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Norton joins revival’s cast

Jim Norton will join James Franco and Chris O’Dowd in the Broadway revival of “Of Mice and Men.”

Producers said Monday that Norton, whose recent credits include “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and a Tony Award-winning turn in “The Seafarer,” will play aging ranch handyman Candy.

The story by John Steinbeck centers on big-dreaming George, played by Franco, and the mentally challenged Lennie, portrayed by O’Dowd. Former “Gossip Girl” star Leighton Meester will play a beautiful temptress.

The play, which starts performances March 19 at the Longacre Theatre, hasn’t been seen on Broadway in 40 years. Tony Award winner Anna D. Shapiro will direct.

Brits honor ‘Life After Life’

British writer Kate Atkinson has won the novel-of-the-year prize at Britain’s Costa Book Awards with her reality-altering historical saga “Life After Life.”

Other winners in the event’s five categories include poet Michael Symmons Roberts for his collection “Drysalter” and mental health nurse Nathan Filer, who takes the first-novel prize for his saga of madness, “The Shock of the Fall.”

Lucy Hughes-Hallett won the biography category for her portrait of an Italian Fascist, “The Pike,” while author and illustrator Chris Riddell won the children’s book prize for “Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse.”

One of the five books named Monday will be chosen as the overall winner and awarded $50,000 at a Jan. 28 ceremony. The awards are open to writers based in Britain and Ireland.

‘Prince’ has New York ties

Antoine de Saint-Exupery crafted “The Little Prince” in New York City, mentioning Rockefeller Center and Long Island in one draft of the beloved children’s tale – references he ultimately deleted.

That page is contained in the French author’s original handwritten manuscript, which is the subject of a major exhibition at the Morgan Library and Museum on the 70th anniversary of the book’s French publication – a year after its U.S. debut.

“The Little Prince: A New York Story,” which opens Jan. 24, features 35 of his original watercolors and 25 pages from his heavily revised 140-page text, written in Saint-Exupery’s tiny script.

Some visitors may be surprised to learn that “The Little Prince,” which has been translated into more than 250 languages and dialects, was written and first published in New York.

“It’s well documented that he wrote the book here, but it’s not well known to the general public,” said Christine Nelson, curator of literary and historical manuscripts at the Morgan.

“Because the manuscript brings you back to the moment of creation, we wanted to set the exhibition in the place and time of creation,” she said. “It focuses on the emergence of this work in New York during the war. He was writing it just within miles of where this exhibition is being shown.”

Saint-Exupery, a French aviator and best-selling author, didn’t live to see his book published in France. He died while piloting a reconnaissance flight in 1944.