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The London Library has its first ever female president: Helena Bonham Carter

“I am delighted to become The London Library’s first female President and to champion an institution that is open to all.”

The London Library has its first ever female president: Helena Bonham Carter
Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Leon Bennett

The London library has been around for 181 years and counts Charles Dickens as one of its founding members, but did not have a female president up until now. They have now elected their very first female president, Helena Bonham Carter. The actress, well-known for her work in The Crown and the Harry Potter movies, will lead the London Library as its 14th president. She succeeds Sir Tim Rice, an English lyricist, and author. Since 1986, the Londoner has been a member of the exclusive library in the heart of London's St. James's Square. "I am proud to support this incredible and vital establishment," she told the BBC.



 

 

"The library is truly a place like no other, inspiring and supporting writers for over 180 years, many of whom have in some way informed my own career and those of actors everywhere. The library's unique resources, history and membership help to connect the literary greats of the past with those of the future," she added. The London Library, which is supported by membership fees, was founded in 1841 before there were any public libraries. Currently, a membership costs £525 per year; this amount is waived for couples and those under 30. According to the library, Bonham Carter's career connects her to some of its former members, saying her connections with literature made her a perfect fit for the role.



 

 

 Bonham played Lucy Honeychurch in the movie version of E.M. Forster's book A Room with a View, which was written by the former vice president of the library, E.M. Forster. In a 2012 rendition of Great Expectations by founding member Charles Dickens, Bonham Carter portrayed Miss Havisham. She also portrayed Eudoria Holmes in the Enola Holmes movies, which were based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle, a library patron. Philip Marshall, director of The London Library, said, "With a passion for books and stories and a long-standing love of the library, Helena is ideally placed to promote this tremendous resource for the creative and curious."

The Library is a charity that does not regularly receive financing from the government; the Library Presidency is an honorary office with fundraising and campaigning at its center. Working on the library's programs for schools and emerging writers will be part of Helena's job description. The Library's Christmas Party will be her first significant responsibility, but she is also particularly interested in the library's acclaimed Emerging Writers Programme, expanding the school program, and various sorts of sponsored membership for people who cannot afford the full yearly price.

Helena agreed, adding, “I am delighted to become The London Library’s first female President and to champion an institution that is open to all. The Library is truly a place like no other, inspiring and supporting writers for over 180 years, many of whom have in some way informed my own career and those of actors everywhere. The Library’s unique resources, history, and membership help to connect the literary greats of the past with those of the future and I am proud to support this incredible and vital establishment.”



 

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