Party Of The Week: Literati celebrate a well-versed winner

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The Independent Culture

Jerry Hall, David Gilmour and Emilia Fox attended the announcement of the 2009 Costa Book of the Year award at London's swanky Quaglino's, hosted by GMTV's Penny Smith.

The poet Christopher Reid was taken by surprise when he won the award for his collection, A Scattering, a tribute to his wife Lucinda Gane, who died in 2005. He was going to take out his glasses from his pocket, but said he realised he hadn't prepared a speech.

Asked how he was going to spend the £30,000 pot of cash, he replied: "As frivolously as I can."

As he was commiserated, the Irish author Colm Toibin, the favourite to win with his novel Brooklyn, was overheard saying: "It's Chemical Ali I feel sorry for. He got hanged."

The writer and model Marie Helvin, one of the judges, had a bandaged left elbow after a boogie board accident on holiday.

She was joined at the party by Confessions of a Shopaholic author, Sophie Kinsella, Private Eye's Ian Hislop and his novelist wife, Victoria. The ad man Maurice Saatchi accompanied his wife, the bestselling author Josephine Hart, who chaired the awards.

Other high profile media guests included Andrew Neil, Simon Mayo, Esther Rantzen, Katie Derham, Kate Adie and Michael Buerk.

Before the end of the night, poetry fan Hall grabbed the winner to sign his book for her. Reid left to celebrate his win over a homemade mousaka with friends and his publisher.