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Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Latest book news in Britain: Famed controversial publisher Naim Attallah to tell-all in his 3-volume autobiography to be launched on May 1, 2007.

Caption shows a younger photo of the Palestinian-born Lebanese-British publisher Naim Attallah . From a penniless teen and labouring jobs as a young boy, he struck gold in literary London. Attallah is 75 now.

by Susan Abraham

With an event that spells more diamond-encrusted glamour than Naim Attallah's publishing career at Quartet Books, his buddy-comradeship with the late British author Auberon Waugh and legendary passion for women, his young publishing staff in the '80s that included the likes of Nigella Lawson and Sophia-Sackville West, his office, affectionately titled a harem with its tiger skin rugs, alluring black and white photographs and busty sculptured nudes, the flamboyant Attallah now bounces back with a new saga, in his chunky tell-all 3 volume autobiography called Fulfilment and Betrayal: 1975-1995 (Quartet Books £25).

He wrote 385,000 words in a rush in 14 months; there was so much to say and controversial injustices to clear.

This where in the midst of the glitzy baubles, Attallah was accused of being responsible for his former employer, Asprey's downfall and in 2005, tasted his private hell - that may have stretched as vast as the Pacific Ocean - when his assistant of almost 20 years Jennie Erdel , turned up with her book Ghosting, where she claimed to have composed almost all of Attallah's literary material for him. These included 2 novels, a newspaper coloumn and reviews. She also demanded credit for his private letters. And yes, there was sex involved.

This writer was in London at the time and Attallah had just churned out a tidy morality tale called The Old Ladies of Nazareth. But controversial articles and reviews of the book, many slanted in the favour of Erdel meant that Attallah may have felt shortchanged and the publicity for his little book irrevocably damaged. He complained that he was ignored almost completely by the British Press. That has long been remedied. He has managed his side quite happily in the media since.

This book is so new, its jacket cover is nowhere visible on the Net and one assumes it's still at the printers.

Tatlers UK will launch Naim Attallah's Fulfilment and Betrayal: 1975-1995 on March 1, 2007 to celebrate his 76th birthday. Attallah has been married to his wife, Maria, for 50 years.

This writer also predicts that the autobiography will stir up just as much controversy as Ghosting if not more and that it will be the talk of London at parties and book clubs and all the rest of it, for months afterwards. Erdel may find herself saddled with an unexpected comeuppance. Meanwhile, you can catch Elizabeth Grice's exclusive personality interview in the The Daily Telegraph today. It's wonderfully-told.


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