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Andaz Hotel London announces the world’s first Reader in Residence: Damian Barr




Residency period   : 14th to 28th April (2weeks)

Bookings contact : 0207 618 5061


In 1899 Claude Monet resided at the Savoy hotel, painting Charring Cross and the Houses of Parliament from his balcony.  A century later Fay Weldon moved her typewriter in.  Hotels have long offered a refuge from domestic distraction giving artists and writers the space to create.  Andaz is pleased to start a new chapter in creative residency.


From 14-28 April, Andaz will host the world’s first reader-in-residence:  Damian Barr.  Hotel guests will be able to book Damian to read aloud to them in their rooms choosing from a specially devised Book Menu. “As a journalist I travel all time,” says Barr.  “I always pack a range of books from worthy to trashy as well as some classic comfort reads.  I know other people prioritise clothes and cosmetics but felt they were missing out.”  Until now.


There are no banned books: guests can also ask Barr to read anything they like.  Or they can just book him for a private literary lunch or dinner in one of the hotels 5 restaurants and bars.


Over the phone or in person guests can consult Barr for what he calls ‘bibliotherapy’: “Basically I’ll talk to guests and find out what they love/loathe reading.  I’ll diagnose their needs and prescribe appropriate texts:  revive travel-worn senses with a sumptuous Georgette Heyer, enjoy a classy giggle with Nancy Mitford or some glamorous gangsters with Jake Arnott.”


Barr’s residency takes place during the biggest date in the publishing calendar: London Book Fair.  To round the residency off, and in the spirit of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s sleep-in at the Amsterdam Hilton, Damian will be hosting a read-in.  Guests, friends of the hotel and anyone needing a place to read are invited along from 11am-2pm on Sunday April 27.  Bring a book along to Mildred, the rather cosy snug to the side of our pub, George (within the hotel).


Who is Damian Barr?

Damian Barr was resident writer for Platform 10 at the Royal College of Arts last year helping the students create short stories which inspired the design installation ‘Sleepless’ at Andaz.  He has co-written two plays for BBC Radio 4 (featuring Julian Rhind-Tutt, from Green Wing, and Nina Wadia, from the Kumars).  His first book was Get It Together: A Guide to Surviving your Quarterlife Crisis.  He writes regularly for the Times and will be working on a new book during his residency.  The reading-residency was Barr’s idea (it’s the perfect excuse for not writing, he says)


What is Andaz?

Formerly the Great Eastern Hotel, this new hotel concept has been heralded as a new approach to luxury, as at the heart of Andaz is an evolving ethos of “casual luxury”. 


What this means is quite simply the removal of all rigid formal barriers to create a more friendly, genuine and personalised experience.  There is no front desk.  Check in is conducted via a hand held PC, either on route to the room or at the coffee/wine area in what we call our living room.  Also gone is the separate baggage staff, concierge and front desk agent.  Our living room host provides all these services, which creates a more personal level of service.



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