A lovely evening (which spilled into the new day) yesterday at the Travellers' Club for the ceremony dinner organized by the Royal Society of Literature. It was the poshest of occasions in the poshest of places, with many ladies sporting their new frocks, and it was good to meet many friends there, and make a few more. I think I may have been the only one without a black tie. When asked by a fellow guest why I wasn't wearing one, I simply answered: "I'm Italian."
The dinner itself was, according to many, senza infamia e senza lode – quite a few people left their wild mushroom risotto on their plates – but the company was good and although our book (Kachi Ozumba's The Shadow of a Smile) didn't win, we were delighted when our friend Ian Thomson received the prestigious accolade for his book on Jamaica, The Dead Yard (published by Faber).
He also received ten thou from Sir Christopher Ondaatje, and during the improvised acceptance speech he confessed he's going to buy a new car with it – but knowing Ian it's more likely to buy him a new trip to some other hotspot of our planet – or to his beloved Italy.
Anyway, well done Ian!