I was lucky enough to attend the 14 Juillet celebrations at the French Ambassador's residence in Kensington Palace Gardens this week. A small number of literary independent presses get invited - Dedalus Press, Arcadia Books, Portobello, and us, and some translators, Euan Cameron, Roz Schwartz, and Vivienne Menkes. Gary Pulsifer of Arcadia Books is very good at star spotting, and introduced me to P. D. James - indeed, he addressed her as Phyllis. The book of hers I most loved was An Unsuitable Job for a Woman - something many people have said about publishing, but I think she meant being a murderer.
I also glimpsed Quentin Blake. Sadly, Arsene Wenger was not to be seen, nor Virginia Bottomley or any other Conservative grandees, or Jon Snow - all people I have spotted in the past. But we enjoyed the party, and wonder if we'll be magically on the list to be invited again next year. None of us can work out why we are on it at all.