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the manuscript into shape with a wonderful freelance editor, but discovered to my horror that we had been working on an out-of-date draft of the manuscript, as I stumbled across a more recent version on Paul's laptop - he had done more work on it himself than I had thought. He always liked to have the last word!
To keep you in the mood, here is a last extract from Paul's piece about the Publishing Lunch:
"Is it all ruthless and efficient now? I don't know. I still follow the same rituals and believe that good fellowship on neutral territory for longer than a regulation hour is good for business.
These days at Vauxhall Bridge Road a favourite haunt is the Tate Gallery Restaurant. People like it there so much that we acquired a book called Vino by the sommelier, Hamish Anderson. Oliver Johnson, himself a connoisseur of fine wines, did the deal with another regular visitor, the agent Abner Stein who knows a thing or two about lunch. 'When in doubt, order Cotes du Rhone' is a maxim I learnt from him.
The people at the Tate probably know more about the personnel at Random House than anyone else. They are also keen readers with a marked predilection for gory thrillers. A year or two I spent some time in hospital, and received a card signed by all the restaurant staff. It read 'Get well soon. Revenue down.'
It was the sort of encouragement a man needs."
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