Cover stories: Agents PFD; Penny Junor; Politico; Booker; Edward Said; Inside Eye

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The Independent Culture

No doubt Alan Bennett, a client of the literary agents PFD, will have something droll to say about finding himself in bed with the likes of Anne Robinson, Michael Parkinson and Toyota. All are represented by CSS Stellar, the "talent agency" that has taken over PFD (for £11.9m), so making the latter's few shareholders – including the country-loving Michael Sissons – very rich indeed. It appears the agency's 80-odd staff are happy with the deal: no doubt the cash gift and shares handed out helped in that regard. Some of PFD's competitors may be a touch green-eyed, for this is the first time a literary agency has changed hands in this manner and at such a price. Others are critical, pointing out that the sale goes against the tradition of agents handing their shares on to the next generation before retiring gracefully – as Mr Peters did to Mr Sissons.

¿ It has been a while since the book world heard from Penny Junor, lightweight biographer of Richard Burton, John Major and – surely an apology too far – the Prince of Wales. But she has been busy working on a book about her late father, John Junor, "the sage of Auchtermuchty", who died three years ago. As editor of the Sunday Express for 32 years, Junor Snr "wielded more power than many of the politicians he wrote about". But his private life was a mess. Domineering and destructive, he drove his wife away. Home Truths, from HarperCollins next spring, is Penny's attempt to "come to terms" with him. Perhaps it explains her desire to please.

¿ Politico plans to mark the 20th anniversary of the Falklands skirmish by publishing Sir John Nott's autobiography. Defence Secretary at the time, he is remembered for ripping off a microphone and stalking out of the Panorama studio in response to Sir Robin Day's description of him as "a here today, gone tomorrow politician". Nott, who went on to run Lazards, has humour enough to title the book Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.

¿ As the administrators seek a sponsor for the Booker prize, it has been announced that the 2002 judges will be chaired by Professor Lisa Jardine of Queen Mary & Westfield College, London. A Renaissance specialist as well as a media stalwart, she marked her chairmanship of the Orange prize by dyeing her hair bright orange. What promotional wheeze will she sport at the Guildhall?

¿ Edward Said, Palestinian writer, academic and activist, will give the PEN lecture on 5 December. It's at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, west London, as part of the Orange Word Festival. Tickets: 020-7494 5402 or www.theorangeword.com

¿ As the season of conspicuous consumption arrives, a new book offers the chance to give money to the homeless. Moyra Peralta, a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, collates three decades' work documenting London's street people in Nearly Invisible, with pieces by Alan Bennett and John Berger. It's published by Inside Eye; 15 per cent from each £12.99 copy will go to Emmaus UK, a charity that helps the homeless to help themselves.

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