Cover Stories: Martyn Goff; Schott's Almanac; Penguin's list

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The Independent Culture

Martyn Goff, who this year hands over the administration of the Man Booker Prize to Ion Trewin, has at last signed a contract for a memoir. Simon & Schuster, his choice, has never produced a contender for the Prize - which will perhaps make it easier for Goff to spill some of the many beans he has squirrelled away in more than 30 years at the helm. For while he has always been a judicious media leaker, he has kept many secrets. Goff reinvented the National Book League to create Booktrust; he has also written 10 novels, including the ground-breaking Youngest Director which, in 1961, tackled sexuality in the workplace. His personal papers have been donated to Oxford Brookes University; unlike the memoirs, they are sealed until after the sprightly bookman's death.

* Bloomsbury this week took the wraps off "Project X", cloaked in almost as much secrecy as the new Harry Potter. It turns out to be the new project from the million-selling Ben "Miscellany" Schott. In November, the firm will publish Schott's Almanac, which will "record the events of the past year and signal events to come". Its 16 sections will include "Sci, Tech, Net", "Money" and (of course) "Media and Celebrity". Bloomsbury is calling it "the biography of the year". Geddit?

* Penguin, amid its 70th birthday celebrations, has decided to award itself a present - a new list, to be presided over by Juliet Annan, daughter of the late Lord Annan, who currently handles Viking. That list will be taken over by Venetia Butterfield, headhunted from HarperCollins, where she was responsible for the UK launch of HarperPerennial in 2003. In her new role, Annan will publish mostly fiction and hopes that authors such as Tim Lott, Zoë Heller and Marina Lewycka, whose A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is shortlisted for next month's Orange Prize, will follow her.