News: March 2008 Archives

Book deal for Massachusetts governor

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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, his state’s first black governor and a close ally of presidential candidate Barack Obama, is writing a memoir that will be published by Broadway Books in 2010.

Gov. Deval Patrick

The deal is worth $1.35 million and nine publishers competed for the book, currently untitled, according to agent Todd Shuster of the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency. Patrick will donate some of his royalties to A Better Chance, a nonprofit educational organization that helped Patrick attend the Milton Academy, south of Boston.

‘‘Drawing upon his extraordinary journey from Chicago’s Wabash Avenue to the Massachusetts State House on Boston’s fabled Beacon Hill, Gov. Patrick will offer in his book a series of lessons and insights on life and leadership,’’ according to a statement released Friday by Broadway Books, an imprint of Random House, Inc.

‘‘Among the subjects he will address are self-truth, grace, faith, courage, and compassion, as well as the importance of forgiveness, and embracing optimism and hope to make good outcomes possible.’’

Obama, a black Illinois senator who wrote Dreams From My Father and Audacity of Hope, is similar to Patrick in several ways: Both are Democrats who graduated from Harvard Law School, have Chicago ties and ended up seeking elective office on the strength of their backgrounds.

Patrick, 51, was out of state last week when his casino gambling plan, a cornerstone of his economic program, went down to defeat, leading to speculations about his whereabouts: He was in New York, shopping his book.

Patrick briefly became an issue in the presidential campaign when it was discovered that Obama had been using some of his lines, saying that while words matter, actions mean more, leading Obama’s rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, to call him the candidate of ‘‘change you can Xerox.’’

Patrick, one of Obama’s strongest supporters, dismissed the charges as ‘‘sort of a tempest in a teapot.’’


Monica Seles: First I dance, then I write

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Former tennis champ Monica Seles — who can currently be seen dancing with the stars Monday and Tuesday nights on ABC-Channel 7 — is working on a memoir, to be published in 2009. She hopes ‘‘to share how I found balance, strength and happiness in my life after a rollercoaster ride of exhilarating accomplishment and sometimes overwhelming tragedy,’’ she said in a statement Wednesday.

Seles, 34, was the top-ranked women’s player for three years in the early 1990s. In 1993 she suffered a setback when a man attending a tournament in Hamburg, Germany, climbed out of the stands and stabbed her in the back. She came back two years later to reach the U.S. Open finals and in 1996 won the Australian Open. She officially retired last month.

TV Dancing with the Stars
Monica Seles with her
"Dancing With the Stars"
partner Jonathan Roberts.

(AP photo)


A gossipy book by two ex-concierges at Chicago’s luxurious Four Seasons Hotel has been pulled by Three Rivers Press because the authors were legally banned from writing about their experiences.

‘‘Despite previous and repeated inquiries made by Three Rivers Press, we recently learned that Abigail Hart and Nancy Callahan did not disclose that they had signed confidentiality agreements with their former employer, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts,’’ publicist Katie Wainwright told The Associated
Press on Thursday.

The book, Great Reservations: Two Concierges Dish About Outrageous Requests, Celebrity Encounters, and Guests Behaving Badly at a Luxury Hotel, had been scheduled for a June release. It featured anecdotes on such celebrities as Madonna (who had a ‘‘phobialike aversion’’ to air conditioning) and Sir Anthony Hopkins (who asked that he simply be called ‘‘Tony’’).

Although advance copies had been sent to the media, the book had not yet been shipped to stores and a print run had not been determined, Wainwright said.

Three Rivers Press is an imprint of Random House, Inc., which is owned by Bertelsmann AG.


Note: Here's what the book would have looked like had it made it to store shelves:

Great Reservations

Literary Idol

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Chicago author Dwight Okita is one of 10 finalists in an "American Idol"-type competition for the literary set — and you can help him win by voting online. Okita's book, Prospect of My Arrival, is a science fiction story set in Chicago in the near future: 2025.

Dwight Okita

There were nearly 5,000 submissions for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, which is sponsored by, Penguin Group (USA) and HP.

Voters can download, read, rate and/or review excerpts of all the finalists' work by logging on to Voting ends March 31 and the winner will be unveiled in New York on April 7. The finalist with the most votes wins a publishing contract worth $25,000.

Check out Okita's Web site for more information about the author and the contest.

Jim Dale to participate in short story tribute

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NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Dale, the Grammy Award-winning reader of the Harry Potter audiobooks, will be among the performers participating in a celebration of Hemingway, Chekhov and other short story masters.

‘‘Short-Short Stories From Around the World’’ will be held the afternoon of March 28 at Saint Peter’s Church in midtown Manhattan and will feature readings by Dale and actors Brian F. O’Byrne, Tammy Grimes and Frances Sternhagen.

The free event is sponsored by TIPA (Toward International Peace through the Arts), a nonprofit organization.

Editor's note: Dale is the voice behind the American version of the Harry Potter books. Stephen Fry reads the British version of the series.

Jim Dale
Harry Potter book reader Jim Dale
will turn his attention to the classics
this month.
(Akira Ono~AP)


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — A message on a postcard from Ernest Hemingway to his father foreshadows the life-changing experiences that would become the foundation for one of the author’s most beloved stories, A Farewell to Arms.

