BOOK POWER 100
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1Jeff BezosFounder and CEO of AmazonBooksellingThe world is not quite enough for the founder and chief executive of Amazon, one of whose latest ventures is Blue Origin, a spaceflight company that hopes to be propelling us all into the heavens in the (relatively) near future. And Bezos’s ambition is probably that we remember to take along a Kindle for in-flight reading. As Amazon’s CEO, he’s used to going where no one has gone before, not least with Kindle, which is his firm’s bestselling item, far outstripping the books, DVDs and other items that the company’s been shipping to our doors since 1994 http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/jeff-bezos-books-power-100
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2JK RowlingAuthorAuthorIf anyone ever doubted that there was life in the young wizard yet, they were proved wrong with Rowling’s announcement of the arrival of Pottermore.com, the website dedicated to all things Harry, which will raise its curtains for business this October. But this isn’t just a fansite: it’s a virtual world in which dedicated Potter fans of all ages can navigate their way through Rowling’s imagination, collecting “house points” and chatting to their new friends in the process. It all sounds charming until you get to the commercial nitty-grittyhttp://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/jk-rowling-books-power-100
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3Larry PageCEO, GoogleDigital technologyPage, the CEO of Google, and Sergey Brin, the company’s co-founder, aren’t exactly ambitious: all they want to do is open up the world’s books to the world’s readers via the magical process of digitisation. And all would be going a little bit more smoothly were it not for the highly controversial matter of copyright. In the rapidly evolving world of online information, it seems incredible that the Google book settlement – the legal battle between Google and authors and publishers – has been grinding its way through the courts for six years http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/larry-page-books-power-100
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4James Daunt/Alexander MamutMD, Waterstones/Proprietor, WaterstonesBooksellingSince the chill wind of recession swept through the world of publishing, an increasing number of launch parties that might formerly have been held in swanky, expensive venues have been taking place in rather more modest surroundings – often, in fact, in a branch of Daunt Books. Elegant, old-fashioned and crammed with lovely books and clever booksellers, these are bookshops as old-school book lovers would like to have them, and they hope that their creator, James Daunt, will bring some of their ethos to the fore as he remodels Waterstone’s http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/daunt-mamut-books-power-100
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5Tim Hely HutchinsonGroup Chief Executive, Hachette UKPublisherWhat advice might comedian Miranda Hart offer the group CEO of Hachette UK? He’ll be able to ask her sooner than us, because Hodder & Stoughton, one of the companies in his vast empire, has just acquired her new book, Is It Just Me?, envisaged as a guide to life’s little hiccups. She might well tell Hely Hutchinson to keep calm and carrying on doing whatever he’s been doing up to now – because it seems to be working. Since it acquired Time Warner five years ago, Hachette UK has been the country’s largest book publisher http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/tim-hely-hutchinson-books-power-100
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6James PattersonAuthorAuthorOf course, the thriller writer doesn’t occupy the number six slot entirely alone, and he would be the first to admit it. Patterson’s relentless publication programme – more than 70 novels to his name, and 12 out in the UK in this year alone – is the result not only of his dogged determination but also of his enthusiasm for using co-writers. With his collaborators credited on his books, and Patterson happy to talk about the process in interviews, it’s clear that the former advertising executive regards this as a sensible way to maximise productivity and profit http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/james-patterson-books-power-100
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7Kate SwannCEO, WH SmithBooksellingDon’t go whining to Swann if the WH Smith you see at railway stations and airports these days is unrecognisable from what you remember from your childhood: its CEO is far more concerned with future profitability than nostalgia. She described the company as “a burning platform” when she joined in 2003; shortly afterwards, she began a no-nonsense programme of cost-cutting and re-orientation. In April this year, WHS announced a 3% rise in profits, due in no small part to the expansion of its travel business http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/kate-swann-books-power-100
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8Jamie OliverChef, broadcaster and cookery writerAuthorSome may wonder how we ever got the tea on the table before he arrived; booksellers just pray that he’ll never go away. As we near the starting line for the all-important run-up to Christmas, Oliver is once again promising to be a vital element in saving the trade’s bacon with his new title, Jamie’s Great Britain, inspired by the kind of food he ate growing up in his parents’ pub. Only time will tell whether the book will match last year’s chicken -dinner winner, Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, which spent a staggering 32 weeks at number onehttp://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/jamie-oliver-books-power-100
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9Gail RebuckCEO, Random HousePublisherAfter 20 years at the helm of Random House UK, and nearing her 60th birthday, is Dame Gail Rebuck CBE tiring of the job? No fear. With digital sales now accounting for more than 10% of the company’s sales, and lifetime sales of 3m ebooks, Rebuck is keeping a close eye on RH’s goal of becoming the country’s “leading creative publisher”, presiding over a recent series of shuffles and promotions to strengthen the com-pany’s digital staffing. She certainly has the authors at her disposal: Random House spans the cultural waterfronthttp://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/gail-rebuck-books-power-100
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10Tim CookCEO, AppleDigital technologyTaking over from a charismatic and influential predecessor is never easy, but when that man is Steve Jobs, the pressure is of a different order. It’s lucky, then, that Cook, named as Apple’s new CEO when Jobs stepped down unexpectedly in August, is known as a pretty unflappable sort of guy – added to which, he’s familiar enough with the territory, having joined Apple in 1998 as its chief operating officer. And he’s certainly not afraid of hard work – he likes to be up and emailing his colleagues by 4.30am
http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/tim-cook-books-power-100
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11Ion Trewin/Emmanuel RomanLiterary Director, Man Booker prizes and COO, Man GroupLiterary awardsFormerly a publisher at Weidenfeld (where he edited Alan Clark’s diaries), Trewin took over from Martyn Goff – known for covert spinning – as administrator of the Man Booker prize in 2006. Less tricksy and hyperactive than his predecessor, he’s introduced the odd modernising touch while aiming to consolidate the £50,000 award’s reputation as the “gold standard” of literary prizes. In this he’s largely succeeded, although this year’s controversial choice of Stella Rimington as chair, with other, similarly populist panellists, might dent both his and the award’s image.http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/ion-trewin-emmanuel-roman-books-power-100
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12Rachel Harcourt and Garry BlackmanBook buyers, TescoBooksellingBlackman and Harcourt, book buyers for the number-one supermarket group, are representative of the overall impact of bookselling by Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, arguably as significant as that of Amazon. Not so long ago, most books were bought in either specialist retailers or WH Smith, by people who entered the shop for that purpose. Two factors have rendered this far less common over the past decade: on the one hand, Amazon’s dual appeal of low prices and not having to go out in the rain; on the other, the supermarkets, which also discount heavily and make books handily available to shoppers doing the weekly shop.http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/rachel-harcourt-garry-blackman-books-power-100
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13John Makinson/Tom WeldonChairman and chief executive and UK CEO, Penguin GroupPublisherMakinson, Penguin’s global CEO, began his career as a journalist at its sister company, the Financial Times, and his last stop before Penguin was with the owner of both businesses, Pearson (run by Marjorie Scardino). Also chair of the National Theatre, he’s given joint credit with Weldon, his astute deputy, for the health of a publisher that’s third in market share and regularly giving the more octopus-like conglomerates ahead of it a scarehttp://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/john-makinson-tom-weldon-books-power-100
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14Andrew WylieLiterary AgentLiterary agentKnown as “the Jackal” owing to his appetite for ripping authors from other agents, Wylie confirmed that reputation in Britain in 1995 when he lured Martin Amis away from the late Pat ­Kavanagh (thereby ending the friendship between Amis and Kavanagh’s husband, Julian Barnes). The following year, letting it be known that the £500,000 he had secured for Amis showed he could extract whopping advances, he added a second office in London to his base in New York.
