger picture of their place in the world; because to understand the present, and make a substantial difference, we must get to grips with the past and own it!
Leading the talk will be Mumble Forum founder Monique Hodgson and Maria Kastani. Feel inspired and enjoy a three-course lunch, panel talk and networking drinks.
SHADOWLANDS, SANCTUARIES AND PILGRIM PLACES
Thursday, June 29, 6pm
Author and journalist, Catherine Fairweather hosts a panel discussion between Dr Matthew Green and Dr Guy Hayward to explore the profound ways in which our memories are intertwined with the physical spaces we inhabit, as well as touching on how our surroundings shape and influence our collective narratives.
Dr Matthew Green is a historian, writer and broadcaster with a doctorate from Oxford University. He is the author of the Times Top 10 bestselling Shadowlands: A Journey through Lost Britain which was nominated for the Wainwright Prize for best nature writing.
Signed copies of each book will be available to purchase.
Auriens Chelsea, 2 Dovehouse Street, Chelsea
Tickets are priced at £20 and include the panel discussion, a welcome drink and canapés. You can book these here: eventbrite.co.uk/shadowlands-sanctuaries-and-pilgrim-places
BEHIND THE BLUE PLAQUES
Wednesday June 28, 6pm
A cast of actors, including Dominic West, bring the Blue Plaques of Belgravia to life on a new audiobook walk. ‘A Walk Through Belgravia’, by Storystock Sounds, tells the stories of eight famous residents including renowned literary figures such as Ian Fleming, Vita Sackville West and Mary Shelley. Enjoy a glass of wine at The Hari hotel with the walk’s creators, before being handed an illustrated map and QR code to begin your summer stroll at leisure (approximately one hour) from Sloane Square station.
The Snug at The Hari, 20 Chesham Place, Belgravia
Tickets: £20, including a glass of wine and can be booked here: eventbrite.co.uk/behind-the-blue-plaques
Image credit: Trisha Krauss
A CELEBRATION OF JAMES BOND
Thursday June 29, 2.30pm-3.30pm
Vesper Bar at The Dorchester, Park Lane, Mayfair
Fortnum & Mason x Mayfair Times – Tales from the Kitchen
Thursday June 29, 6.30pm-8.30pm
In partnership with the Mayfair Times’ annual Literary Festival, join food writer and chef Ching He Huang MBE, chef and Green Michelin Star restaurateur Chantelle Nicholson and food writer Gurdeep Loyal as they share extraordinary tales from their kitchen.
Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s
A CELEBRATION OF HANDEL & HENDRIX
Thursday June 29, 6pm
Discover the colourful world of musicians, George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix, in the Mayfair townhouses they used to call home. Fresh from a multi-million pound renovation, enjoy a glass of wine in the company of author David Souden who will launch his new Handel & Hendrix guide.
Handel & Hendrix, 25 Brook Street, Mayfair
Tickets are £15, including a glass of wine and can be booked here: handelhendrix.org/literary-festival-guidebook-launch/
ANNA MURPHY IN CONVERSATION
Sunday July 2, 6pm
Anna Murphy, fashion director of The Times, will be in conversation with our editor Selma Day to discuss her new book, Destination Fabulous: Finding Your Way to the Best You Yet. Drawing on the wisdom of writers from May Oliver to Eckhart Tole, they’ll discuss the many benefits of growing older and wiser.
The Beaumont, 8 Balderton Street, Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair W1K 6TF
Tickets are £40, including a drinks reception with canapés and a copy of the book (RRP £20), which Anna will happily sign after the event. Tickets can be booked here: thebeaumont.com/news/literary-series/literary-series-Anna-Murphy
ITALIAN OPERA AND POETRY
Monday July 3, 6pm-8pm
An evening at the Residence of the Italian Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Inigo Lambertini, honouring the script of great opera! British-Cypriot soprano and pianist Katerina Mina performs some of the most famous arias and art songs of the greatest Italian librettists in the history of Italian opera.
Residence of the Italian Ambassador to the UK, 4 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair
Q&A WITH ANITA RANI
Monday July 3, 6.30pm-8.30pm
Anita, an RTS award-winning broadcaster with a career spanning nearly 20 years, will be chatting to Curzon PR founder Farzana Baduel. A familiar face on British television, Anita is a lead presenter on BBC One’s Countryfile and one of the main hosts on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, as well as covering numerous popular slots for BBC Radio 2. In July 2021, Anita published her memoir The Right Sort of Girl and July 6 will see her debut her first fiction novel Baby Does A Runner. In March 2023, Anita was installed as the new chancellor for the University of Bradford.
