* Paddington, who lately discovered a penchant for Marmite, celebrates his 50th birthday this year. His creator, Michael Bond, will mark the occasion with a new adventure, Paddington Here and Now (HarperCollins) in June. Sadly, Paddington has rather fallen out of favour with young readers on account (say his publishers) of the Brown family employing a housekeeper and travelling on buses, rather than in a 4x4. His big birthday also inspires a memoir by Shirley Clarkson, maker of the first Paddington toys. Bearly Believable: My Part in the Paddington Bear Story (Harriman House) tells the story of the company launched from her kitchen table. Her very first bear was made for her son, little Jeremy Clarkson, who was devoted to Paddington.
* A formidable pedigree can be both help and hindrance. Rebecca Miller is the daughter of the late Arthur Miller and photographer Inge Morath, and the wife of actor Daniel Day-Lewis. A painter-actress-film director, she ventured into print five years ago with a short story collection, Personal Velocity. In April, Canongate will publish her first novel, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, the story of a 50-something woman living – bored – in a retirement community. Her publishers have high hopes for the book and already Miller is working on a film adaptation
* Israel at 60 will be one theme of Jewish Book Week, which runs in London from 23 February through 2 March with some events outside the capital. A multimedia festival of books, photography, film and drama, it features an illustrious range of authors, this year including Zadie Smith, Monica Ali, Oona King, Linda Grant and Arnold Wesker. And the award-winning novelist Nancy Huston, born in Canada but a bestseller in France, where she lives, will discuss her fiction on 29 February at an event in association with The Independent. Information at: www.jewishbookweek.com
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