http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/andrew-wylie-books-power-100
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15Victoria BarnsleyCEO, HarperCollins UKPublishingThough she has overseen the mighty, Rupert Murdoch-owned publisher for more than a decade, Barnsley has a scruffy indie past: she founded Fourth Estate in 1984 and built it into a model small publisher, nimbler than the ­maj­ors and known for outwitting them in both fiction and non-fiction. In 2000, it was folded into HarperCollins as she became its CEO. How well she’s done is open to question, as occasional prize successes, such as Hilary Mantel’s Booker, can’t disguise the fact that HarperCollins seems locked behind Hachette, Random House and Penguin in market share, and fourth is not where a Murdoch company is supposed to behttp://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/victoria-barnsley-books-power-100
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16Kate MosseAuthor, honorary director, Orange prizeLiterary awardsAlmost 10 years after co-devising the celebration of successful female ­authors that is the Orange prize, Mosse became one herself in 2005 with Laby­rinth. The first of a trilogy (to be completed this autumn) interweaving past and present-day plots, the novel, which focuses on France’s medieval Cathar heretics, had the triple appeal of history, mystery and women’s adventure story. It became an international best­seller on the back of spectacular sales in the UK that owed much to being a Richard and Judy choice.http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/kate-mosse-books-power-100
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17Jacqueline WilsonAuthor, former children's laureateAuthorWilson was in her mid-40s when she made her breakthrough with The Story of Tracy Beaker in 1991; since then, further instalments of the care home tomboy’s story have followed, and new series of a BBC dramatisation continue to be made. The novel established her formula of issue-centred fiction, including topics such as divorce, an abusive step-parent, mental illness or simply a crap dad through the eyes of a child narrator, and eventually showing that the problem was not as bad as feared, or could be overcome or escaped. http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/jacqueline-wilson-books-power-100
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18The ghost of Stieg LarssonAuthorAuthorLike Mikael Blomkvist, the hero of his Millennium trilogy, Larsson was a magazine editor who campaigned against far-right groups and their links with the Swedish establishment; unlike him, he wrote thrillers in his spare time, which were published after his sudden death in 2004. Also featuring the hacker Lisbeth Salander, the books have enjoyed colossal sales around the world, with film versions maintaining a momentum that is only now beginning to flag – and if, as rumoured, there’s most of a fourth novel on a laptop owned by Larsson’s partner, it could pick up again.http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/stieg-larsson-books-power-100
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19Ian McEwanAuthorAuthorThe winner of the Man Booker prize for Amsterdam in 1998, McEwan has been shortlisted five other times and is the most successful British-born literary novelist of his generation; his accomplished work since the 1990s has a reputation for combining classiness with accessible storytelling, ensuring reliably strong sales, film adaptations – the kudos won by the Atonement movie looks likely to add to producers’ enthusiasm – and a regular spot on A-level syllabuses. It’s all a long way from his early years as “Ian Macabre”, when he was known for bleakness, shocks and sex http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/ian-mcewan-books-power-100
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20Janice HadlowController, BBC2BroadcastingHadlow made her name on The Late Show, BBC2’s late-night arts series. She then looked after history and arts at both the BBC and Channel 4 before being appointed the second controller of BBC4 in 2004. There she characteristically increased history output and turned dons (often women) into stars, leaving an imprint on the highbrow network still evident today; she was a natural choice to run its sister channel, BBC2 – they often share programmes – when the controllership became vacant in 2008. http://www.guprod.gnl/books/2011/sep/23/janice-hadlow-books-power-100
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21Carol Ann DuffyPoet laureatePoet
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22Anthony Forbes-WatsonMD, Pan MacmillanPublishingAfter many years with Penguin, a spell as a consultant and an unsuccessful attempt to join forces with Tim Waterstone and buy Waterstone’s, Forbes Watson became managing director of Pan Macmillan in 2008. In May this year, it was reported that the company had acquired the next seven books by self-publishing sensation Amanda Hocking – a sign, quite possibly, of Forbes Watson’s shrewdness. Meanwhile, upmarket literary imprint Picador has this year published Alan Hollinghurst’s The Stranger’s Child and Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test.
