The Art of Unpacking Your Life Launch


Unpacking for a naughty weekend

Racy gossip and Fifty Shades-style exploits at Bloomsbury’s Bedford Square HQ last night, for the launch of Shireen Jilla’s latest novel, The Art of Unpacking Your Life.

Shireen speaking to the packed room

 Shireen speaking to the packed room

Jilla — wife of Boris Johnson’s former spin doctor, Guto Harri — confessed that her Kalahari-based novel was “the direct result of my weekends away in an discreet hotel with a divorced entrepreneur, an adulterous, manipulative Cabinet minister, an emasculated lawyer and a high-powered barrister”.

Gosh, said The Londoner, care to name any of these intriguing roommates?  Sadly, Jilla was the model of discretion, although we noticed her husband pulling agonised grimaces of recognition as she spoke. The Londoner recalls that  after Jilla’s last book, Exiled, came out in 2011, Harri had admitted to us that “Boris keeps teasing me mercilessly that I am Jessie” — the novel’s S&M-inclined hero and subject of the deathless line, “Do you know what it felt like to be allowed to whip Jessie’s balls with a leather belt?”

Guto Harri, Rachel Johnson and  OJ Williams

 Guto Harri, Rachel Johnson and OJ Williams

Steering our thoughts back to less blush-inducing topics, The Londoner complimented Jilla on the aptness of her African-inspired outfit. “I couldn’t quite bring myself to don full tribal dress like Rachel [Johnson] did, wearing lederhosen for her book on Germany,” sighed Jilla,

Shireen Jilla and Rachel Johnson

 Shireen Jilla and Rachel Johnson

A one-off, surely, we asked Rachel. But no. “I LOVE lederhosen,” exclaimed Johnson. “If I had my way I’d wear them all the time!”

From the Evening Standard Diary, Friday 20th March 2015

See also:
Daily Mail, Sunday 22nd March 2015