Cover Stories: Sporting triumphs; PFD's woes

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The Independent Culture

England may have lost out in Paris and Lewis Hamilton in Brazil, but both their publishers – and indeed most booksellers – believe they will score in the bookshops this autumn. Lewis Hamilton: My Story is on HarperCollins' starting grid on 5 November, and an ambitious 225,000 copies will roll off the presses once the final chapter has been written. Despite some havering, the England rugby squad has decided to go ahead with its World Cup 2007: The Official Account of England's World Cup Campaign (working title: World Cup Triumph), which Orion aims to publish the week after Hamilton's autobiography appears.

A bunker mentality persists at the PFD agency, where embattled new MD Caroline Michel is said to be trying to persuade Pat Kavanagh to remain. Michel has described her as a mentor and friend, but it is thought Kavanagh feels betrayed and that her husband Julian Barnes thinks she should leave with her colleagues for the United Agents start-up. Kavanagh is in her late sixties and has most to lose by starting over. But the golden handcuffs offered to various agents have been rejected and there is no reason to assume Ms K will accept. Puzzlingly, Caroline Dawnay, PFD's second lieutenant, is this week in New York.

So far, Michel does not seem to be in talks with agenting talent elsewhere – odd, as, six weeks after her arrival, PFD is in stasis. Rumours persist that she'll try to buy an entire agency, with Arundhati Roy's agent David Godwin a favourite. He denies it, pointing out that he couldn't anyway sell without his clients' consent. Some of Michael Sissons's clients were none too pleased when he sold out to CSS Stellar, so PFD author loyalty has been tested once too often. Meanwhile, one refusenik agent says that "Caroline keeps sending emails about new initiatives and we all simply ignore them. Everyone's just waiting to go."