The Literator: Arts Council England; Celebrity Signings; Transworld and Little, Brown

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The Independent Culture

* Yesterday, Arts Council England's boards met to consider the appeals of arts organisations, including some publishers, over cuts to funding. Dedalus has threatened to sue ACE, along with Arcadia, whose letter has been signed by luminaries such as Vanessa Redgrave. Arcadia founder Gary Pulsifer observes, "this has been imposed from on high, and on high ain't moving". But Emmanuel Amevor, Director of the Centreprise Trust in Hackney, is "cautiously optimistic". The self-supporting bookshop was founded in 1970, and promotes particularly the work of women and minority writers. Its creative-writing courses began in 1995 and among their successes are Jenny Downham, author of the much-acclaimed Before I Die. Without ACE funding they will cease to exist. It's been admitted that Lottery funding has been re-allocated from arts to Olympic projects, but it's a sad day when a worthwhile endeavour in a deprived area of London but a javelin's throw from 2012 central is sacrificed to help pay for it.

* January is not yet out and already the celebs are signing up: George Michael to HarperCollins for £6m; Roger Moore to Michael O'Mara and Sean Connery to Weidenfeld. Now Random House, home of "novelists" Katie Price and Kerry Katona, has pounced on Martine McCutcheon, who "writes like an angel" apparently. She must take after her mother, Random House's misery lit sensation, Jenny Tomlin, who makes her fiction debut in July with Sweetie.

* As Transworld and Little, Brown open offices in Ireland, Scotland is no longer flavour of the month. Now Penguin's Jenny Moir, who joined from Canongate four years ago to set up a Scots list, is leaving the company and will not be replaced. Among her successes were James Robertson's The Testament of Gideon Mack, which was shortlisted for three awards, including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize.

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