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Four Colman Getty November Newsletter: 40 football pitches, almost 61 jumbo jets, or 80,000 jelly babies laid end-to-end…

November got off to a great start for us at Four Colman Getty with the awards ceremony and dinner to announce the winner of the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. This year is the 15th year of the award and the anniversary has seen a step-change in the profile of the prize.   We had an outstanding panel of high profile and prestigious judges, chaired by Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal; classicist, Mary Beard; Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti; historian, Peter Hennessy; and writer and non-fiction reviewer, James McConnachie. The awards dinner, for 180 guests in London’s magnificent RIBA dining hall was a memorable evening. We saw a brief video of each of the shortlisted writers, David Crane, William Dalrymple, Dave Goulson, Charlotte Higgins, Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Charles Moore in turn before the judges described their book. They were all so persuasive that I wanted each one to win – the judges had certainly set themselves a difficult task. After a tense half hour Martin Rees announced that Lucy Hughes-Hallett's had won for her book, The Pike, about "poet, seducer and preacher of war" Gabriele D'Annunzio. Following her charming acceptance speech she was whisked off for an evening of interviews – and I’m delighted to see that it was announced yesterday that The Pike has now been shortlisted for the biography section of the 2013 Costa Awards. The Samuel Johnson Prize is supported anonymously by a very generous benefactor who wishes her identity to remain unknown. It’s heart-warming in the current climate when the Arts is struggling for funding, to come across such generosity. And talking of generosity, William Dalyrymple more than sweetly chose The Pike and Charlotte Higgins’ Under Another Sky as his Christmas tree presents in The Observer last Sunday. As if that weren’t enough excitement for one week, the following morning saw Lisa, our Events Manager and me on a plane to New York along with a group of trustees and friends of the Booker Prize Foundation. We were on our way to celebrate the Bookermania exhibition at the city's Morgan Library.  The exhibition was well timed, coming as it did at the time of the announcement of the expansion of the Man Booker Prize to include writers from all over the world - so long as they are published in the UK. So we grasped the opportunity – and had a party! It can be quite a challenge to throw a successful party in a new venue in a foreign city – particularly a city like New York where are so many competing happenings – so we were thrilled at how well it went.  The US publishing and media worlds turned out in fine fashion and guests included Salman Rushdie, winner of the 1981 Booker Prize, Eleanor Catton, this year's winner and Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame who was a judge in 2012. Salman entertained our guests with a brilliant 20 minute ‘in conversation’ with writer and editor, Bill Buford.  Bill and Salman are old friends and they treated the guests to an affectionate and humourous exchange about Midnight’s Children with Salman recalling how narrowly he had missed being published at all, thanks to a very negative reader’s report.  Salman ended the conversation with the following words. ‘I think it's a really great thing that finally we've got a prize that is an English-language prize that doesn't make a distinction for writers who are writing from a particular country.’ I was delighted to be invited to a Gala dinner which ITV hosted at BAFTA this month to celebrate David Suchet’s final appearance as the Hercule Poirot in Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, after 25 years in the role. With 6.4million viewers tuning in to ITV and tributes pouring in on twitter and through Agatha Christie.com, this was a clear reminder of the enduring appeal of the Belgian detective. The was hosted by ITV at Bafta 195 Piccadilly – a truly uplifting night for all those involved in the making of the drama over the years, including co-stars Hugh Fraser and Pauline Moran. But Poirot fans need not mourn for long. There is much to look forward to in 2014 as the next chapter begins with the publication of a new Poirot novel by the crime writer Sophie Hannah. Another star-studded event with an international appeal was last Sunday’s West End premiere of The Day of the Flowers. This is the acting debut of the 'Cuban Billy Elliott', Carlos Acosta, and the premiere was staged to promote his new charity, Carlos Acosta International Dance Foundation. Carlos has had a busy few months, with his first novel also published by Bloomsbury a fortnight ago. The Foundation will provide opportunities for young people in deprived communities around the world to explore and develop their dance talents, and to learn from Carlos Acosta himself in Cuba. One of the Foundation’s first objectives is to restore and convert architect Vittorio Garatti’s School of Ballet in Havana which was originally commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in 1961. Four Colman Getty is one of the key sponsors of the annual PEN Quiz, the infamously fiendish fundraising fact fest, which was held this month at RIBA. The quiz raises money for English PEN, which campaigns for the rights of writers around the world, promoting literature and defending freedom of expression often in the face of hostile and oppressive regimes. The PEN Quiz is a highly sought-after ticket with tables representing the major broadsheets, periodicals, publishing houses, authors, agents