The London Library has appointed Helena Bonham Carter as its first female Principal in its 181-year history. The actress, best known for the Harry Potter films and The Crown series, took over from English songwriter and author Sir Tim Rice on Tuesday.
Bonham Carter has been a member of the famous library since 1986. “The library is truly a place like no other, inspiring and supporting writers for over 180 years, many of whom in one way or another have influenced my career and the lives of actors around the world,” she says. “The library’s unique resources, history, and membership help connect literary greats of the past with others of the future, and I am proud to support this wonderful and vibrant institution.”
The London Library says Bonham Carter’s profession links it to former members of the institution. She rose to prominence in 1985 by playing Lucy Honeychurch in the film adaptation of the novel A Room with a View written by former Deputy Head of Library E.M. Forster. In 2012, she portrayed Miss Havisham, in the Charles Dickens movie ‘Great Expectations’, one of the founders of the library and also played the role of Eudoria Holmes in the series of the same name directed by Arthur Conan Doyle, who is also a well-known member of The Library Was Written.
Other famous members of the London Library include social theorist Harriet Martineau, Christabel Pankhurst, and Britain’s first woman qualified physician and surgeon, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Writers Virginia Woolf, Angela Carter, Daphne du Maurier, Muriel Spark, and Beryl Bainbridge were also members, as were actress Diana Rigg and artist Vanessa Bell.
Passion for books and stories
“With her passion for books and stories, and her long-standing love of the library, Helena is ideally placed to promote this great resource to the creative and curious,” said Philip Marshall, Director of the London Library.
Bonham Carter has been appointed to the honorary position by the Librarians and will now host a Christmas party at the library. She is also interested in working with emerging writers and the library’s school programs.
Bonham Carter’s appointment ends the five-year tenure of Sir Tim, best known for his work on shows such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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