Cover Stories: Simon & Schuster; agency rivalries; Bill Deedes

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The Independent Culture

For the first time, Simon & Schuster UK is in contention for the Man Booker Prize, with Animal's People by Indra Sinha. It has another reason to be happy: Jack Romanos, president of mother ship S&S US, who is to retire at the end of the year, is to be succeeded by Carolyn Reidy, currently president of the Adult Publishing Division. Romanos has been with the company for more than two decades, and it is to him that heads of the UK subsidiary have to report. Reidy, is a child of the Sixties who learnt Russian in order to read Dostoyevsky in the original, and is liked by staff for the supportive and informal emails she sends them.



Caroline Michel, MD of the William Morris Agency since March 2005, has left to take up the CEO's seat at rival firm PFD, which has been in flux. Bought by sports agency CSS Stellar in 2001, PFD has been the subject of endless speculation while the staff have been trying to negotiate a £4m management buyout. Chorion, the licensing agency that looks after the Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie brands, had tabled an offer for double that. Michel's appointment throws William Morris into limbo once again and staff at PFD, whose books division is headed by the much-respected Carolyn Dawnay, have more change to confront. It is Michel's third change in five years: she left Random House to become MD of HarperCollins' literary division, an unhappy move. And William Morris, with its demanding US management, is often regarded as something of a poisoned chalice.



The late Bill Deedes is to be the subject of a biography by Stephen Robinson, who worked with the Telegraph legend. The book was commissioned in 2004 and Deedes cooperated on the understanding that it not be published until after his death; so The Lives of Bill Deedes is expected to be fuller and franker than Deedes's own memoirs. Publication is pencilled in for February.

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