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Another great review for The Book of Wag from the Glasgow Herald

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

'Sprawling family tale of gangsters' – The Book of Wag by Paul Sidey

Review by Lesley McDowell

Paul Sidey, who died two years ago, was a longstanding editor of various London publishing houses, as well as a published poet for children. He worked with some of the most successful authors, many of whom have aided the publication of this novel by contributing to its funding.

Some may find…

The Book of Wag is published this week, and received its first review!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Dear Friends of Paul

You should all have received your copy of The Book of Wag by now, but the book will now be out in the general trade from 7 April.  I was delighted to see this lovely review in  the Daily Mail on Friday, from Harry Ritchie. XxMarianne


Paul's Failed Film Producer memoir - eighth and last piece

Friday, 5 June 2015

Dear Friends of Paul

As we are now positively speeding towards publication (I've just checked the list of contributors' names to go into the back of the book!) I thought this was the time to send out the last instalment of Paul's sort-of-memoir about his working life.  

Thanks to you all again for supporting this publication - it means a lot.



(Sir John Mills…

The Book of Wag progress report

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Dear Friends of Paul

Well we're heading towards publication slowly but the end of January, I believe. It is Sunday afternoon, and  I am sitting at the dining table reading through the page proofs, and find that even though I have gone through it so many times at manuscript stage, it still feels fresh:  I am still gripped, touched, surprised and amused by this novel that Paul put so…

Memoir of a Failed Film Producer no. 7:For the Friends of Paul, patiently waiting for the publication of The Book of Wag (January!) here is the seventh and penultimate instalment of his 'Failed Film Producer' memoir(7)

Friday, 5 June 2015

My long stint at Hutchinson was not devoted exclusively to books about theatre and cinema. But actors and performance have remained a preoccupation. Such courage is required, such feats of memory. And these talents often include instinctive skill with the written word and the ability to tell story, where every element comes alive. On the whole, I always steered clear of anything ghosted, and had…

Failed Film Producer Seeks Work (6)

Friday, 5 June 2015

From Marianne:  While the good folks at Unbound put the finishing touches to The Book of Wag, it is good to see more pledges coming in. Even though it is fully funded, it is possible to pledge and get your name in the back of the book as a supporter before the book goes to print at the end of the year - copies should be ready in Spring 2016. 

Here follows another extract from Paul's unreliable…

For the Friends of Paul, another instalment in his short memoir about his career:Failed Film Producer Seeks Work (5)

Friday, 5 June 2015

Not long after, the chance to publish another hero presented itself. It was the year I received the black spot from Penguin, 1980, but I managed first to publish a book of reviews by Francois Truffaut, called THE FILMS IN MY LIFE.

He also did a unique and absorbing interview at the NFT. But beforehand, I invited him to tea and cucumber sandwiches at the flat I shared with my sister in Cadogan Square…

Failed Film Producer Seeks Work (4)

Friday, 5 June 2015

I was all right there. For a year or so. I also learned two important lessons – as I always say: always keep in with Production and never hurry back from lunch.

But, if not a one-way ticket to Palookaville, the role of Editorial Programme Controller was not going to take me anywhere I wanted to be for a long period of time. Word slipped out that there might be vacancies for two junior editors at…

Failed Film Producer Seeks Work (3)

Friday, 5 June 2015

This includes Paul's classic account of his first day in publishing, on a very hot day in June, which will be familiar to all those who heard his speech at his retirement party a few years ago. But it bears retelling, doesn't it?  xMarianne



In 1970, £4.1s per week National Assistance was not good enough either for a young man to live on, even with no rent to give his long-suffering…

From Marianne to the Friends of Paul:Failed Film Producer Seeks Work (2)

Friday, 5 June 2015

My father was not always a bank official. Before the war, he had a fledgling career as a singer in the Al Bowlly mode – tenor with light vibrato. He often did a bit of soft shoe and basic tap at parties. On the wall of my study, I keep a couple of moody, dramatically-lit sepia publicity photos of Tony French (the name my father chose), one with a megaphone and another with a cigarette. I still have…

Failed Film Producer Seeks Work (1)

Friday, 5 June 2015

From Marianne: Dear Friends of Paul,  I have discovered another piece of memoir on Paul's laptop, which I shall share with you in instalments (I've taken the liberty to change some names)...


The title of this piece is not the headline from a card pinned on a board in a newsagent’s window. But I did need work. The company I ran, Horoscope Films Ltd, was doomed…

Another snippet from Paul's email diary from Mallorca

Friday, 17 April 2015

From Marianne: On his last trip abroad in June last year, with our good friends in Mallorca, Paul wrote a sort-of diary  in the form of an extended email to a friend back home. In this extract, he reveals how, in those last months of his life, he faced his end with a strong sense of being able to predict things before they happened, and even, of being able to direct what was to come. It also shows…

A letter from Paul to John Mortimer

Sunday, 10 May 2015

For the Friends of Paul, from Marianne: another letter I found in a box - a letter Paul wrote to John Mortimer many years after he had left Penguin and ceased to be Mortimer's editor - but as so many of you know, Paul valued his friendships with his authors, and always made an effort to keep in touch.