Grosvenor House, 86-90 Park Lane, Mayfair
Tickets are £20, including a glass of champagne and can be booked here: eventbrite.co.uk/anita-rani
ALFRED HITCHCOCK: MASTER OF SUSPENSE
Monday, July 3, 6.30pm-7.45pm
Delve into the world of the legendary filmmaker behind classics such as The Birds, North by Northwest, Psycho and Rear Window. The British director is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of cinema, but was not without his controversies. Hitchcock experts and authors, Tony Lee Moral (author of four Hitchcock books, including forthcoming Alfred Hitchcock's Storyboards by Titan Books) and Dr Stephane Duckett (Hitchcock in Context) discuss his life and upbringing, the historical context from which his films emerged and allegations about the darker side of his character.
Manetta's Bar, Flemings Mayfair, 7-12 Half Moon Street
Tickets, priced £20 each, include a bespoke ‘Hitchcock cocktail'. Book here: eventbrite.com/alfred-hitchcock-master-of-
LITERARY ODYSSEY – INK & INSPIRATION IN MAYFAIR & ST JAMES’S
Tuesday, July 4, 11.30am
It was here that Byron awoke to “find myself famous;” Mrs Dalloway did a spot of window shopping at London’s most exclusive bookshop; Bertram Wooster sat in the bath “soaping a meditative foot;” and James Bond uttered the immortal words, “shaken not stirred” And that’s just a taster. This one’s a Literary Superstars Variety Act. It’s a show resplendent with wonders: acts like Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, Noel Coward, Agatha Christie, Evelyn Waugh, Somerset Maugham, Dr Johnson, Nancy Mitford, Patrick Leigh Fermor, and Michael Arlen; let alone Mark Twain, Henry James and Stephen King (hey, it is the 4th of July).
Well, you get the idea. Bottom line: this is where London’s Literary Golden Fleece is to be found. And we find it. And gather it. Our argosy* is captained by star London Walks guide Fiona- Jane. She’s a performance artist as well as a guide, so we’ll crest the foam-flecked waves in style. *Yes, eliding The Odyssey and the Quest for the Golden Fleece here but it’s a fitting thing to do – attests to how rich and varied in literary (and other matters) these London waters are.
Meeting location: Green Park Underground Station (outside the North exit, on the corner of Piccadilly and Stratton Street)
Tickets are £20 and can be booked here: walks.com/our-walks/mayfair-st-jamess-a-literary-argosy
“READING” ART WITH BEN STREET/LONDON ART STUDIES
Tuesday, 4 July, 9am
There’s long been a tradition of linking visual art and literature however artworks, by definition, cannot be “read” unless the artist uses actual text in their work. This talk, in association with the Mayfair Times Literary Festival and London Art Studies, discusses the intriguing hybrid of art and the written word, and will explore works of art by Barbara Kruger, John Baldessari, Jenny Holzer, On Kawara and others. Join Ben Street, art historian and author (latest book “How to Enjoy Art”), courtesy of London Art Studies.
Coffee 9am, talk 9.15am-10.15am
Leo’s, The Arts Club, 40 Dover Street, Mayfair
WORDS AND MUSIC QUIZ
Tuesday, July 4, 6.30pm for 7pm start
A fun quiz with profits going to a charity nominated by the winning team.
Tables of 8 are priced at £500 per table (includes a welcome drink and three bottles of wine for the table).
Tables of 6 are priced at £300 per table (includes a welcome drink and two bottles of wine for the table). Yes, we know that the tables of 8 have the advantage, so just make sure you bring along friends who know their stuff!
There will be other drinks and food available to buy.
Tramp, 40 Jermyn Street, St James’s
To host a table, contact Adrian Day at firstname.lastname@example.org
BILL WYMAN IN CONVERSATION
Wednesday July 5, 6pm
Auriens Chelsea hosts former Rolling Stone discusses his erudite and fascinating new book about the history of Chelsea. Copies of the book, signed by Bill, will be available to buy.
Auriens Chelsea, 2 Dovehouse Street
AN EVENING WITH RAVINDER BHOGAL
Wednesday July 5, 7pm-10pm
To celebrate Jikoni chef Ravinder Bhogal’s new book, Comfort & Joy. Irresistable Pleasures from a Vegetarian Kitchen, La Fromagerie chef Alessandro will be cooking a summer feast of recipes from the book. Ravinder will host the event, talking about her book, her love of food and life in the kitchen.
La Fromagerie, 2-4 Moxon Street, Marylebone
Tickets can be booked here: lafromagerie.co.uk
SHAKESPEARE’S TWELFTH NIGHT
Wednesday July 5, 7pm
Shakespeare in the Squares, in partnership with the Mayfair Times Literary Festival, invites you to a performance of one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays. The production offers a unique audience experience of theatre, music and dance. St James's Square garden will be open, from 5.50pm, for guests wishing to enjoy their own picnic before the show.
St James’s Square, St James's