Parties: Diaries at the ready...

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Those empty pages in the 2008 social diaries will not remain pristine for long. It is already looking like a hot year for books. Michael Portillo, MP-turned-cultural guru, has accepted an invitation to chair the Man Booker Prize panel in October, just the sort of black-tie affair he likes, while the Orange Prize, the women's prize for literature, has lured Lily Allen as a judge for its summer ceremony, in August.

There's also a heavy dose of schmaltz on the horizon. Mills & Boon is celebrating its 100th birthday with a cocktail party at the Wallace Collection in February, and in April Geri Halliwell has organised a children's tea party for the launch of her Ugenia Lavender kids' series, aping a trick pulled by Madonna a couple of years ago for her book, The English Roses.

Other musicians are still doing what they do best. Hot tip for most promising new act at the often raucous Brit Awards in February is Cockney singer Adele, who's almost as troublesome as her old school chum Amy Winehouse. The NME magazine will be holding its rival awards at the Indigo2 venue, followed by a massive after-party at the neighbouring 02 Arena that same month, with the Kaiser Chiefs and Klaxons headlining.

For all the flash-in-the-pan parties, there's also a glass or two of champagne to be raised to the longevity of some careers. Punk designer Vivienne Westwood is due to be the star attraction at this spring's London Fashion Week, showing her first collection there in nine years: expect a suitably lavish fashion soire to follow. But what will be this year's biggest bash? With Kylie's 40th birthday coming up in May, expect the diminutive pop star to throw a spectacular knees-up, with party prince Elton John rumoured to be hosting the event.

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