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23Ed VictorLiterary AgentLiterary agentNot content with having the likes of ­Nigella Lawson, Keith Richards and Frederick Forsyth on his books, the ­super-agent is in a fever of diversi­fication. At the beginning of the year, he launched the Ed Victor Speakers ­Bureau and now comes Bedford Square Books, an ebook and print-on-demand operation. On its imminent launch list are Harold Evans and Edna O’Brien, and Victor has also just rattled the publishing world by announcing that he’s taken on a work of original fiction by “a very well-known woman” who had been turned down by a number of houses.
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24Martina ColeAuthorAuthor
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25Nigel NewtonCEO, BloomsburyPublishingWith independent behemoth Bloomsbury celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, chief executive Newton – one of its founding members – must be feeling pretty good despite entering a post-Harry Potter era. No sooner did Howard Jacobson cross over from Cape than he won the Man Booker prize, while Frank Dikötter scooped the Samuel Johnson. Newton has restructured the company along more global-friendly lines and now prepares to test his robust predictions for the future of the ebook.
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26Stephen PageCEO, FaberPublishingFaber’s boss has simultaneously husbanded the venerable indie’s prestigious modern poetry back backlist while presiding over diversification into creative writing courses, digital services, print-on-demand reissues, and poetry and drama initiatives. A firm believer in the added value publishers can offer their writers, former sales and marketing exec Page has also emerged as leading light of the Independent publisher’s Alliance.
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27Zadie SmithAuthorAuthorThe Atlantic Ocean means little to Smith. One minute she’s fighting library closures in London, the next she’s fulfilling her professorial duties on New York University’s creative ­writing programme. This year also saw her join Harper’s Magazine as books columnist: she’s the wunderkind with staying power both as a ­novelist and a critic.
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28Terry PratchettAuthorAuthorThe 39th Discworld novel, Snuff, out next month, will prove again Pratchett’s enduring appeal as a writer of comic fantasy novels. A massive seller, he’s also sui generis; over the decades, his meticulously constructed alternate universe has made him not only a fan’s delight and a national treasure but also an increasingly respected satirist of this world’s corruptions and absurdities. Following the “embuggerance” of early-onset Alzheimer’s that he announced in 2007, Pratchett is now a patron of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, and his BBC documentary on assisted death was broadcast in June this year.
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29Larry FinlayMD, TransworldPublishingAs managing director of the Random House imprint, Finlay is responsible for some of the biggest-selling authors around, including Dan Brown, Sophie Kinsella, Lee Child and Bill Bryson. In May of this year, Transworld published Kate McCann’s Madeleine, with Finlay reporting first-day sales of 40,000 ­copies and a quickly sold-out print run of 250,000.
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30Tony PhillipsCommissioning editor, factual programmes, Radio 4BroadcastingThe institution that is Radio 4’s Book of the Week is highly coveted by publishers, who know exactly what the exposure given by five 15-minute programmes, can do for their sales. The eclectic mix extends to biography, autobiography, travel, diaries, essays, humour and history. BOTW short-circuits the lengthy and not always obliging review process to put books in front of potential readers in a way few other formats can match. Phillips is the man who provides listeners with the blend of readings that keeps them tuning in.
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31Nigel PortwoodCEO, Oxford University PressPublisherHired by OUP in 2009, Portwood was previously director of digital strategy at Penguin – so retuning the academic publisher’s digital setup has, as you’d expect, been central to his approach. He’s also restructured the publisher’s UK and US arms into a single division, along with Oxford Journals. Prudent handling of the lucrative core academic lists – not to mention the dictionary - has resulted in record turnover and after-tax profits of £648m and £114m in 2010-11. Not bad for OUP’s the first non-Oxford graduate head in 425 years.
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32Julia DonaldsonAuthor and children's laureateAuthorHow many books for under-fives become an all-star cast Christmas cartoon? The Gruffalo and other assorted rhyming fables had already made Donaldson a powerhouse of picturebooks and revivified the genre when she took over as children’s laureate in June. She’s got her teeth into the job, slamming government plans to reduce spending on libraries and planning to spend much of her tenure on the road.
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33Stuart ProffittPublishing director, Penguin PressPublishingFormerly at HarperCollins (where he was caught up in the Chris Patten memoirs row), since 1998 Proffitt has run the Penguin division that includes Allen Lane, which specialises in the kind of hefty, cerebral non-fiction discussed on Start the Week (the standard joke is that drafts are sent back if under 800 pages). He also chairs the steering committee of the Samuel Johnson prize, which seems tailored to Allen Lane titles, though recent Penguin wins have been scarce.
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34Mariella FrostrupPresenterBroadcastingPublishers regularly complain that there are only two dedicated books programmes: Radio 4’s Open Book and Sky Arts’s The Book Show. As host of both, Frostrup has carved a niche in books broadcasting, proving herself both an adept interviewer and an engaging guide through the contemporary literary scene. With a clearly genuine interest in reading, not to mention her instantly recognisable voice, her presence has become all the more visible as Sky’s festivals coverage has increased.
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35Malcolm GladwellAuthorAuthorThe British-born, Canadian-raised New Yorker writer scored international bestsellers with his debut The Tipping Point (advance: $1m) and Blink, and as a result can charge a fortune for addressing businesses or for public talks and Q&As. His speciality, seen more recently in Outliers, is mining academic research and encapsulating its insights snappily and with appealing examples. Many have copied his approach (often, ironically, academics), and the present trend for one-word titles – eg Nudge – is also down to him.
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36Simon ProsserPublishing director, Hamish HamiltonPublishingProsser has enthused about making his Penguin imprint “almost like an independent publisher” in its eclecticism, and his reputation for attentive editing has drawn writers including Alain de Botton, Kiran Desai, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Safran Foer, Hari Kunzru and Zadie Smith. Fiction dominates, but when he “did the triple” in 2006 his prize winners included Hilary Spurling’s biog Matisse: The Life as well as novels by Desai and Smith. He co-runs the Port Eliot festival, where his authors pop up in unexpected roles.