5 April 2002

Dear John

Have just got back from Cairo - the dirtiest, ugliest and most chaotic…

Extract from The Book of Wag: the old-boy interview

Monday, 27 April 2015

Dear Friends of Paul

Gillian and I had a great meeting with the Unbound team last week, and a tour of their (rather cool) office, to discuss the editing, design and production of The Book of Wag. We now have a real production schedule, according to which  publication of the exclusive edition for the pledgers will be January 2016. I for one can't wait!  

I thought some of you would enjoy the…

From Paul's email diary from his last trip abroad, Mallorca, June 2014

Friday, 17 April 2015

I have got up to watch the dawn over the mountains - how it changes so quickly from orange to a muted freshness. The headlamps of a car wound along the coast road, then suddenly it is no longer night. The day begins. A few lights stay on at the port and in the hills.

It is beautiful the way the coast wiggles down to our hilltop villa, the sail boats arranged in picturesque clusters.

Carol wrote…

A letter to Angela

Friday, 17 April 2015

Dear Friends of Paul

I just found this copy of a letter Paul wrote to Angela Carter in February 1981, when he had left Penguin for Hutchinson, at their offices in Fitzroy Square, and she had taken up a teaching post in Providence Long Island.

I  don't know why I seem to feel compelled to share these random snippets from Paul's writings with you on a Friday, but I do. 



Another snippet from Paul's green notebook diary - random thoughts on life, and death

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

It is a bit too hard to make it all the way up the wooden steps to Bedfordshire and I am now using the study to sleep and to write this story about some of the books and objects and paintings that I have collected over the years.


Ruth’s husband, Don, also died of prostate cancer. He was diagnosed very late and died relatively quickly. He was the kindest of men  - even allowed Jack, as a very…

From Paul's green notebook

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Dear Friends of Paul,

The work on the manuscript of The Book of Wag continues apace. Both Gillian Stern and I love it more the more we delve into  it. I don't have a publication date yet, but when I do, I'll be sure to let you know. 

In the meantime, some of the old mates may enjoy reading some nostalgic snippets from a diary Paul started writing last summer.




Thanking you!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

From Marianne: So I'm on holiday in Western Massachusetts, and when I got up this morning I saw a flurry of emails from friends and colleagues alerting me of the fact that while I was sleeping, the pledging for The Book of Wag had reached 100%.

It's been exactly two months since the book went up on the Unbound site, and you have all helped Paul's last wish come true. You are all wonderful and generous…

More Publishing Lunch from Paul

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Dear Friends of Paul

It's really wonderful to report that with all your generous pledges, we're practically there: 93% of the money has now been raised, and it looks pretty certain The Book of Wag will be published. I have been working to whip the manuscript into shape with a wonderful freelance editor, but discovered to my horror that we had been working on an out-of-date draft of the manuscript…

The Book of Wag has reached 85% of its funding! Here is another extract from Paul's piece Publishing Lunch (2004)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

A year or so later I became an editor. So it was the Garrick with Giles Gordon, the old Escargot with Julian Symons, Langans with John Mortimer, Bertorelli's with Angela Carter, The White Elephant with Olivia Manning, and Bianchi's (which no longer exists) with Terry Venables and Gordon Williams, when they were collaborating on a series of books featuring a cockney private detective called Hazell…

For the Friends of Paul: The publishing lunch

Sunday, 1 March 2015

From Marianne: After the little video went up on Friday, there was a great surge of extra pledges for The Book of Wag, and we're now 74% funded. The end is in sight!  To raise a glass to you all, as Paul would surely have done, here is an extract from Paul's piece about the thing he was so well known for: lunch.  It was published in The Author, the magazine of the Society of Authors, in the summer…

The Book of Wag video is ready to view

Thursday, 26 February 2015

From Marianne: you may be interested to know that there is now a little video up on The Book of Wag page that explains a bit more about Paul's novel, with some family photos and other memorabilia, things he drew on for inspiration, and which helped trigger his imagination. 

Watch it here.

From Marianne: We're getting closer!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Dear Friends of Paul,

Have you seen,we're up to 63% funded for The Book of Wag!  Even though we haven't got a video ready yet - I can assure you it's coming, apologies that it's so slow, but of course we are  handicapped by not having the author on hand to film pitching his own book. 

In the meantime, thank you all for your support. Do have a look at this page from Wag's wartime memoir, which…

From Marianne: two weeks in!

Friday, 30 January 2015

Well it's only been two weeks, and we have already collected just under half the money needed to publish The Book of Wag!  Thank you all for your generous donations.  And please do keep spreading the word about this book, and about Paul's last wish.

As a taster, here's Wag's beloved sister Ethel:


From Marianne: thank you!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Dear friends of Paul,

Thanks to your generous  pledges. It's been a week since Paul's memorial celebration at Chelsea Old Town Hall, the day The Book of Wag went up on Unbound, and we have already collected over 30% of the money needed to publish it. It really was Paul's last wish to see this book get published, and Jack, Saskia and I are so grateful that between us all, with your support, we are…

Publication date: April 2016
109% funded
267 backers