Cover Stories: Graham Swift; Ravi Mirchandani

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The Independent Culture

*Two summers after the chaos at Penguin's distribution centre, the defection of Graham Swift back to Picador will give the group pause for thought. Penguin had trumpeted its acquisition of the Booker-winning Swift, but the paperback of The Light of Day became a casualty of the crisis. Swift decided the right thing to do was to return, with his new novel Tomorrow, to a Picador "revitalised under Andrew Kidd" - formerly of Penguin.

*Just 30 minutes separated the announcements this week that Random House had completed buying BBC Books, and that Ravi Mirchandani, publishing director of its Heinemann list, will leave at the end of September. Did the chief executive Gail Rebuck, like Government spinners on September 11, think it a good time to bury bad news? Mirchandani is a publisher to his fingertips, who works with authors to get the best from them. His recent successes have included Rachel Seiffert, Michel Houellebecq and Tony Judt's Postwar. His exit comes hard on the heels of Sue Freestone's departure from Random's Hutchinson for Quercus.

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