Cover Stories: Awards; Ottakar's; Curtis Brown

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The Independent Culture

In a New Year honours list light on bookish folk, it was gratifying to see that beside the widely reported OBE for Jeanette Winterson was another for Dr Margaret Busby, the pioneering founder of Allison & Busby and - among other current projects - a judge for this year's Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. The recognition is long overdue. Unlike Dr B, Judy Piatkus will not be going to the Palace, but she has just collected the Women in Publishing Pandora Award in acknowledgment of her work on behalf of women in the industry. Now into her 27th year as an independent publisher, Piatkus long ago made a success of women's fiction and "mind, body, spirit". But she has always offered advice and support to other women, and makes time for charity work.

* As the Competition Commission prepares its inquiry next week into the proposed takeover of Ottakar's by HMV/Waterstones, Lesley Miles, who joined Waterstone's as marketing director six years ago, has been made redundant. She had been overseeing the product director's role left vacant by David Roche, who had defected to join Ottakar's. MD Gerry Johnson said Miles would be much missed - not a view likely to be shared by publishers, many of whom feel alienated by the Waterstone's regime.

* The Curtis Brown agency seems to have a revolving door. After the departure of John Saddler and the arrival of Gordon Wise, Peter Robinson - part of the team who led the CB management buyout - has now left. He will set up as a sole trader and his clients, who include Ian Rankin and David Starkey, may well follow him - which would be a loss to the agency.

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