Freebie Mk II9 July 2013
Well the HarperCollins bash (see previous post) proved to be rich in champagne and canapés and was staged at a beautiful venue – the Kensington Palace Orangery – on a perfect summer’s evening but there was a bit of a feeling of intruding at a family funeral, since long-serving CEO Victoria Barnsley had just announced her departure from the company and the party turned into something of a wake. Although she was careful to avoid any overt criticism of the decision to allow her to seek a fresh challenge (as footballers always seem to like to say when asking for a transfer), one did not have to be a Soviet era Kremlinologist to read the subtext to her remarks. She closed by saying that she was sure HarperC would continue to thrive in the future, but any endorsement of her successor, Charlie Redmayne, a digital whizzkid who most recently was piloting Harry Potter online’s presence at Pottermore.com, was notable by its absence.
Max Hastings, who couldn’t write a dull sentence if he tried, though sadly, that doesn’t appear to apply to his speeches, paid tribute to VB on behalf of her authors and then one of her editors added his own eulogy to her. After that, more champagne for the assembled multitudes and an uncertain future both for Ms Barnsley and HarperC, perhaps.