Cover Stories: Philippa Harrison, Stuart Proffitt, Creative Revelations

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The Independent Culture

One of the most distinguished names in publishing has announced her retirement: Philippa Harrison, who as a humble reader at Cape plucked Ian McEwan from the slush pile, is bowing out of Little, Brown. She became, in the 1980s, the first woman MD of a trade publisher with Macmillan, and won undying loyalty when, having taken over Macdonald just before Robert Maxwell went for his late-night dip, she steered the company through receivership and docked with Little, Brown.

The ambitious Stuart Proffitt, who recited Victorian poetry with his author Margaret Thatcher, must be hoping that he will be able to update his CV. Since he resigned from HarperCollins over Chris Patten's memoirs, he's had to play second fiddle to Andrew Rosenheim, the MD, at Penguin Press. Last week, however, Rosenheim announced his resignation. He plans to take time out to reflect and to work on his own projects, a move possibly occasioned by his experience in the Paddington rail disaster. Proffitt will surely make a pitch for the post.

Book now for three litfests later this month. On 23-24 September, Will Self, W G Sebald and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize winner Marta Morazzoni will join other writers and translators in "Creative Revelations" on the South Bank in London, a "celebration of literature in translation" (rfh.org.uk, or literarytranslation.com). At Berkhamsted College, Herts, the author's school, the fourth annual Graham Greene Festival (27-30 September) examines Greene's Caribbean and Central American classics, and also his female characters (secretary@grahamgreenebt.org). And, in London's Barbican Centre, "Write Black, Write British: from post-colonial to Black British Writing" (on 27-28 September) is the first such event, and will feature black writers, editors, publishers and academics. Details from: writeblack_british@hotmail.com.

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