Pippa Dropped: Now Pippa's dropped by book agent

Pippa Dropped: Now Pippa's dropped by book agent, After her foray  into publishing with Celebrate — her less than riveting guide to entertaining, which failed to feature in any bestseller lists — I can reveal that Pippa Middleton has parted company with her agent.

Literary guru David Godwin masterminded the deal with Penguin that saw the Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister pocket an estimated £400,000 advance from publisher Michael Joseph.

But the book of party planning tips will be their only collaboration.

‘Theirs was a tricky relationship,’ says a literary figure.

‘David was not an obvious choice for Pippa. His writers are heavyweights while Pippa’s niche is fluffy and commercial. In the end it was clear the union was not a happy one.’

At the time it was thought that Pippa’s contributions to the Party Times newsletter, part of her family’s Party Pieces mail order firm, plus her experience as a party planner for London company Table Talk, were sufficient credentials.

Under Godwin’s expert guidance, she set out to style herself as the go-to party planning expert. But she failed to impress observers astounded that someone without real writing experience had managed to secure such a substantial offer.

Insiders were more baffled as to why she was being represented by an agent whose stable includes highbrow writers such as biographer Claire Tomalin, novelist Vikram Seth and historian William Dalrymple. In the end, despite Godwin’s expertise, Pippa’s guide was a flop.

Poor sales followed and Penguin quickly denied suggestions that their involvement with Pippa was anything more than a one- book deal.

And the unlikely partnership, which at first had proved so financially fruitful, is over.

Speaking from his Covent Garden office, David Godwin tells me carefully: ‘I am very sorry it has happened, but yes, it is true: I no longer represent Pippa and I wish her every good luck.’

So what of Pippa’s literary future? A month ago, Waitrose signed her up to write a column. But apart from joking herself that she should write a sequel entitled Bottoms Up — a reference to the attention her shapely behind attracts — whispers of a second tome about weddings appear to have been shelved.
Eton's homoerotic whodunnit!

It quite naturally takes pride in the 19 prime ministers, princes and writers such as Ian Fleming and George Orwell it has educated.

But Eton’s head Tony Little will not be adding Edmund Marlowe to the list of authors on the school’s website,  despite the fact that Marlowe’s debut, Alexander’s Choice, is being feverishly read by as many Etonians, past and present, as can get their hands on it.

The 422-page potboiler is being hailed as the Etonian version of Fifty Shades Of Grey. Instead of heterosexual bondage, Marlowe’s oeuvre concentrates on the homoerotic friendship between a pupil and a new housemaster.

OE author Guy Walters tells me: ‘The book is set in the Eighties when I was there — David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Earl Spencer, Dominic West, the actor — were all contemporaries. It paints an incredibly racy picture of gay sex at Eton. Put it another way: it’s really dirty.’   Needless to say, Marlowe is a pseudonym, but Walters has no doubt the author is a genuine OE.

‘It’s quite clear from  descriptions of the school and nicknames for things that whoever wrote it was with us at school,’ he says. ‘And there is a great guessing game going on trying identify who the people in the book might be in real life.

‘It’s great fun and is actually rather well written.’
Ann Summers boss lets off steam

This week’s survey that revealed couples are splitting due to the pressure of sleepless nights with babies does not impress retail tycoon Jacqueline Gold.

‘What a lot of rubbish! Of course it’s tough, but what do they expect? Most of us parents stick it out!’ says the mother-of-one.

Stylish Jackie, 52, boss of lingerie company of Ann Summers, was collecting an award at The Indus Entrepreneurs ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

‘My partner is not here, he’s looking after our daughter Scarlett,’ Jackie tells me. ‘You have to make sacrifices with children, something some parents are unwilling to accept these days.’

Jackie, who lives in a Surrey mansion with her 35-year-old City trader fiance Dan Cunningham, came with her father, football club owner David Gold, 76, who tells me he has been engaged to partner Lesley Manning for ten years.

But when I ask whether it is time he tied the knot, he changes the subject. ‘I hear we are in for cold weather over Easter,’ he says.

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