People

At Dutton, Jamie McDonald has been promoted to publicity manager.

Gryphon House, which publishes resource books for parents and teachers of young children, will be distributed by IPG as of January 1, 2013.

The last surviving Price Stern Sloan co-founder Larry Sloan, 89, died on Sunday after a brief illness. After PSS was sold to Penguin in 1993, Sloan and Leonard Stern started Tallfellow Press, a business publisher now run by his daughter, Claudia. Before becoming a publisher "he played chess with Humphrey Bogart and wrangled PR for Mae West. He helped handle one of Elizabeth Taylor's weddings, and his own was announced by Hedda Hopper and Army Archerd." The family asks that any donations in his honor be made to the ACLU or the City of Hope.

JK Rowling appeared before thousands of screaming--yes, screaming--fans at Lincoln Center last night, for an interview with Ann Patchett, a brief reading from The Casual Vacancy, and a book-signing for the sizable crowd. When Rowling first came on stage, Patchett said, "I thought I understood--and I didn't understand. It's like being at a Rolling Stones concert." She added, "I feel like I'm going to have to hand out sedatives to the audience." More seriously, Patchett noted, "You have done more for reading than anyone alive. You've raised up a generation of readers around the world and made it safe for the rest of us to write and to sell books."

Of her new novel, Rowling observed, "so much of this book is about what is hidden and stripping things away." She noted "we are ruthless as writers" in having to cut material while refining a manuscript. For parents with kids who want to read The Casual Vacancy even though it's for adults, she suggested that as a parent herself, "I personally would be comfortable with a fourteen or fifteen-year-old reading this book. Younger than that, I wouldn't be comfortable with my child reading this book." In discussing what "adult books" means today in Patchett's Nashville bookstore as 50 Shades tops the charts, Rowling quipped, "People have sex in this book but no one really enjoys it--that's the distinction."

While the first reader of The Casual Vacancy besides her husband texted her with an expletive and the conclusion "it's very dark," Rowling was pleased with Patchett's conclusion that "it goes between evil and funny, not evil and good." Overall, Rowling noted, "it was very satisfying to conclude a story in one volume."

As you would expect, Rowling reiterated her intention to keep writing and the probability that her next book will be for children, without providing any details. She and Patchett discussed how describing something before it's written is often disappointing. "I find that discussing an idea out loud is often the way to kill it stone dead," adding, "they all sound rubbish." Rowling noted "we are thin-skinned people." In a rare product endorsement, Rowling proclaimed, "The MacBook Air changed my life." She added, "I've written everywhere, including some very strange places."