The words on the postcard, dated June 9, 1918, are simple, yet ominous. Hemingway would be shot a month later while serving as an ambulance driver during World War I in Italy. ‘‘Everything lovely. We go to the front tomorrow,’’ he wrote. ‘‘We’ve been treated like kings.’’

The handwritten postcard is part of a collection of 100 telegrams, letters and other correspondence from Hemingway acquired by the Penn State University Libraries from the author’s nephew, Ernest Hemingway Mainland. Some of the material is on display at the university’s Paterno Library.

Hemingway Letters
William Joyce (left), special collections library head, and Sandra Spanier,
general editor, Hemingway letters project, look over a rare Hemingway
book In Our Time, a collection of 18 vignettes published in 1924,
at the Paterno Library at Penn State University in State College, Pa. (Pat Little~AP)

The items represent the last known sizable collection of Hemingway letters still in private hands, said William Joyce, head of the Special Collections Library. Neither the university nor Mainland disclosed terms of the acquisition.

Besides Italy, the dispatches originate from, or prominently mention, other places familiar to Hemingway buffs, such as Pamplona, Spain, which figures in The Sun Also Rises, and Key West, Fla., where Hemingway lived in the 1930s.

One postcard with a picture of the cathedral of Milan, Italy, was addressed to ‘‘Dr. C.E. Hemingway’’ — Hemingway’s father, Clarence Hemingway. A month later, the writer suffered more than 200 wounds to his legs from mortar shrapnel while attending to Italian soldiers in trenches. Hemingway recovered at a hospital in Milan, where he fell in love with a nurse.

‘‘To see the postcard he sent home, just pinning down the day he goes to the front is very exciting,’’ Penn State English professor Sandra Spanier said with a smile. ‘‘This is the material that got transformed into A Farewell to Arms.’’

Laura Bush: To think, we must read

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NEW YORK — In brief remarks Wednesday to publishing executives, first lady Laura Bush called books her ‘‘greatest love affair’’ and warned that a ‘‘nation that does not read for itself cannot think for itself.’’

Bush, a former librarian whose advocacy of books and literacy have long made her popular in the publishing industry, cited such fictional characters as the Brothers Karamazov and "an intriguing man named Gatsby" and worried that many Americans had never heard of them.

Books Laura Bush
First lady Laura Bush speaks
at the Association of American
Publishers annual meeting on
(Seth Wenig~AP)

"A nation that does not read for itself cannot think for itself and a nation that cannot think for itself risks losing both its identity and its freedom," said Bush, who called the passion for reading "learned behavior that should be taught at home and at schools."

Bush spoke at the annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers, held at the Yale Club in midtown Manhattan. The first lady and daughter Jenna Bush have co-authored a children’s book, Read All About It!. It will be published in April by HarperCollins.


O.J. book debacle stings Judith Regan again

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NEW YORK — Judith Regan, the publisher fired amid the controversy of releasing O.J. Simpson’s hypothetical confession If I Did It, was sued for legal fees Monday by the firm that prepared her lawsuit against HarperCollins LLC.

In court papers, Dreier LLP says Regan reneged on a retainer agreement she signed and then fired the law firm ‘‘in a transparent and calculated effort to avoid paying petitioners the agreed-upon fee.’’

After Dreier prepared and filed the lawsuit, court papers say, Regan hired Los Angeles lawyer Bertram Fields to negotiate a settlement with HarperCollins, which had fired her. The terms were not disclosed.

After the settlement was final, Regan fired Dreier and refused to pay the firm, court papers say.

The lawsuit names Fields as a defendant and accuses him of interference with the business relationship between Dreier and Regan.

Fields said he had not seen Dreier’s complaint but the claims were ‘‘utter hogwash’’ and had ‘‘absolutely no truth in them whatsoever.’’

‘‘I was called in to help settle the case, and I helped get it settled,’’ Fields said. ‘‘I did not replace them as litigation counsel. I had nothing to do with their being fired.’’

Regan’s current lawyer, Joseph Cotchett, did not return a telephone call seeking comment Monday.

Judith Regan
Judith Regan (AP file photo)

Regan, 54, sued HarperCollins (owned by News Corp.) in November for $100 million for defamation, claiming the publishing company’s employees falsely accused her of anti-Semitism. She said that was one of the company’s bogus excuses for firing her.

Regan, who worked for HarperCollins for 12 years and was known for provocative best-sellers such as Jose Canseco’s Juiced and Jenna Jameson’s How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, and the company settled in January with Fields as her lawyer.

Dreier’s lawsuit says Regan and the firm agreed in August 2007 that if she and HarperCollins settled before the company replied in court, Dreier would get $125,000 plus 20 percent of any amount she got over $6.5 million.

However, court papers say, the retainer agreement also stated that if Regan and the publisher settled after the defendants responded, then Dreier would get 25 percent of Regan’s recovery, plus reimbursement for costs of preparing the case.

Dreier agreed to give a second law firm, Redniss & Associates, an agreed-upon percentage of whatever Dreier earned in the case. Redniss is named with Dreier as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Regan, who never signed the August agreement, sent Dreier a check dated Jan. 30, 2008, for $125,000, ‘‘which Regan mischaracterized as legal fees paid in full,’’ court papers say. The firm returned Regan’s check, they say.


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