and human rights lawyers competing to take home the coveted trophy. Team 'Mustard & Money' comprised a few Four Colman Getty-ites alongside a range of quick-witted clients, friends and associates including Charlie Higson, QI writer and Unbound co-founder Justin Pollard and BBCR4 'Inside Science' presenter Dr Adam Rutherford. After an outstanding first round, we remained high on the scoreboard throughout the evening and at the end of the last round we came joint fourth place with the Times. The Press Complaints Commission came in last (25th) arousing predictable schadenfreude from the hacks in the room. How would you have done on the night? Can you for example answer this brainteaser; -           Which American film star was rescued from the battle fields of WWI and died in the arms of Jean Harlow in 1932? * Our campaigning team have been hard at work too. They’ve been working with the Kennedy Memorial Trust to mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. A highlight of the project was a lecture by the Rt Hon David Miliband now President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee at the British Library on "America, Britain & Europe: Lessons from JFK". Such a number of journalists from the political world were there that David included a remark in his speech about how many media were there ‘More my mentors than tormentors’. The full text of his speech is on the New Statesman's website Amy’s campaigning team has also for the second year running been working on Parliament Week, a series of events and activities in November aiming to help people feel more connected with Parliament and democracy. The week always attracts a lot of coverage all around the country - over 130 pieces of regional coverage (and counting). This year we also organised a one off event in partnership with the Daily Telegraph Wonder Women, single-handedly rounding up a debating panel which included Yvette Cooper MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP and ITV London's Lucy Manning. We’ve been breaking a few records this month. Firstly we worked with Macmillan Children's Books who wanted to break the Guinness World Record for the longest chain of paper dolls. The attempt was timed to coincide with the publication of The Paper Dolls - the latest book from best-selling children's author, Julia Donaldson. The book’s illustrator, Rebecca Cobb, had designed a template that was sent to children all round the world via their schools and local book shops to encourage them to colour in the dolls and return them. Tens of thousands of dolls were submitted to the publisher over the summer with one teacher from Argentina hand-delivering dolls from her class to the publisher's office in London!  The record attempt itself began as volunteers faced the daunting task of laying 45,282 paper dolls in a chain. Within six hours an official Guinness World Records adjudicator and two independent witnesses, one of whom was a qualified chartered surveyor, confirmed that a chain measuring 4549.7m had been achieved, smashing the previous record of 2683.21m. This is the equivalent of 40 football pitches, almost 61 jumbo jets, or 80,000 jelly babies laid end-to-end!   We broke another record with the speed with which we sprang into action when HarperCollins called with a last minute job for their latest global publishing sensation.  Veronica Roth has, at the age of just 25, sold more than 5 million copies worldwide of her dystopian young adult series Divergent, the latest of which, Allegiant, sold more than half a million copies globally in its first day alone. It is the latest phenomenon in the lucrative YA market, coming hot on the heels of megabuck franchises including Stephenie Meyer's Twilight and Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games. The series is currently being made into a major film series starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet, due for UK release in April 2014. With the final book in the series now published and a film on the horizon, Veronica came to the UK to meet some of her fans, and the UK media, for the first time.  We hit the phones and secured blanket coverage. Result = happy author and happy publisher. Julie Brook is a fascinating land artist who is based on the Isle of Skye and we first worked with her earlier this year on her film-based show at The Wapping Project. We have now installed an exhibition of her work in our office in London Bridge, Made, Unmade so do pop in and see it if you’re passing by. We are working with The Lowry in Salford who commissioned a major piece of research into their economic and cultural impact. The report, Beyond the Arts, was launched on November 27 with an authored piece in Guardian Society by their Chair Sir Rod Aldridge, looking at the crucial role that arts organisations can play in both the economic and cultural regeneration of an area. This is a brilliant example of cultural placemaking at its most effective, but while the report shows how The Lowry has spurred the physical regeneration of Salford, the arts venue's greatest impact has been on the community, and especially on its young people. Finally a bit of domestic news for those of you who know our much-loved Account Director, Lucy Chavasse.  She had a baby boy two weeks ago weighing in at 8lb and coming into the world with a curious mop of black hair. No name as yet but we’ll keep you posted. There will be no newsletter next month since, I hope, we will all be relaxing and enjoying the festive season.  May I wish you a very happy holiday and a healthy and wealthy start to 2014. More from us in January! All the best Dotti   *the answer is RinTinTin!

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