— HIRE LEARNING Ann Godoff, the just-fired head of the Random House Trade Group, has been plucked up by Penguin for a new start-up. Taking a swing at Random, which had attempted to publicly humiliate her with the uncharacteristically gloves-off announcement that her division was the only one not to meet its financial goals, the admired editor-publisher said in a press release, ”Penguin is a place that understands that… the properly published solid list is the list that is inevitably the most profitable.” As for how her new imprint will fit in at Penguin, which already houses literary division Riverhead, CEO David Shanks says, ”It’s a big industry, and there are a lot of authors out there.” Unfortunately for Random, some big ones — including Caleb Carr, John Berendt, and Alan Furst — have allegiances to Godoff, and may be in play.
— AND IN TENNIS… Tony Chekhov trounced Gus Mahler in round 1 of the men’s singles, while Ayn Rand beat Beatrix Potter in straight sets in the women’s. For more results, see Australian comedian John Clarke’s novel The Tournament, just acquired by Hyperion, about a tennis tournament featuring the major artists and personalities of the 19th and 20th centuries. It’ll hit stores here in September.
— BOOK SUGAR SEX MAGIK Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis was playing to a New York audience recently — and, thankfully, he was wearing more than just a tube sock this time. He was meeting with publishers invited by agent David Vigliano to hear about a proposed autobiography that Kiedis plans to write with Larry ”Ratso” Sloman, the not-so-invisible ghost writer behind Howard Stern’s best-selling Private Parts. The book would describe life with the Chili Peppers, as well as his unusual upbringing as the son of a hard-living, unconventional Hollywood actor. According to an insider, one publisher has already made an offer in the mid-six figures. Vigliano did not return calls.