London review of books dating

Bennett uses the diary as a comical social threat: ‘‘He always says, ‘That’ll go in the diary’.’’ Another memoir recently published in the LRB came from the Man Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel.

Mantel’s account of her life as a social worker in the Seventies was quietly devastating; it demonstrated that, despite the failings of today’s social services, things used to be worse. We like her.’’ Neat, small, elegant, with a sharp bob, Wilmers’ appearance is as crisp as her words.

I think that’s a healthy debate to have and I don’t see why it can’t be had.

If we were writing something similar about Peru, people wouldn’t say you were anti-Peruvian.’’ Wilmers has been editor since 1992.

Now Wilmers has crossed the editorial divide, with the publication of her first book – The Eitingons: a Twentieth-Century Story – a powerful memoir involving some extraordinary members of her family, including a KGB assassin and another who was a close friend of Freud.

The other eccentric thing about Wilmers is that, for such a literary grande dame, she is rarely seen at the glittering events.

“We don’t get invited to things like the Booker Prize dinner, or the Samuel Johnson Prize,’’ she says.

The journal is perhaps best known among general readers for Alan Bennett’s annual diary. ‘‘We met in the early Sixties,’’ she says, with a little laugh.

Indeed, they were once invited to dinner at Downing Street by Harold Wilson.

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