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37Marian KeyesAuthorAuthorLast year, the prolific and mega-selling (over 23 million copies worldwide) Irish writer announced to her fans that she was suffering from a crippling depression that had left her able to do very little, let alone write. Next year, the author of Watermelon, Sushi for Beginners and The Brightest Star in the Sky will publish Saved By Cake, a non-fiction account of how falling in love with baking aided her recovery.
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38Philip PullmanAuthorAuthorA former teacher and lecturer, Pullman won the Guardian children’s fiction prize, among others, for the first part of the His Dark Materials trilogy in 1996, and the Whitbread book of the year for the final volume in 2002. Acclaim for the sequence as a breakthrough in seriousness in children’s writing led to stage and film adaptations, and also gave Pullman a platform as a commentator (notably on religion) and campaigner – he was prominent in recent lobbying for libraries.
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39Ursula MackenzieChief Executive, Publisher, Little BrownPublishingA popular and influential figure in roles representing the publishing industry, Mackenzie runs the division of Hachette that includes Little, Brown, Abacus and Virago. That means plenty of literary authors, including Sarah Waters and Orange prize winner Marilynne Robinson at Virago alone; but Mackenzie spent 15 years at hit-focused Transworld before coming to Little, Brown in 2000, and hidden away in her teen imprint Atom is Hachette’s goose that lays the golden eggs: Stephenie Meyer.
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40Dan FranklinPublisher, Jonathan CapePublishingFranklin calls himself “deeply shallow, a tart” but the veteran editor is the embodiment of literary publishing – trying to sign up new talent before young upstarts at Penguin, Atlantic or Canongate pounce while looking after a lineup of grandees who include Ian McEwan, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie and, back after defecting, Martin Amis. And of course Julian Barnes, whose The Sense of an Ending is the frontrunner for this year’s Booker prize.
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41Mark LawsonAuthor and presenterAuthorNovelist, TV pundit and reviewer for this newspape, Mark Lawson is most familiar as a regular presenter of Radio 4’s Front Row. Also seen on BBC4 as host of Mark Lawson Talks To ... His clout in selecting which books to cover can significantly raise an author’s profile and his record of interviewing seemingly every literary grandee – in particular all living American post-war greats – means that to be interviewed by Lawson is to have arrived.
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42Jamie ByngMD, CanongatePublishingThe flamboyant and seemingly tireless managing director of Canongate Books found an even wider audience when he cooked up the inaugural World Book Night, held in March. Enlisting scores of famous writers to appear at events and overseeing a give­away of a million books, Byng overcame a few logistical problems to ensure the second WBN will take place next April. One of his authors, Carol Birch, is shortlisted for the Booker, which Canongate last won in 2002 with Yann Martel’s Life of Pi
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43Sigrid RausingPublisher, Granta magazine and Granta BooksPublishingThe Tetra Pak heiress has used her wealth as a philanthropist to put together an indie publishing group encompassing Granta magazine, Granta Books and Portobello. While editors have come and gone as swiftly as Chelsea FC managers at the magazine, the book imprint has thrived – Nothing to Envy won the 2010 Samuel Johnson prize and The Sisters Brothers is on this year’s Booker shortlist.
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44Deborah RogersLiterary agentLiterary agentOne of the most recognisable figures on the London literary scene, Rogers set up the agency that would eventually become Rogers, Coleridge & White in 1967. Her clients include AS Byatt, David Hockney, Jenny Uglow and Peter Carey
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45Salman RushdieAuthorAuthorIt seems hardly likely that Rushdie has parted company with the novel, but he’s certainly enjoying dipping his toe into other genres at the moment. Hard at work on his memoirs, which are expected next year, he’s also writing and executive producing The Next People for US cable TV network Showtime, describing it as “not exactly sci-fi” – but near enough. Rushdie fans are also awaiting the completion of a film version of Midnight’s Children
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46Seamus HeaneyPoetPoetHaving won the TS Eliot prize, the ­Nobel and two Whitbreads, Heaney last year added the Forward prize to his mantelpiece for his collection Human Chain, in part a response to the stroke he had suffered. But Ireland’s most distinguished poet doesn’t just win prizes: last year, he had one named in his honour. The shortlist for the second Seamus Heaney Centre prize, awarded to the best debut poetry collection from Ireland or Britain, will be announced at the end of this month.
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47James WoodCriticLiterary critic or editorWood has been practising his brand of rigorous close reading for 20-odd years in a career that has taken him from the Guardian’s books pages, where he was chief literary critic between 1992 and 1995, to the New Yorker. Now professor of the practice of literary criticism at Harvard, he is currently spending a year as the Berthold Leibinger fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, where he will pursue one of his abiding interests: representations of faith in fiction. A review by him can catapult a book to attention
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48Peter EnglundAuthor and secretary of the Swedish AcademyAuthorThe bestselling historian caused something of a stir in 2009 when, after taking over as the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy– the publicity-shy body that hands out Nobel prizes – he declared that he thought the jury panel was in danger of becoming too Eurocentric. That year’s prize went to German writer Herta Müller, but in 2010 Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa carried off the literary world’s premier honour – the first South American to have done so since Gabriel García Márquez in 1982. All eyes are on America as the jury goes into its huddle before the ­October announcement.
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49Richard & JudyPresenters, book club overseersBroadcastingIt may not have quite the same phenomenal impact that it did when they shared a sofa on our screens, but the Richard and Judy Book Club has more than survived the pair’s retirement from regular television: WH Smith, the club’s exclusive bookselling partner, recently announced it was to extend the association to 2015. Meanwhile, following a positive reception for Richard Madeley’s memoir, Fathers and Sons, his wife is about to join him; Eloise, a ghost story set in Cornwall, will be published in 2012. It will not, she promises, earn a much-coveted R&J recommendation.
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50Martin AmisAuthorAuthorThere’s little that Amis can do without exciting comment, including leaving the country. But even if the writer and his family have decamped to Brooklyn to be closer to wife Isabel Fonseca’s family, he leaves us with a parting shot: the novel State of England, a story about a “lotto lout” called Lionel Asbo, to be published early next year. It’s unlikely, though, to be the last these shores see of him.
