Each Writer-in-Residence brings their unique voice to the hotel and will take up residency for around three weeks working on an exclusive story and appearing at events. The three writers confirmed so far are Garth Greenwell, Sarah Perry and Aminatta Forna. The first will be Sarah Perry, acclaimed author of The Essex Serpent and After Me Comes the Flood.
Speaking about her forthcoming role as Writer-in-Residence, Sarah Perry commented, “When I was 22 I came up to London for a job interview, and sheltered from the rain in the lobby of the Savoy. I'd never seen anything like it, and was dizzied by thinking I stood on the site of John of Gaunt's palace: I'd read about it in Anya Seton's Katherine, a favourite novel of mine, and half expected to meet Katherine herself on at the door. If you'd told me that one day I'd return as Writer-in-Residence, I simply wouldn't have believed you. My time will be spent launching my third novel, Melmoth, and working on a piece inspired by the hotel - I can't wait to see what spirits I meet in the corridors!”
As of September 2018, a Savoy book butler will be available to cater to suite guests’ literary needs and to oversee a mini-library, curated by Damian Barr and featuring favourite titles from some of The Savoy’s own book loving colleagues. The library will be updated seasonally to include the latest and most relevant titles, available to all guests looking for a good read throughout their stay. Children’s in-room libraries will also be available to entertain younger Savoy guests.
Damian Barr has been hosting his renowned Literary Salons in the glittering Lancaster Ballroom since 2016, inviting established and emerged stars to share new stories and reveal their own personal tales. Maggie O’Farrell electrified with the premiere of This Must Be The Place, Susan Calman had everyone crying with her as she revealed her memoirs and Yaa Gyasi gripped the room with Homegoing, her novel of slavery and survival. Every Salon adds more stories. The Savoy will host two salons in 2018, the first on 1 June featuring Lucy Mangan (Bookworm) and world premieres from Patrick Gale (Take Nothing with You), Sarah Perry (Melmoth) and Graham Norton (A Keeper). The second salon will take place on Monday 29 October and will be a tenth anniversary celebration.
“I am proud to be appointed the first ever literary ambassador at The Savoy, perhaps the most storied hotel in the world”, says Literary Ambassador Damian Barr. “The hotel sits on a literary leyline between the Strand and the Thames. It was on this site, in the late 14th century, that Chaucer began writing The Canterbury Tales. William Blake died in a tiny house that stood out in front where the fountain now tinkles. I hum Jerusalem every time I walk past. In room 346 Oscar and Bosie ‘feasted with panthers’. More recently the fabulous Fay Weldon and Kathy Lette were Writers-in-Residence.”
Damian Barr, The Savoy’s Literary Ambassador:
Damian Barr is an award-winning writer, columnist and host. Maggie & Me, his memoir about coming of age and coming out in Thatcher's Britain, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and Sunday Times Memoir of the Year, and won the Paddy Power Political Books 'Satire' Award and Stonewall Writer of the Year Award. Damian writes columns for the Big Issue and High Life and often appears on BBC Radio 4. He is creator and host of his own Literary Salon. His debut novel, You Will Be Safe Here is, is published by Bloomsbury in 2019. Damian Barr lives in Brighton.
Damian Barr’s Literary Salon:
Where the world’s greatest writers tell new tales and reveal their own stories…
Damian Barr started his Literary Salon at Shoreditch House in 2008 kickstarting a revolution in live literature. The Savoy has been our home since 2016. The Salon is a unique mix of established and emerging writers and always includes at least one world premiere. It’s where David Nicholls launched One Day and Caitlin Moran unveiled her Moranifesto. Guests include Helen Fielding, Brett Easton Ellis, Sathnam Sanghera, Jojo Moyes, John Waters, Diana Athill & Mary Beard. Over 100 interviews are available on iTunes and the Salon is podcast on British Airways.
The audience is equally diverse and distinguished. Regular attendees include: Patrick Gale, Polly Samson, David Gilmour, Tracey Thorn, Rachel Johnson and Kirsty Wark. The Salon pops up all over the world in locations including NYC, Sao Paolo, Sydney, Moscow, Istanbul and San Francisco. Partners include Hay, Man Booker and the BBC.
Sarah Perry was born in Essex in 1979, and was raised as a Strict Baptist. Having studied English at Anglia Ruskin University she worked as a civil servant before studying for an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Creative Writing and the Gothic at Royal Holloway, University of London. In 2004 she won the Spectator's Shiva Naipaul Award for travel writing. She currently lives in Norwich.
A number one bestseller and Waterstones’ Book of the Year 2016, The Essex Serpent was nominated for a further eight awards, including the Costa Novel Award 2017, and the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017. Sarah has been the UNESCO City of Literature Writer-In-Residence in Prague and a Gladstone's Library Writer-in-Residence. Her work is being translated into eleven languages, and her essays and fiction have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and RTE 1.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is where occasions are celebrated and history is made. Landmark hotels with unrivalled presence, authentic experiences and unforgettable moments have attracted visitors to Fairmont and its destinations since 1907. The Plaza in New York City, The Savoy in London, Fairmont San Francisco, Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai are but a few of these iconic luxury hotels, forever linked to the special places where they reside. Famous for its engaging service, grand public spaces, locally inspired cuisine and celebrated bars and lounges, Fairmont promises a special brand of thoughtful luxury that will be remembered long after any visit. With a worldwide portfolio of more than 75 hotels, Fairmont also takes great pride in its deep community roots and leadership in sustainability. Fairmont is part of AccorHotels, a world-leading travel and lifestyle group which invites travelers to feel welcome at more than 4,300 hotels, resorts and residences, along with some 10,000 of the finest private homes around the globe.