Pandora Sykes is a journalist, broadcaster, author of The Sunday Times best-selling essay collection, ‘How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right?’ and an ambassador of The Other House.
Pandora helped curate The Library at The Other House South Kensington using her incredible knowledge and love of books to create a collection of both fiction and non-fiction titles, from classics to more contemporary reads. Below, she shares her favourite places to visit (and read) in London.
How do you define what you do for work?
I’m a journalist and broadcaster – I like telling stories, whether that’s through live events, written articles or audio documentaries.
Where did you start from in building the TOH library?
I wrote down every title that stuck out to me as standing the test of time. Then I cross pollinated that with all the influential authors I thought deserved to be in the library, to see who was missing. I wanted to make sure there was an interesting mix: non-fiction and fiction, stories from across the globe, some more heritage authors but also some brand new ones whose voices deserve to be read.
What were you trying to achieve?
A satisfying and at times surprising book shelf.
What is your favourite genre of book?
Probably non-fiction – particularly philosophy, women’s health and psychology. But I also love contemporary fiction.
What’s your favourite book ever?
Very, very tough question! So I’ll just give you one that I read over and over: One Day by David Nicholls. It’s the perfect sliding doors rom-com in written form.
What is your favourite book of 2022?
An Invisible Child by Andrea Elliot blew my mind – it just won the Pultizer.
What book are you most looking forward to reading in 2023?
I’m not sure what’s coming out in 2023 yet – they haven’t landed!
What do love most about London?
The creative access: to galleries, libraries, shops and restaurants. I could never run out of inspiration.
Tell us about your favourite book shop in London?
I have never met a book shop I didn’t love. But West End Lane Books in Queens Park has a lovely atmosphere.
Where is your favourite London spot to hang out and read a book?
Where is your favourite family destination in London to take the kids on the weekend?
Queens Park – we sprawl on the grass with lunch from the park cafe. Super simple but always lovely.
What do you particularly love about TOH?
It’s beautifully decorated and there’s an incredible feeling of space.
Where are your favourite hang outs in London – nightspots / restaurants / bars (ideally near South Kensington)
I really like the Drayton Arms – I’ve been going there for years.
What is your favourite cultural destination in South Kensington?
I love going to The Natural History Museum with my children – the giant whale is a classic!!