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51Peter FlorenceDirector, Hay festivalsLiterary festivalsFlorence was an actor with time to spare when he and his father organised a few events around their small Welsh market town in 1988. Hay festival grew and grew, despite rain, mud and limited transport links, achieving liftoff when Bill Clinton appeared in 2001 and provided its slogan: “The Woodstock of the mind”. Since then international festivals under the Hay umbrella have proliferated, with events this autumn in Mexico and Kenya.
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52Jonathan FranzenAuthorAuthorFranzen’s latest book Freedom was hailed as “the novel of the century” and its publication was greeted with unprecedented excitement: Obama took a copy on holiday and the author was the first novelist to make the cover of Time magazine in a decade. Franzen was propelled into the literary A-List with his third novel The Corrections, a family saga that signaled a return to 19th-century storytelling. It won the National Book award showing a 21st-century novel could be ambitious and readable – a soap opera with brains.
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53Michiko KakutaniChief reviewer, New York TimesLiterary critic or editorAs the New York Times’s long-standing lead critic, the Japanese-American former reporter enjoys a special importance – it’s the only broadsheet paper in the city where so many US publishers and authors cluster – and her power is enhanced by a reputation for hatchet-jobs from which no one is safe (Atwood, Morrison, Sontag and Updike have all been “Kakutanied”). Authors regularly hit back, with Franzen calling her the stupidest person in New York City despite her approving review of The Corrections.
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54Toby MundyCEO, Atlantic BooksPublishingMundy founded Atlantic in 2000 and is a hands-on boss, joining his publishing director, Ravi Mirchandani, in a hunt for books with a potential other publishers have missed. Their knack for finding them was best illustrated when Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger won the 2008 Booker prize. Since then the indie has expanded, adding the crime list Corvus and Colm Tóibín and Peter Straus’s imprint Tuskar Rock, and headline-making titles have included The Slap and Alistair Darling’s memoirs.
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55Alexandra PringleEditor-in-chief, BloomsburyPublishingPringle’s background is in women’s publishing – she joined Virago in the late 70s and rose to become managing director. At Bloomsbury, where she started working in 1999, her authors include William Boyd, Richard Ford, Esther Freud and Donna Tartt. Among the indie’s successes under her are the phenomenal sales of The Kite Runner, and the current feat of holding the Booker (Howard Jacobson) and Samuel Johnson (Frank Dikötter) prizes at the same time.
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56Nigella LawsonBroadcaster and cookery writerBroadcastingOnce the Sunday Times’s deputy literary editor, Lawson switched into food writing and in 1998 debuted with How to Eat, which sold 300,000 copies. Another monster manual, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, swiftly followed, heralding the baking revival; then she was picked up by television, and soon mocked for her saucy, spoon-licking style by impressionists such as Ronni Ancona. It’s a mark of her status as “the new Delia” that in the tie-in books’ titles she’s just “Nigella”.
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57Andrew MarrAuthor and broadcasterBroadcastingThe former newspaper editor and BBC political editor is the gatekeeper to success for serious non-fiction authors, so slots on his cerebral plugfest Start the Week (and, to a lesser extent, his Sunday TV breakfast show) are coveted and lobbied for. He’s also a successful writer himself, doing best with spin-offs from his TV histories of 20th-century Britain. A jubilee-marking biography of the Queen (followed by arise, Sir Andrew?) is the current project.
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58Philip RothAuthorAuthorYet to win the Nobel, Roth was this year awarded the Man Booker International prize. Though usually seen as an autobiographical writer, his output over more than 50 years includes novels as diverse as Portnoy’s Complaint, The Counterlife and The Plot Against America. He’s a role model for other men writing after feminism, arguably influencing Martin Amis and Howard Jacobson, and as an author even more inventive and driven in his 70s than he was when starting out.
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59Stephen FryAuthor, broadcaster, tweeterBroadcastingFry finds time for novels, memoirs and other scribblings while being a ubiquitous broadcaster (often about language, as in his forthcoming TV series Planet Word) and incessant tweeter. Like his endorsements on book jackets, his Twitter musings can boost other authors’ sales. He’s also influential as a technophile, at home (despite his tweedy image) in a multi-platform world: his latest volume of autobiography was available as an audio, an app and two varieties of ebook, as well as in old-fashioned hardback.
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60Richard DawkinsAuthorAuthorDawkins has gone relatively quiet since his stint as Oxford’s professor for the public understanding of science – or the public abuse of faith, his critics would say – ended in 2008. But before then the biologist had pulled off the remarkable feat of producing seminal books in two genres: first The Selfish Gene in 1976 set him up as a scientific commentator, and then, 30 years later, The God Delusion (one of the few recent non-fiction titles to sell in large quantities) made him atheism’s leading standard-bearer.
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61Stephenie MeyerAuthorAuthorIf Stephenie Meyer’s feelings were hurt by the news that her books come fourth in the list of those most frequently donated to Oxfam, then she might console herself with the fact that she’s also the shop’s fourth-bestselling author. Or, indeed, that her Twilight books earned her $21m in the annual period to April 2011. In fact, the vampire romance queen’s sales have declined – largely because the Twilight Saga has been completed – but it’s all relative: Meyer can still take the credit for establishing herself as the apparently invincible leader of the global young adult market.
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62Deborah TreismanFiction editor, New YorkerLiterary critic or editorIn control of the New Yorker’s fiction output since 2003, Treisman and her team are choose the magazine’s weekly short story – one of the most coveted spots in magazine publishing. Her responsibilities as taste-maker also extend to projects such as last year’s list of the 20 best North American writers under 40; those who made the cut included Wells Tower, Nell Freudenberger, Joshua Ferris and Nicole Krauss. Treisman has also garnered praise for her New Yorker podcasts, in which writers read and discuss favourite stories – recent editions featured Salman Rushdie on Donald Barthelme and Anne Enright on John Cheever.
