Duff Cooper’s bookplate,
designed by Rex Whistler
At a party at the French Embassy Residence last night, Her Excellency the French Ambassador awarded the 2016 Pol Roger – Duff Cooper Prize to Christopher de Hamel, for his book Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts. Artemis Cooper, chair of the judges, described this year’s shortlist as particularly strong: the shortlisters were Citizen Clem by John Bew, This Long Pursuit by Richard Holmes, The Return by Hisham Matar, and East West Street by Philippe Sands.
Among those toasting the winner in Pol Roger champagne were authors Anne Applebaum, Antony Beevor, Jung Chang, Anne Carr, Antonia Fraser, Colin Thubron, Selina Hastings, John Bew, Richard Holmes and Philippe Sands; while other guests included Randolph Churchill, Bettina von Hase, Rachel Johnson, Edward Fitzgerald, Anne McElvoy, Edward Lucas and Christina Odone, Hew Strachan and Jane Wellesley. In his speech of thanks, Christopher de Hamel told the audience that many medieval scribes ended the arduous business of copying a book with the words, "Explicit hoc totum, Pro christo, Da mihi potum"; which he translated as 'Here ends the whole thing, For Christ's sake, give me a drink' – words that raised much laughter, and many champagne glasses.
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