Books: Cover Stories

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The Independent Culture
MORE TROUBLE for Phaidon, rescued from the receivers a few years back by businessman Richard Schlagman, a major collector of Stanley Spencer. Schlagman has had run-ins with a number of staff and authors. Now the trustees of the Henri Matisse estate are stepping up a seven-year legal battle against Phaidon for breach of copyright, and have served a writ. The family says eight Phaidon titles, including the bestselling Art Book, "unlawfully reproduced" Matisse works. The publisher claims the paintings have been used in "serious art books for critical purposes", the sort of fair-use clause cited by critics quoting an author's work. Family lawyers have countered that the books are not aimed at students, but the coffee table. Phaidon's defence cites the estate's "excessive fees". But what did Schlagman charge when last a publisher wished to reproduce one of his Spencers?

FEW PEOPLE are more loved in publishing than Liz Calder, a founding director and now Editor-in-Chief of Bloomsbury, which makes The Times's snide distortion of her decision to begin handing over some responsibility to Virago publisher-turned-agent Alexandra Pringle all the odder. The paper suggested "the grande dame" was being "eased out", replaced by someone better able to attract young talent. In the first place, Calder is one of the least "grande" dames in publishing. Second, she has chosen a gradual hand-over so she can concentrate on her 100-odd authors. And she has no problem pulling talent, of whatever age. Bloomsbury without Calder is unthinkable - which is why their decision to publish Anna Pasternak's Princess in Love behind her back was totally dishonourable.

ONE OF last year's bestselling debuts was Ardal O'Hanlon's The Talk of the Town. Now his Father Ted co-star, Pauline McLynn, who plays the inimitable Mrs Doyle, is also at work on a novel. Two in fact, both featuring Irish private eye Leo Street, a feisty female whom publishers Headline hope will soon be up there with Sara Paretsky's V I Warshawski.

NEIL KINNOCK has resisted all urgings to put pen to paper. However, the former Labour leader has authorised Martin Westlake, a colleague in the European Commission, to write his life, granting him access to family, friends and colleagues, and rights to his papers. The book, due next year, was agented by Andrew Lownie and sold to Little, Brown, publishers of Kinnock's ex-deputy Roy Hattersley.