Danuta Kean

Journalist. Commentator. Expert.

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How to write a bestseller

Imagine you’re a bestselling author. How do you see yourself? A chick-lit star, posing for Hello! with celebrity friends at your glamorous book launch? Propping up the bar in Soho House, an ageing lit-lad making ironic observations to the arm-candy at your side? Whatever the fantasy, it is doubtful it involves days spent developing repetitive-strain industry in a book warehouse as you sign 1,000 books an hour, or weeks schlepping round the provincial bookshops of Britain meeting booksellers more interested in the famous footballer scheduled for a signing after you.

Ewan McGregor: Zen and the art of motorcycling

The hardest thing faced by Hollywood actor Ewan McGregor about his forthcoming road trip with best buddie and fellow actor Charley Boorman, will be getting off his BMW motorbike and taking a cup of tea. But it is vital they do, says Boorman, not least because the trip will make very dull reading otherwise.

Ian Chapman: Stepping out of the shadows

The new m.d. of Simon & Schuster UK has had his own realignments to make over the years, but under his management the company is aiming to become a publisher of the first order. Danuta Kean talks to Ian S Chapman

Stepping out of the shadows

Ian Chapman, newly installed m.d of Simon & Schuster, talks to Danuta Kean about emerging from the shadow of his publishers parents and taking the top job at S&S.

The new m.d. of Simon & Schuster UK has had his own realignments to make over the years, but under his management the company is aiming to become a publisher of the first order. Danuta Kean talks to Ian S Chapman

Ian S Chapman, managing director of Simon & Schuster UK, looks pensive in the “headmaster’s study”, as the oak panelled room that doubles as his office in S&S UK’s headquarters is known. He is considering how much he should reveal of himself in this interview. It is an awkward calculation in a business where image has come to mean as much as content.

Michael Heseltine: A political jungle book

Michael Heseltine is hunched up on a sofa in the sunlit drawing room of his Belgravia house. He looks uncomfortable. “You’ll read that in the book. It’s all in the book,” he says for the fourth time, and runs his long fingers through his grey locks. His eyes are a frozen blue. He is wary of letting slip anything that could affect the serialisation of his forthcoming autobiography,

Michael Heseltine: A political jungle book

“The trees that were dying, that I took down, were planted in Georgian England. The trees I am planting now will survive for two more centuries. So there is a 400-year span of English history. It puts politics into perspective.” Michael Heseltine

Sir David Attenborough: The Natural Communicator

Geographical
Sir David Attenborough sits forward in his clubbish leather chair, sticks his bottom out and pulls his elbows up by his side, and does a more than passable impression of the dance to the “Birdie Song”. Except that the soundtrack to this exotic display is his explanation of the mating habits of the female dunnock-a bird of shameless sexual behaviour.

Joanna Lumley: Bhutan

Geographical
While growing up, Joanna Lumley was haunted by the flickering images of her maternal grandparents trekking through the mountains of Bhutan to present the King with the insignia of Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the Indian Empire. Contained on decaying 65-year-old film reels, these images gave meaning to the beautiful Bhutanese objects – embroidered costumes, inlaid boxes, exotic Buddhas – scattered around her grandparents’ home, and brought to life contemporary accounts of the journey.

Michael Palin: Life of Michael

Geographical
Michael Palin may have succeeded in getting around the world in 80 days, travelling from pole to pole and, most recently, circumnavigating the Pacific Rim anticlockwise, but getting to an interview in Soho has almost defeated him.

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