Cover Stories: Paddington Bear; Richard Charkin's resignation; Garrison Keillor

By The Literator
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The Independent Culture

For fans of Paddington Bear, it's good news that Warner Bros plans to bring him to the big screen, with screenplay by Hamish McColl, the man behind Mr Bean's Holiday. Poor Paddington (below) has not found favour with younger readers because, says HarperCollins, the Brown family travel on buses and have a housekeeper. Nevertheless, HC will make a fuss next year, when he will be 50. David Heyman, the film's producer, is entranced by the stories' "wit, wonder and charm. Paddington's story is that of an immigrant arriving in London and trying to find a home and a family."

The industry was rocked by the surprise news this week that maverick Richard Charkin has resigned as CEO of Macmillan to become Executive Director of Bloomsbury. He will, according to Chairman Nigel Newton, be "particularly concerned with delivering growth in the post-Harry Potter era". That is the key, for the appointment will make Bloomsbury far less vulnerable to predators. Charkin has exerted significant influence on academic publishing, at Macmillan and OUP. He not only understands digital publishing but loves it, blogging daily. He is often infuriating and looks like an unmade bed, but his energy and intellectual rigour is widely respected. Macmillan will seek to replace him: Anthony Forbes-Watson, the much-liked former CEO of Penguin, should be in the line-up.

Garrison Keillor, author of the Lake Wobegon series, has this week won the John Steinbeck Award in Salinas, California. The honour – bestowed on such figures as Arthur Miller, Joan Baez and Sean Penn – is given to artists whose work best captures the spirit of Steinbeck's empathy for the common man.

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