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63Stephanie DuncanDigital media director, BloomsburyPublishing“The fact is,” commented Stephanie Duncan when the Bloomsbury Reader project was announced, “digital gives you a way to bring books back to life.” The publisher’s digital mastermind will kick off this autumn by focusing on 500 books that are no longer available, including titles by Alan Clark, Rose Macaulay, VS Pritchett and Ivy Compton-Burnett. Offering readers the chance to purchase ebooks as part of a print-on-demand package, Duncan promises affordable prices and high-spec editions, hoping to capitalise on reader demand for those little curiosities and out-of-the-way backlists.
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64Dan BrownAuthorAuthorAll you really need to know about Dan Brown is that, according to one rich list published earlier this year, he’s earned $400m during the course of his writing career. Yep: $400m. And that it’s almost obligatory to invoke him whenever you want to describe a situation involving a thicket of conspiracies or an implausibly convoluted sequence of events; it was even difficult to find a write-up of this year’s Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition at London’s National Gallery that didn’t feel it had to mention him. All that remains is for him to knock John Grisham – $600m – off that top slot.
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65Lennie GoodingsPublisher, Virago PressPublishingGoodings has gone through plenty of adjustments during her decades-long connection with Virago; in her time, the press has been an independent, changed hands and gone through a management buyout. Owned by Little, Brown since 1996, its survival is down in part of Goodings’s steady leadership and her ability to combine literary discernment with commercial acumen. Inspiring great loyalty in her authors – Sarah Waters, Linda Grant, Natasha Walters and Susie Boyt among them – she also displays a sure touch with a rich backlist, overseeing initiatives such as deluxe editions of Virago Modern Classics.
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66Tariq AliAuthor, commentatorAuthorA striking-looking magnet for TV cameras during 60s protests (such as the anti-Vietnam demo in London’s Grosvenor Square in 1968), Ali has been a prominent leftwing voice ever since, focusing in recent years on neoliberalism, Islam, America’s wars, Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East. Long associated with New Left Review and its publishing spin-off Verso Books (which published his latest book, The Obama Syndrome), he also writes and blogs regularly for publications including the London Review of Books and the Guardian.
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67Robert SilversEditor, New York Review of BooksLiterary critic or editorSilvers is the man the greatest writers want to write for, on the basis that he will treat their ideas and their sentences as seriously as if they were his own. Since the NYRB was founded in 1963 during a publishing strike, Silvers has been in control, co-editing with Barbara Epstein until her death in 2006. Early contributors included William Styron, Robert Lowell and WH Auden; a recent issue of the fortnightly magazine featured JM Coetzee on Les Murray, Colin Thubron on Patrick Leigh Fermor, a new translation of Kafka and pieces by Claire Tomalin and Robert Gottlieb.
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68Andrew MotionPoetPoetIn the two years since he handed the laureateship to Carol Ann Duffy, Motion – who held the post for a decade – has hardly been idle. Earlier this year, his first play, a drama about the impact of the Afghan War, premiered; he also found temporary employment as one of the teachers on the TV show Jamie’s Dream School. Now he’s getting on with an altogether different project as he steps into Robert Louis Stevenson’s shoes. Return to Treasure Island, Motion’s sequel to Stevenson’s classic, is due to be published in spring of next year.
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69Sarah WatersAuthorAuthorWhen the BBC adaptation of The Night Watch, Waters’s fourth novel, was screened in July, one of the biggest complaints was that at 90 minutes it was too short. This was both a predictable and accurate response, but it also said something about how much Waters’s fans are wedded to her intricate plotting and careful elaboration. As happy in the 1860s London of Fingersmith as the postwar countryside of The Little Stranger, Waters is now working on a novel set in the 1920s; a new development, she recently told Guardian readers, is that she doesn’t know whether it’s going to have a tragic or an upbeat ending.
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70Christopher MacLehosePublisher, QuercusPublishingHaving been the publisher of Harvill for 21 years, with authors ranging from Raymond Carver and Richard Ford to Haruki Murakami and WG Sebald, ­MacLehose joined Quercus in 2006, only a couple of years after its launch. Dedicated to literature in translation and crime fiction, with a handful of English-language originals, the Mac­Lehose Press has pulled off one particularly juicy coup, becoming Stieg Larsson’s British publisher. Other notable writers on the books are Umberto Eco, Cees Nooteboom, Roberto Saviano and Elias Khoury. With credentials like that, it’s no wonder MacLehose was awarded a CBE.
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71Hilary MantelAuthorAuthorWhen Wolf Hall won the Booker prize in 2009, Mantel became the kind of overnight publishing sensation that has been many years in the making. Her previous novels demonstrated an enormous range, from the Saudi Arabia depicted in Eight Months on Ghazzah Street to the devilish medium she charted in Beyond Black. In Wolf Hall, she created a vast fictional canvas that revived historical figures but made them seem utterly recognisable. She also became the first favourite to win the Booker who actually did. She is currently working on Wolf Hall’s sequel, The ­Mirror and the Light.
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72Jeremy HuntCulture secretaryPoliticianThe boyish culture secretary is no philistine, made his fortune in publishing (though of directories), and largely leaves cultural stuff to his amiable junior minister Ed Vaizey, an art critic’s son. But their combined charm doesn’t disguise the effects of coalition policy, with organisations wiped out due to Arts Council cuts and libraries closed due to pressure on council spending.
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73Ahdaf SoueifAuthor, Palfest founderAuthorEducated in both Egypt and Britain, Soueif made her breakthrough as a novelist with The Map of Love in 1999, which was shortlisted for the Booker prize and translated into several languages. Also a translator (notably of Mourid Barghouti’s I Saw Ramallah), she has been more visible in recent years – particularly during the Arab spring – as a commentator. In 2008 she was the founding chair of PalFest, an annual Palestinian festival of literature.
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74John le CarréAuthorAuthorOnce invisible, the former spy has now come out of the cold, and actually cameos in the Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy film. This perhaps reflects a belated acceptance that he’s one of Britain’s literary greats, not just a spinner of yarns – a recognition advanced by his increasing readiness to address political issues (in both public debate and fiction), and by the evidence of his influence in works by writers such as William Boyd and David Hare.
