It would be hard for anyone who’s a regular reader of Four Culture’s blogs not to be aware that 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker Prize.  After almost two years of plotting and planning, the anniversary is happily with us at last.

The celebrations will get off to an amazing start this week, with a unique event for a book prize – a champagne reception at Buckingham Palace! This will be hosted by the Duchess of Cornwall who, as you’ll know, is a great champion of literacy as well as being an avid reader herself. The Duchess will be welcoming 250 guests, including 13 former Booker winners who have flown in from all over the world to be there. It will be a truly international gathering and a very special evening.

The following day will see the launch of the Man Booker 50 festival at Southbank Centre, featuring more than 60 speakers, including 17 winners from the prize’s history. It promises to be an unforgettable festival and will underline the huge contribution the prize has made to our international culture since 1969. What a difference 50 years makes…The grand finale of the weekend will be the announcement of the winner of the Golden Man Booker prize.  Roll up and book your tickets now!  You won’t be able to resist as Hannah tells you more here.

A major excitement was the whistle-stop visit to the UK of former BFI director, James Comey, to promote his controversial memoir A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership (Macmillan).  As you’ll see from James and Chris’ account, it’s amazing how much can be crammed into a mere 24 hours! Read more here.

We were also proud to be working again on the Fortune Most Powerful Women International Summit, this year at The Rosewood, here in London. This ground-breaking conference gives women from all walks of life the opportunity to come together and discuss issues of the day.  It’s a high-energy, high-powered two-day conference which inspires each and every one of the delegates. Hannah tells you more here.

We have recently taken on a new client in the form of Getty Images Gallery, London’s largest independent photographic exhibition space.  June saw the launch of Beat Positive, showcasing the ‘golden age’ of hip hop culture from 1982 to 1993 through vibrant photographs.  It’s a fabulous show and has attracted an enormous amount of media attention.  Do pop into the gallery if you are in central London – it’s just behind Oxford Street and well worth a visit. Find out more here.

We’re doing an increasing amount of work in the visual arts area and also with edgy academic institutions. A fascinating example in early June was the Arts in Mind festival which showcased innovative collaborations between academics and the creative sector, facilitated by King’s Cultural Institute. Chris will tell you more here

You’ll remember that English PEN is our much-loved pro bono client.  We work with PEN throughout the year to support their truly worthwhile campaigns and causes. Last month I was thrilled that we announced the well-deserved winner of the 2018 Pen Pinter Prize – Alice tells you more here, as well as flagging up a unique event which we are supporting in July to mark Nelson Mandela’s centenary and publication of a collection of his prison letters.

David Campbell, the publisher of Everyman’s Library, is a long-time client who also runs an independent imprint, Adelphi.  He hasn’t published much recently under that imprint but, a bit like the 94 bus which always seems to travel in droves, David decided to publish three new books in June!  All quite different; all very promotable and readable. Hannah will whet your appetite here.

I’ve talked in the past about cultural place-making and how a well-orchestrated, joined up initiative can make all the difference to a city or region. Hull is a brilliant example with its recent spectacular City of Culture visibility – and the resulting prosperity and true reinvigoration of the area. Cultural place-making also offers a great way for us to work with colleagues across different practices in Four, such as our Public Affairs and Property teams. Our latest cross company win that we are all thrilled about is Wembley Park.  A major new site, it’s going to be a great place to live, to work and enjoy a spot of culture… As Matt says here, ‘it’s all happening in NW London.’  You read it here first!

So that’s June in a nutshell. I’ll be in touch again at the end of July, in the meantime I wish you a very happy month in the sun.

All best

Dotti Irving, chief executive, Four Culture