• What to do

    S. J. Watson was 40 years old and working for the NHS with hearing-impaired children when he got the idea for Before I Go To Sleep. He wrote the bulk of it while on a "Writing a Novel" course at the Faber Academy. Thanks to the big-budget film recently released, we now see Nicole Kidman when we picture Christine, Colin Firth for Ben and Mark Strong for Dr Nasch. And we're not the only ones conjuring those visuals, as it's been sold in 42 different countries and translated into 40 different languages.

    So now you're armed with the necessary artillery to understand the thrill of the world premiere of S. J. Watson's forthcoming novel Second Life, when he reads at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel on 24th November, as part of Damian Barr's Literary Salon's year-long residence. The hotel has a potent literary history - when under its previous guise as the Midland Grand Hotel it was a favourite of Charles Dickens - and more recently the Salon has been helping the hotel flex its literary muscles with participants including David Nicholls, Lynn Barber, Diana Athill and David Mitchell.

    But one debut simply wouldn't be enough. The Literary Salon will also see Chris Cleave read from his new novel (so fresh it remains untitled) and Clare Balding will be ruminating on her memoir Walking Home.

    Held in the hotel's former reading room and now the Ladies Smoking Room - the first public room in Europe where ladies could light up - doors open at 6pm for cocktails before the readings at 7pm. And stay afterwards for a Yorkshire Wagyu Beef Burger and a few glasses of champagne punch at the Booking Office (the barman tips an entire bottle of Veuve Clicquot into your punch bowl) or enjoy brasserie food recalibrated at The Gilbert Scott restaurant where you'll be in the gifted hands of Marcus Wareing. 


    By Bridget Arsenault

    St Pancras Renaissance Hotel offers all Vanity Fair A-List members the chance to win a pair of tickets to Damian Barr's Literary Salon on Monday 24th November, along with dinner for two at the Booking Office and a night's stay for two including breakfast all at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (valued at £750). 

    Don't miss out on future offers,  sign up to the A-List.

  • What to buy

    For the last twenty years, Studio Voltaire has been supporting artists, championing fledgling creatives and backing underrepresented practices.

    The not-for-profit charity began in 1994 as a collective of twelve artists in a tram shed in Clapham. Today Studio Voltaire houses over 45 London based artists, commissioning works, delivering an education programme and providing gallery space for exhibitions.

    Alongside the Benefactors Scheme, fundraising comes in the shape of a biennial House of Voltaire; a temporary shop on Albemarle Street, (which this year has been sponsored by fashion house Chloe) selling artworks, limited edition prints, homewares, accessories priced from £1 to £30,000. There are also intriguing collaborations between artists and fashion designers - including Simone Rocha and Kim Gordon, Roksanda Ilincic and Eva Rothschild, Sibling and Jim Lambie. And a selection of bespoke pieces created for Chloe by artists Cao Fei, Karen Kilimnik and Jenny Saville.

    Look out too for the shopkeepers, a cast of unexpected till-manners including actor Russell Tovey, fashion designer Peter Jensen, design writer Alice Rawsthorn and Chloe designer Clare Waight Keller. 

    House of Voltaire, Upstairs, 39-40 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4TE
    12th November - 20th December

  • Where to eat

    It's the Notting Hill bar that Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Van Morrison refreshed themselves during the 70s. So when news hit that scraggy but beloved bar The Globe had been sold, there was a collective 'No'.

    But when no new Starbucks or equally bland restaurant appeared there was a collective 'Yes'. In fact the bar was bought by Robie Uniacke who had no intention of making it either generic or a chi-chi restaurant.  Instead he has taken the memory-filled grubby reggae bar and sort of kept it the same. But a little bit different.

    Upstairs is Moral Fox with comfy banquettes and mysterious lighting, serving spicy fried chicken, triple-cooked chips, mac 'n' cheese and creamed corn. And downstairs remains The Globe, which Uniacke has hand painted keeping the much loved reggae vibe, paint colours, chess boards and even some of the original graffiti. 

    For a fried chicken blow out, a naughty Godmother cocktail (vodka and amaretto) and a sweaty dance, Moral Fox and The Globe are still it.