The irresistible combination of culture, charity and immigration law was enough to send Obiter hotfooting it across London last week to hear novelist Marina Lewycka (pictured) reading excerpts from her latest book, Various Pets Alive and Dead. Author of the improbably named bestseller A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Lewycka was the star turn at an Oxfam fundraising event hosted by City immigration firm Laura Devine.

A raffle of signed copies of Lewycka’s books raised more than £1,000 for an Oxfam project to help people in Malawi become self-sufficient in food and fertiliser.