Cover Stories: PFD-United Agents Ltd saga; author Sarah Hall;

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The Independent Culture

* The PFD-United Agents Ltd saga continues enlivened last month by a rumour that Caroline Michel had resigned, which the embattled MD was quick to refute. Then David Buchler, the so-called turnaround king at PFD's parent CSS Stellar, announced the registration of a new company called United Agents Group a petty move. But there is discomfort elsewhere in the once-sedate world of literary agenting: Christopher Little, agent to JK Rowling (above), is parting company with Patrick Janson-Smith, who joined his agency two years ago from Transworld as heir-apparent. Patrick Walsh, who had been Little's right hand, left the agency in similarly unclear circumstances in the late Nineties and has since made a successful career at Conville & Walsh. But Janson-Smith is in his late fifties, and may be tempted away from starting on his own: agents agree it takes some five years to establish a money-making client list. Perhaps Michel will offer him a job PJS joins PFD?

* Sarah Hall has joined an illustrious list that includes the likes of William Boyd and Jonathan Coe as winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for a writer under 35. Success for her dystopian novel, The Carhullan Army (Faber), follows a Man Booker short-listing for The Electric Michelangelo, and a Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the best first book with Haweswater.

* Parents complain that, Harry Potter aside, it's difficult to get teenagers to read. A new initiative by might help. Its research revealed that many teenagers had trouble finding books that turned them on, so "new gen", a category launched on its website, includes fiction by such high-profile names as Julie Burchill and Melvin Burgess alongside "discoveries". Teens don't often have credit cards, so lovereading has a Wish List tool that allows them to create a list, which can be picked up by someone else who has a flexible friend.