True at First Light

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August 21, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

DI-OLATRY Publishers are trying mightily to make a marketing event of the one-year anniversary of Princess Diana‘s death, but so far it’s looking like a potential bust. Among those entering a crowded field — at least 41 Di-related books have been published since her death last Aug. 31, and that’s not counting calendars, notebooks, and coloring books — are The Day Diana Died, by erstwhile Jackie O. biographer Christopher Andersen; Diana, by iconoclastic British journalist Julie Burchill (”Her in all her Herness, not her HRHness. Her; just her”); and The Diana I Knew, the account of an American mother who employed Diana as a nanny for 11 months in 1980. But Jody Kohn, director of promotions and publicity for Borders, reports that ”the trend that we’re seeing is that people are more interested in the books that are fashion- and style-related, as opposed to commemorative books of her life.” Which bodes well for Diana: Her Life in Fashion (by former Vogue contributor Georgina Howell); private couturier Catherine Walker’s autobio, heavy on glossy close-ups of the late royal’s costumes; and, sad to say, Dover’s Diana Princess of Wales Paper Doll.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST In the 37 years since Ernest Hemingway died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, there has been a steady stream of posthumous publications, including A Moveable Feast and The Garden of Eden. Now there’s another: True at First Light, a fictionalized memoir of his 1953 African safari, which longtime publisher Scribner will bring out as part of a Hemingway centennial celebration next July. Although the estate offered portions of the manuscript to Sports Illustrated — and the magazine ended up running three lengthy excerpts in 1971 and 1972 — a book never came out. ”There were many factors involved,” says Michael Katakis, literary-rights representative for the Hemingway estate, in describing the long delay. Declining to be specific, he hints at disagreements within the family about how to publish the book, which was left untitled and unfinished: ”The sons are always discussing if it is appropriate to touch their father’s words in any way.” Middle son Patrick Hemingway, who was with his dad on the Kenya safari, edited the 200,000-word manuscript and wrote the introduction. ”I haven’t seen it, and very few people have,” says Hemingway scholar Michael Reynolds. It was one of ”the last things he was working on.”

Alexandra Jacobs and Matthew Flamm

True at First Light

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Ernest Hemingway
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True at First Light

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