Stephen Fry, Martin Amis, Sean Penn, Salman Rushdie and Others Celebrate ‘Hero of the Mind’ Christopher Hitchens

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Stephen Fry and other friends came together on Wednesday night, November 9, for an historic evening to celebrate Christopher Hitchens’ life, loves and hates, while Hitch himself watched from his hospital bed. Complete video available on

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry

At this historic Intelligence2 event on Wednesday, Nov. 9 – which was live streamed exclusively around the world on – Stephen Fry (who described Hitchens as ‘a hero of the mind’) was joined on stage in London by Richard Dawkins at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Sean Penn was beamed in from LA, while Christopher Buckley, Salman Rushdie, Lewis Lapham, Martin Amis and poet James Fenton spoke live via satellite from New York.

Complete video of this event event is available for viewing on demand on at:, until Saturday, November 19.

Fry delighted the crowd by reading emails from Hitchens’ wife Carol and friend Ian McEwan throughout. One particularly poignant update from McEwan on his sick friend read: ‘He can’t run a mile right now but be reassured that his Rolls Royce mind is purring smoothly’.

Other crowd pleasing moments came from best friends Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie both of whom spoke of his astonishing capacity for friendship and loyalty. According to Amis their relationship "was like an unconsummated gay marriage...although Christopher, some time ago, would have consummated it very happily."

Rushdie drew roars of laughter when he recounted a word game invented with Hitchens, known as ‘book titles that didn’t quite make it.’ Favorites included Toby Dick and The Catcher in the Wheat. The laughter continued when he told of their other pastime of replacing the word ‘love’ with ‘hysterical sex’. Hysterical Sex in the Time of Cholera was an especially pleasing example.

On stage, Richard Dawkins praised Hitchens’ disregard for causing offense, proclaiming "let’s stop being so damn respectful!"

Other highlights included, Sean Penn streamed in by Google+ from LA puffing on a cigarette (‘I hope you don’t mind if I smoke’) while reading an extract from Hitchens’ book ‘The Trial of Henry Kissinger’. Christopher Buckley fondly recalled a particularly wild Vanity Fair party Christopher hosted where Barbara Streisand caught fire. Lewis Lapham discussed his courage as a young hack, admiring Hitchens as ‘the only journalist in Washington that would bite off the hand that fed him’. James Fenton recited his magnificent poem ‘The Skip’ at Hitchens’ request.

The event was watched live in London by an audience of more than 2,500 people. Thousands more watched live in cinemas across the UK and online globally through

Photographs from the event are found online at:

Photo Credit: Michael Eleftheriades

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