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75Ravi MirchandaniPublishing director, Atlantic BooksPublishingPreviously at Heinemann, where being part of the corporate machinery of Random House didn’t suit him, Mirchandani has sealed a reputation for talent-spotting – vying with the likes of Simon Prosser and Jamie Byng to be the best of the younger generation of editors – since joining Toby Mundy’s indy. Aravind Adiga’s unexpected Booker prize triumph with Atlantic’s The White Tiger was his equivalent of a tennis grand slam win.
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76Nick BarleyDirector, Edinburgh international book festivalLiterary festivalsIn December 2010, you decide the theme of the 2011 festival will be “Revolutions”. The next month, the Arab spring begins, and come August a revolution actually takes place (in Libya) during the three-week festival. Chapeau, Mr Barley. Otherwise, his programming of “the world’s biggest books festival” deftly balanced the political strand with literary and children’s events, the internationalism its title commits him to with preserving a sense of Scottishness.
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77Nicholas PearsonPublishing director, Fourth EstatePublishingOne challenge for the head of HarperCollins’s liveliest division is running an imprint your boss used to run, ensuring a special scrutiny (Fourth Estate was founded as an indy by Victoria Barnsley); another is keeping it quick on its toes, though it’s now part of a giant company. Undaunted, Pearson has good years and bad years, the former when publishing Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections and winning the Booker with Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
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78Amanda RossTV producerBroadcastingRoss is less of a force than she was as queen of Richard & Judy’s book club. Back then getting into the selections guaranteed a phenomenal sales boost, and so publishers pitched titles to her as if their entire year depended on the outcome (it probably did) and gave her VIP status at parties. Celebrities chat on a sofa in her new TV book club, which doesn’t give sales the old turbo-thrust but still has an impact.
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79Mary Kay WilmersEditor, London Review of BooksLiterary critic or editorWilmers succeeded Karl Miller at the fortnightly title in 1992, and also subsidises it via a family trust. Though claiming to “just look after the commas”, over almost two decades she’s drawn on donnish journalists and journalistic dons to adroitly orchestrate a mixture of weighty reviews, current affairs and fun, the latter often supplied by Alan Bennett. Unlike her Times Literary Supplement and Granta counterparts, she shuns the public sphere (which adds to her mystique), surfacing only briefly in 2009 when she published her first book.
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80Daisy GoodwinAuthor, TV producer and presenterBroadcastingGoodwin has always been involved in promoting books and reading since her days at the BBC, but how she goes about it has shifted from year to year. First there were brilliant TV films about authors and the magazine show The Bookworm; then successful poetry anthologies and accompanying programmes she presented; more recently a mix of poem of the week selections, book reviews, writing fiction herself and TV contests celebrating public verse reading.
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81Neil GaimanAuthorAuthorIn a publishing landscape where it’s essential to be adaptable, Neil Gaiman has a headstart in that he relishes the challenge of writing for all ages and across a variety of media and genres (he even wrote a much-lauded episode of Doctor Who, which was shown this May). Now his devoted fans can look forward to American Gods hitting the small screen, courtesy of HBO. Given that a 10th anniversary edition of the book was published this year with 12,000 words of extra text, Gaiman’s unlikely to run short of material when he sits down to write the adaptation.
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82Sam HusainCEO, FoylesBooksellingJust as most bricks-and-mortar booksellers seem ready to retrench in the face of digital and online expansion, Foyles is getting the builders in: at its famous flagship store in London’s Charing Cross Road, which will move a few doors down into a larger space, and at the soon-to-open Westfield shopping centre in Stratford City, next door to the Olympic site. CEO Sam Husain, the accountant who took over in 2007, has led the six-strong chain back to profitability by resisting heavy discounting and trumpeting the virtues of a knowledgeable and passionate staff – music to book lovers’ ears.
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83Antonia ByattDirector of literature, Arts Council EnglandOtherAs director of literature, Byatt had to weather a difficult period in March when the winners and losers of Arts Council England’s latest funding round – its decisions made in the shadow of a government cut of £118m – were announced. Uproar at moves such as the total withdrawal of funding to the Poetry Book Society threatened to drown out Byatt’s insistence that investment in literature was actually increasing by 9.9% in real terms. But despite acute disagreement about individual organisations, many felt that ACE had shown transparency and fairness in grim circumstances.
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84Colm TóibínAuthor and publisherAuthorIt’s a new term for Tóibín, who is taking over from Martin Amis as professor of creative writing at Manchester University – not an easy act to follow, since Amis was credited with a vast surge in course applications. As well as working with postgraduates and taking part in public events, Tóibín will also teach a new course entitled Arts for Writers, bringing composers and artists into the classroom. Alongside Tuskar Rock, the publishing enterprise he started with literary agent Peter Straus, and, of course, his novels, short stories and journalism, Tóibín is set to be a very busy man.
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85Alan BennettAuthorAuthorBennett has moaned about inspiration drying up, but there’s been no halt to a flow of plays, memoirs and fiction, recently represented respectively by the National Theatre’s The Habit of Art, A Life Like Other People’s and Smut: Two Unseemly Stories. An increasingly provocative national treasure, he has tended to confine interventions on public issues to individual stances (like rejecting an honorary Oxford degree because Rupert Murdoch funds a chair there), digs at government philistinism or pennypinching in his diaries, or plays’ subtexts. But in May he appeared in support of libraries, calling closing them “child abuse”.
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86Peter StothardEditor, Times Literary SupplementLiterary critic or editorStothard had edited the Times for a decade when he switched to the TLS, also Murdoch-owned, in 2003. While not shifting the furniture around dramatically, he’s brought a newspaper man’s eye to the donnish weekly, making it less musty, livening up the covers, and successfully running Mary Beard’s blog on the website. Eyebrows were raised, however (and an all-star protest letter printed), when it recently emerged that his respected fiction editor Lindsay Duguid was to leave.
