Books: Heroes and villains

Elton was greedy, Andrew sneaky, Beryl plucky and Orlando - gobsmacked. `The Literator' scans a year in books, and hands out bouquets and brickbats for 1997

HEROES Kitty Kelley

Her long-awaited biography of The Royals appeared just two weeks after Diana's death. Kelley's relentless documenting of below-stairs tittle- tattle was as compelling as it was tawdry. Her revelations that, from the sainted Queen Mother on down, the House of Windsor is all fur coat and no knickers were widely applauded. A great pity there is no British edition. (qv Villains)

Roald Dahl

BBC TV's Bookworm survey revealed him to be the favourite author among readers under 16. Seven Dahl titles featured in the top 10, with Matilda at number one.

Beryl Bainbridge

Every Man for Himself was shortlisted for the Booker, the Whitbread and the Orange. It won none of them, save for the category prize of the Whitbread. Throughout, Bainbridge remained the good loser.

John Calder

While major publishers wrung their hands, doughty independent John Calder went to the High Court to fight for the Net Book Agreement against the Office of Fair Trading. A sure case of David taking on Goliath. This time, however, Goliath won. Calder branded the Publishers Association "craven, foolish, ignorant, suicidal".

Victoria Barnsley

At the British Book Awards, Fourth Estate's founder and managing director, Victoria Barnsley, proved that independent publishers can survive and prosper. Fourth Estate was named Publisher of the Year and their author Dava Sobel won the Book of the Year Award for Longitude.

Orlando Figes

The author collected no fewer than four prizes for A People's Tragedy, his history of the Russian Revolution: the Wolfson History Award, the NCR Award, the W H Smith Literary Award and the Longman/History Today Book Prize. The total booty was pounds 53,500. "Bloody heck!" Figes exclaimed, when the pounds 25,000 NCR was announced.

Ben Glazebrook

Constable, an old-fashioned independent that owes its health to vampirism - they published Bram Stoker's original Dracula in 1897 - enjoyed an upturn in profits. A family firm, its chairman was delighted to be voted best publisher in a survey of members of the Society of Authors. The morning the results were known, each member of staff received a pounds 50 note pinned to a thank-you letter.

David Campbell

Disappointed at the lack of literary Millennium projects, the Everyman publisher despatched a proposal to the Commission. The result was the Millennium Library Trust - pounds 4m from the Millennium Fund plus pounds 4m from Campbell - which will put a 250-volume Everyman Library in 4,500 state secondary schools.

VILLAINS Kitty Kelley (qv Heroes)

Andrew Morton

Having previously said he could happily "live off the ashes of the House of Windsor", Morton was castigated for doing just that when he announced that Diana was the source for his best-selling book. Diana: Her True Story - In Her Own Words was hastily reissued with a new introduction and with the Princess's words now in quotation marks. A "portion" only of its royalties go to charity.

Elton John

Applauded for his exemplary performance at Westminster Abbey, rock's very own Queen Mum spoiled it all by immediately launching a bid to sell his memoirs for around pounds 10m. No buyer has yet emerged.

Piers and Hilary du Pre

The brother and sister of the late cellist marked the 10th anniversary of her death with a memoir that seems to have no other purpose than to knock Jacqueline du Pre off a pedestal that was not of her own choosing. Billed as "extraordinarily revealing", A Genius in the Family was nothing but a settling of family scores by two vastly less talented siblings. EMI have refused to license Jackie's recordings for use in the film of the book, from which the BBC have pulled out.

A M Homes

The American author was reviled as "depraved" and her "paedophile" novel The End of Alice as "debasing and repugnant". The NSPCC's call for a ban was ignored, though it put the novel on to the front pages. Despite that, sales were inconsequential.

Anthony Forbes Watson

After several years of torpidity following Peter Mayer's return to New York, Penguin finally started to flap its wings. The new chief executive, who moved from Ladybird, hired a new MD, Helen Fraser, whose brief was to give the old bird a makeover. Forbes Watson departed for holiday, leaving Fraser to take the flak for hirings and firings.

John Holloran

The departure of much-loved Sandy Grant from Reed Books and the appointment of the much-disliked John Holloran as chief executive in late 1996 signalled the end of the road for Heinemann, Secker, Methuen et al. Charged by Reed Elsevier with selling the division, he vowed it would be "sold not stolen". In the event, Random House paid a little over pounds 17m - less than a quarter of the price Virgin had offered the previous year.

Nicholas Byam Shaw

Having bought Boxtree in 1996 in order to acquire its founding MD, Sarah Mahaffy, whom he appointed as managing director of Macmillan, the group's chairman abruptly released her from her duties. No reason was given but industry observers noted that, while Byam Shaw had wanted her to breathe fresh air into Macmillan, he hadn't wanted a gale. In January, Richard Charkin takes over from Byam Shaw as chairman.

Bill Cockburn

In just two years at W H Smith, the chief executive instigated a massive cut-back in its range of books, a decision which adversely affected many smaller publishers. He also sacked 1,000 staff in a massive restructuring. When the going got tough, Cockburn got going, joining BT. It's good to talk - and, fortunately, Smith's shareholders don't have to talk to him any more.

Read The Literator's `Inside Publishing', in the Independent's Media+ section every Monday

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

    salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

    Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

    Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower