Between The Covers: Tulip Fever and big news at Simon & Schuster

Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books

Could a film of Deborah Moggach's 1999 best-seller Tulip Fever at last be just around the corner? Eagle-eyed fans of the author believe that they have spotted a clue, at advance screenings of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the new film of another Moggach novel, starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Dev Patel, which is due to be released in the UK in February.

In the film, which is based on Moggach's novel These Foolish Things, the character Mrs Ainsley (Penelope Wilton) is seen reading a copy of Tulip Fever. Is this a sign, just like at the end of Notting Hill (1999), when Hugh Grant sits reading Captain Corelli's Mandolin – that book became the Notting Hill team's next movie in 2001?

Although she is an immensely successful novelist and screenwriter, Moggach would be forgiven for having reservations about adapting Tulip Fever for the screen – again. In 2007, she revealed at the Hay Festival what happened when Steven Spielberg optioned the film of the book.

First, the director summoned her to Hollywood, where he discussed the novel's "Danish" setting. (Tulip Fever is set in 17th-century Amsterdam, as any fool could guess.) Then "he said, 'I think it's a comedy about poverty', which it isn't but everyone just agreed". While working on the screenplay, Moggach was constantly badgered to "bring out the comedy" in the rather sad story; then she was replaced as screenwriter by Christopher Hampton (Atonement), who was in turn replaced by Tom Stoppard. Then, in 2004, the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown closed a tax loophole that had encouraged Hollywood filmmakers to work in Britain, and Spielberg's team pulled out, writing off £35m – and 12,000 tulip bulbs had to be given away.

The last anyone heard, the film was still in development by a San Francisco-based outfit, Ruby Films, using the Stoppard screenplay and under the directorship of Peter Chelsom (Shall We Dance?). There is no news about the film at the moment, but I'm told that "the producer Alison Owen is determined to make it happen one day."

Tulip Fever seems made for the screen, and if The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the success that it should be, perhaps it will be revived. However, if the Fox Searchlight Pictures team has copied the end-of-Notting-Hill tease, let's hope that they will not also be imitating the values that went into the making of the film of Captain Corelli's Mandolin. When its author, Louis de Bernieres, was asked how he felt about the film of Corelli, his most famous novel, he replied: "It would be impossible to be happy about your own baby having its ears put on backwards." Poor Deborah Moggach has had enough bad luck with the filming of this book; please someone just turn it into a nice film.

***

Big news at Simon & Schuster, where the commissioning editor for non-fiction, Colin Midson, recently left to set up as a publicity book consultant. Midson is a popular figure; when he announced his new venture, Mike Jones, editorial director at S&S, admitted that the company was "sorry" to see him go.

But the publisher has just announced his replacement, and it's a good one. The person who has been promoted to Commissioning Editor to fill Midson's shoes is Rory Scarfe – a name that rings bells here. Rory and his brother Alex – sons of the cartoonist Gerald Scarfe – are the S&S employees behind the shock best-seller Will and Kate's Big Fat Gypsy Wedding: Photos from Our Big Day, Like, which was published last April and became an instant success. The idea came about in a S&S brainstorming meeting, we hear, and Messrs Scarfe made it work super fast in time for the royal wedding. With quick thinking like that, the publisher is on to a winner.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform