Books: Cover Stories

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The Independent Culture
A BIG week for book prizes, beyond all the Laureateship fuss: the Glenfiddich food writing awards ("the Cooker Bookers"), the IMPAC/Dublin Award, Smith's Thumping Good Read and the Society of Authors Awards, at which well over pounds 80,000 was given away. Among the lucky recipients were Magnus Mills, whose debut The Restraint of Beasts was shortlisted for both the Booker and the Whitbread, and Giles Foden, who picked up two awards for his debut, The Last King of Scotland. Another first-timer, Andrew Miller with Ingenious Pain, won the IMPAC, at IRpounds 100,000 the world's richest literary award. Among the Glenfiddich winners was Mark Kurlansky for Cod. But the most visible victor is likely to be Lee Child, whose thriller Die Trying won the Thumping Good Read: the only book prize judged by the public. Child flew in from New York at his own expense for the prize reception without knowing that he had won or that a pounds 5,000 cheque awaited.

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WE'VE READ about Kevin and Vinnie, Gary, George and Glenn. David Seaman and Michael Owen will have their say next year. Now another of football's enfants terribles has accepted a publisher's shilling. Paul Gascoigne has signed with Headline - where his team-mates include Vinnie Jones and John Barnes. He will, for a not inconsiderable sum, tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but.

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LEONIE ORTON will be talking next month about the Orton family's "perception" of Kenneth Halliwell, her brother Joe's mentor - and murderer. She will be promoting Joe Orton's "lost work," The Boy Hairdresser. Dating from 1960, it is the last thing Orton and Halliwell wrote together and is, according to publisher Nick Hern, "astonishingly prophetic of their lives together". Also included is Orton and Halliwell's "unutterably camp" pastiche of Mills & Boon, Lord Cucumber. Other "lost" works - the novel Between Us Girls and the plays Fred & Madge and The Visitors - were published by Hern last year.

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JOYCE MAYNARD'S memoir of her life with J D Salinger did not meet with success. Which is perhaps why she is selling 14 letters written to her by the reclusive author a quarter of a century ago. They come up for sale at Sotheby's New York next month, and are estimated to fetch $80,000.

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