Cover Stories: Faber's record results; Hugh Grant; Rosie de Courcy; Penguin

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The Independent Culture

Faber has ended its 75th anniversary year in grand style, with record results.

Faber has ended its 75th anniversary year in grand style, with record results. Turnover was up 14 per cent, and a loss last year of £238,000 has become a profit of £452,000. The 2003 Man Booker win for DBC Pierre with Vernon God Little provided a shot in the arm, and Christmas sales are being boosted by Ricky Gervais with Flanimals. The book has shifted 200,000 copies. Next year's highlights include a second slice of what Alan Bennett calls his "mitherings", on which the firm will share billing with Profile.

* Well. Golly. Gosh. First Hugh Grant plays a smarmy publisher (in Bridget Jones). Now he's going to be one of the judges in the final run-off for the Whitbread Book of the Year award in January, along with chair Sir Trevor McDonald, Mariella Frostrup and Michael Portillo. Life imitating art, what? Novel next?

* Rosie de Courcy, who, as Mrs Anthony Cheetham, was one of the co-founders of Century and Orion, will begin the new year with a new job. Having left Orion after her divorce from its then CEO - who was subsequently removed by his French overlords - she decamped to Headline. This year, Hodder Headline became a sister company to Orion in the Hachette group, a situation not without its complications. Now comes the news that the keen huntswoman has bolted to Time Warner, where she will report to the formidable publishing director Ursula Mackenzie.

* Good news for Penguin at the end of its annus horribilis of distribution nightmares. With his Reformation, (published by Allen Lane), church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch has won the 2004 British Academy book prize. Described by the judges as "a majestic survey", it was chosen from among 200 books submitted.

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