London Book Fair “Floor Talk” by Roger Tagholm
Digital Deal for LeCarre’s Son
Roland Phillips at John Murray has bought the first non-fiction title by Nick Harkaway, son of John le Carre. Peak Digital will look at where “society and technology are interacting”, says Phillips, who concluded the deal with agent Patrick Walsh. “It’s about the search for authenticity in a technological world.” Phillips approached Harkaway directly, having been impressed by his writing and blogging in this area. John Murray will publish in April 2012, with Phillips describing the title as a “Nicholas Negroponte for our times”, a reference to the new media expert’s Being Digital which Hodder published in the mid-Nineties.
King’s Speech Backers Support Debut Novel
There is a spring in the step of agent Julian Friedman, and well there might be when the backers of the Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech have just come on board one of your projects. Friedman is representing Tricia Walker, whose unusual novel Benedict’s Brother was published by the tiny Coppice Publishing of York in 2007. A split narrative, set in both the present day and on the notorious Burma-Siam railway in the Second World, which was immortalised in the film The Bridge over the River Kwai, the novel introduces one of the darker episodes of the war in the Far East to a new, younger generation who have not grown up with the famous film. It is just the sort of “small” project Prescience likes to take on and transform into something much larger. The company is providing financing and has found a screenwriter and a director. Friedman himself has also been asked to be Executive Producer.
Happy Birthday Ernest Hecht
Eighty-one-year-old Ernest Hecht, founder, Chairman, MD, Publisher, nay impresario of Souvenir Press, has been out walking the floor, cane in hand and proudly sporting a cap of his beloved Arsenal. He is a living example of defiant independence and this year his house celebrates sixty years of going its own way. Surely people have tried to buy him over the years? “Oh yes,” he laughs. “Many times. One time in New York I was approached by a large group and not only did they want to buy the company, they wanted me to run the whole group. But someone pointed out to me that if I did that I wouldn’t be able to go off to see Brazil play football.” For those who don’t know, in a long and colourful history, Hecht was once Pele’s agent.
But he’s keeping modern. Souvenir has a number of e-titles on its list and Hecht also possesses a mobile (‘smartphone’ may be stretching things). “I never switch it on. I only use it for taxis when I’m at Arsenal.”