Actor Bill Nighy led tributes to the late author Sir Martin Amis by reading passages of his work at a star-studded remembrance service.

Celebrities gathered to pay their respects on Monday at a service for the author including Vogue editor Anna Wintour, journalist Rachel Johnson, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and Pink Floyd frontman David Gilmour.

Nighy is a devotee to Sir Martin’s writing and delivered readings from his works during the service at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London – the same church where a memorial was held for his father, Kingsley Amis, in 1996.

Sir Martin, one of the most significant British authors in the second half of the 20th century, died in 2023 at age 73 and was posthumously knighted for services to literature.

Bill Nighy is a devotee to Sir Martin's writing and will deliver readings from his works during the service at St Martin-in-the-Fields

Bill Nighy is a devotee to Sir Martin’s writing and will deliver readings from his works during the service at St Martin-in-the-Fields

Rachel Johnson Martin Amis memorial service, St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Square

Rachel Johnson Martin Amis memorial service, St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Square

Pink Floyd singer David Gilmour and Polly Samson Martin Amis memorial service on June 10

Pink Floyd singer David Gilmour and Polly Samson Martin Amis memorial service on June 10

Vogue editor Anna Wintour pictured at the star-studded memorial service today for the well-loved author

Vogue editor Anna Wintour pictured at the star-studded memorial service today for the well-loved author

Alongside his children, was his widow, novelist Isabel Fonesca. Other people who attended the service include fellow writers Ian McEwan and James Fenton, The Telegraph reported.

Also, Novelist Zadie Smith contributed to the service as well as journalist Tina Brown, whom Sir Martin was involved with romantically during his time at Oxford.

Bill Nighy performed, in different voices, a selection of short passages with some leaving the audience in stitches while others were more serious.

Northern Irish novelist and poet Nick Laird read a Blake poem and Ian McEwan gave a description of a man using a lavatory in an echoing cubicle which sounded like someone ’emptying a sack of melons down a deep well’.

McEwan said: ‘He was the funniest man I ever met.’ 

Three of five of Amis’ children spoke at the service.

Deliah Jeary only learned at the age of 18 that she was his daughter and told the audience that soon after Amis took her to the pub, introduced her to his favourite quiz machine and gave her fatherly advice to ‘cultivate your paranoia’.

Meanwhile, Louis Amis spoke about his father being a ‘glory hunter’ football fan who would rarely watch a full 90-minute match.

Instead, the novelist would watch post-match highlights and replay clips of strikers celebrating a goal.

Louis said: ‘His favourite thing in life, off the page, was witnessing the exuberance of other people.’

His daughter Fernanda Amis said: ‘He taught me to be suspicious of the humourless, the ideological and the religious.’

Sit Martin’s wife Fonseca gave an emotional speech about Amis’ last months from cancer and having hallucinations in the night.

But she also made light of the fact that the author’s final New Year’s resolution, ‘the only one he ever kept’, was to take up smoking again.

Then clips played from Amis himself from across his career talking about freedom, language and death before it began raining as his voice faded out.

Sir Salman Rushdie, a friend and fellow novelist, did not attend but provided a written tribute.

He said: ‘Only Martin sounded like Martin Amis, and it was unwise to try and imitate him.

Nigella Lawson pictured in a black suit and wearing sunglasses while attending the memorial

Nigella Lawson pictured in a black suit and wearing sunglasses while attending the memorial

Sir Martin's widow and fellow novelist Isabel Fonseca pictured arriving at her late husband's memorial service

Sir Martin’s widow and fellow novelist Isabel Fonseca pictured arriving at her late husband’s memorial service

Fellow writers Ian McEwan and his wife, children's author Annalena McAfee, arrive for the service

Fellow writers Ian McEwan and his wife, children’s author Annalena McAfee, arrive for the service

British social commentator and founder of the Free Speech Union Toby Young spotted arriving

British social commentator and founder of the Free Speech Union Toby Young spotted arriving

Novelist Zadie Smith pictured dressed in black as she attends the service for Sir Martin Amis

Novelist Zadie Smith pictured dressed in black as she attends the service for Sir Martin Amis

‘He used to say that what he wanted to do was leave behind a shelf of books – to be able to say ‘from here to here, it’s me’.

‘His voice is silent now. His friends will miss him terribly. But at least we have the shelf.’

Sir Martin died of oesophageal cancer on Friday at his home in Florida, the same disease that claimed his best friend and fellow writer Christopher Hitchens in 2011.

He published 15 novels including The Rachel Papers in 1973 and his well-regarded memoir Experience, published in 2000.

In his later work, he explored Stalin’s atrocities, the war on terror and the legacy of the Holocaust.

He once said of his work: ‘What I’ve tried to do is to create a high style to describe low things: the whole world of fast food, sex shows, nude mags.’

Former creative director of the BBC Alan Yentob spotted arriving for the memorial service in London

Former creative director of the BBC Alan Yentob spotted arriving for the memorial service in London

Japanese-British novelist and screenwriter makes his arrivial for the memorial service

Japanese-British novelist and screenwriter makes his arrivial for the memorial service

Sir Martin Amis (pictured) published 15 novels throughout his career, gaining prominence in the 1980s and 90s

Sir Martin Amis (pictured) published 15 novels throughout his career, gaining prominence in the 1980s and 90s

Sir Salman Rushdie, a friend and fellow novelist, did not attend but provided a written tribute.. (Martin Amis pictured at the British Book Awards in 1996 with his second wife Isabel Fonseca and writer Salman Rushdie)

Sir Salman Rushdie, a friend and fellow novelist, did not attend but provided a written tribute.. (Martin Amis pictured at the British Book Awards in 1996 with his second wife Isabel Fonseca and writer Salman Rushdie)

He never won the Booker Prize but was shortlisted for the award in 1991 for Time’s Arrow and longlisted in 2003 for Yellow Dog.

His final novel, Inside Story published in 2020, was a ‘novelized autobiography’ that examined his friendship with Hitchens and his relationship with his father, the novelist Kingsley Amis.

Mr Amis said having a famous writer for a father was a blessing and curse but acknowledged he’d have been in a ‘very different position’ if his father had been a schoolteacher.

While a good friend to Christopher Hitchens, Mr Amis said in 2006 that ‘agnostic is the only respectable position, simply because our ignorance of the universe is so vast’ that atheism is ‘premature’.

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