Cover Stories: Publisher prizes; war memories; Ian Rankin

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It always irked Eddie Bell that, under his leadership, HarperCollins was never Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards.

It always irked Eddie Bell that, under his leadership, HarperCollins was never Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards. Then a year or so after his departure, new CEO Victoria Barnsley collected the award known as a "Nibbie". Now, 18 months after founder Anthony Cheetham was ousted from Orion, that company has been named Publisher of the Year. It's a well-deserved accolade as, under Peter Roche and Malcolm Edwards, Orion is both successful and happy. The award of Small Publisher of the Year to Blake Publishing, on the other hand, will raise eyebrows. The firm is known for books by ex-cons (and pre-cons: Blake published Jonathan King's "novel"), by James Hewitt, and now Jordan. Blake, to be fair, has done what he's done in style and has managed what many a small publisher can't: to keep a megaseller (Being Jordan) in supply.

* Fortunately for Tony Blair, the memoirs of Sir Christopher Meyer, our man in Washington from 1997 to 2003, will not be published until October. The book, bought by Weidenfeld, will offer "revealing" insights, not least into the time when Blair and Bush prepared for two wars. Meyer promises a focus on "the most vivid moments".

* Early in its life, Orion signed an unknown crime writer: Ian Rankin. Now, books featuring DI Rebus account for 10 per cent of all UK crime sales. Rankin will soon have the Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement to add to his baubles. And May also offers the chance to see Rankin performing live with Jackie Leven, one of Rebus's favourite musicians, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, on 15 May, followed by Perth (23) and Kircaldy (24).

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