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87Peter StrausLiterary agent and publisherLiterary agentFew publishing professionals embody a love of literature so obviously as literary agent Straus. Formerly publisher of Picador and editor in chief at Macmillan, Straus joined agency Rogers, Coleridge & White in 2002, ­becoming its managing director in 2006. An avid book collector, Straus is also described as the Booker prize’s “honorary archivist”, and last year masterminded its Lost Man Booker prize, won by JG Farrell’s The Troubles. He also set up the publishing enterprise Tuskar Rock with Colm Tóibín
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88Andrew DaviesAuthor and screenwriterAuthorThe ripped shirts and alabaster embonpoints of Pride and Prejudice may be longer ago than we care to remember, but Davies remains the adapter’s adapter, this year bringing Anna Maxwell Martin to our screens in his version of Winifred Holtby’s South Riding. Big-canvas costume drama may be under threat from dwindling budgets and reality television, but you’d back old hand Davies to come out on top.
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89Tom HollandAuthor, and chair of the Society of AuthorsAuthorAs chair of the Society of Authors, the author of Rubicon, Millennium and the forthcoming The Shadow of the Sword, has plenty on. The society is active in the field of e-rights, and Holland has been vocal in urging writers to stake their claim to higher ebook royalties than publishers might wish to give them. It is also fighting the BBC’s plans to reduce coverage of short stories on Radio 4. And it is currently hosting a short story “tweetathon”, in which writers such as Sarah Waters and Ian Rankin will collaborate with tweeters to produce a short story in 670 words.
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90Caroline MichelLiterary agentLiterary agentIt’s been a turbulent few years for publisher-turned-agent Michel. When she took over as chief executive at agency PFD in 2007, she was faced with the defection of a group of senior agents to form rival company United Agents, complete with backlist battles. Last year, PFD merged with MF Management, run by Matthew Freud and Michael Foster, with Michel and Foster established as co-chief execs of the newly created The Rights House, but a number of PFD agents quit the company. The Rights House’s new partnership with Bloomsbury in a digital publishing venture might, however, signal a change in fortune.
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91Simon SchamaHistorian, broadcasterBroadcastingFor someone whose day job is as a professor in New York, Schama manages to find plenty of opportunities to pop up over here, whether it’s making series for the BBC (recently on painting and American history, but previously an ambitious chronicle of Britain), writing on food for a glossy or culture for the FT, or as an entertaining star turn at festivals – this year at Hay, he could be seen dad-dancing on stage in his session.
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92Jonathan HeawoodDirector, English PENOtherFormerly at the Observer and the Fabian Society, Heawood joined the English arm of the organisation that works for freedom of expression and persecuted writers in 2005. Since then he’s made it more talked-about, via campaigns, the newish PEN/Pinter prize (won by Tony Harrison, Hanif Kureishi and David Hare), discussions and other events, and the annual fundraising quiz.
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93Anthea BellTranslatorOtherBell is best-known as a translator of children’s fiction or comic books, including the Asterix books from French, Cornelia Funke’s Inkworld trilogy from German, and Hans Christian Andersen stories from Danish. But her range ­extends to adult writing, such as works by Stefan Zweig and WE Sebald’s books, including Austerlitz. She regularly wins awards, picking up the Oxford-Weidenfeld translation prize in 2009 for translating Sasa Stanisic’s How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone.
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94Hisham MaterAuthor, commentatorAuthorMatar’s Libyan family had to flee to Cairo when his dissident father was denounced by the regime; but when Matar was studying in London in 1990, his father was kidnapped and apparently jailed in Libya. These events are the basis of Matar’s second novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance; his first, In the Country of Men, was Booker-shortlisted. His insight into events in his homeland made him the most reliable of commentators during the uprising and Gaddafi’s downfall.
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95Tanya SeghatchianFilm producer and former head of Film Fund, BFIOtherSeghatchian was involved with the Harry Potter franchise before joining the British Film Council; when the BFC was abolished, BFI head Amanda Nevill recruited her in a similar role. The book world will be hoping adaptations head her agenda; besides Harry, she’s worked on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, and the BFC funded We Need to Talk About Kevin on its deathbed. Long titles would seem to be essential.
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96Alan MooreGraphic novelistAuthorThe godfather of the British graphic novel emerged from the 1970s underground scene and over the following decades shuttled between uneasy collaboration with US comics empires and vehement independence and solo projects. Credited with paving the way for Neil Gaiman and other younger writers, he’s also had his reputation burnished by film studios’ recent enthusiasm for adapting his works such as Watchmen and V for Vendetta. But is he up there with the giants of picture-less fiction? That’s what many think.
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97Antony BeevorMilitary historianAuthorFirst a soldier, then a novelist, Beevor found his metier at last in 1998 with Stalingrad, the first winner of the Samuel Johnson prize. His books are unusual in being serious non-fiction that jostles cookery titles and celebrity memoirs in bestseller lists, as he showed again with Berlin – The Downfall 1945 in 2002; and he was effective when he lobbied for fellow-authors in a stint as chairman of the Society of Authors.
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98Ted SmartFounder, the Book PeopleBooksellingNow in his 60s, Smart founded discount bookseller The Book People in 1988. It picks books that will sell, including children’s books, cuts deals with publishers, and – as in the old Tesco slogan – piles ’em high and sells ’em cheap. The company was hit by the recession, but in its last results things seemed to have stabilised. And Smart, as seen by his place in the Sunday Times Rich List, has done well out of a simple idea.
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99Amanda HockingSelf-published authorAuthorWhen her vampire and zombie stories for teens were rejected by traditional publishers, Hocking – who is in her mid-20s and lives in Minnesota – turned in 2010 to publishing them herself and selling online; other authors’ eyes popped when it emerged that she had made $2m in sales in her first year. Duly established as self-publishing’s poster girl, she made a lucrative deal in March for a conventionally published new series.
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BOOK POWER 100
BY JOB CATEGORY