Books: Cover Stories

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The Independent Culture
MULTIMILLION-SELLING novelist Stephen King never ceases to surprise. Having hinted that he may not write many more books, he quickly delivered two: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Hearts in Atlantis. Then, just as his American agent was stuffing his Thanksgiving turkey, King despatched the manuscript of On Writing, which his British publisher Hodder describes as being as close as he will get to an autobiography. King discusses his life, including his recent road accident, the writers he admires, films of his novels - and gives advice on writing. Publication is next autumn.

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JEFFREY ARCHER is now free to concentrate on writing. His next book will be the last under a HarperCollins contract variously rumoured as worth pounds 7m, pounds 9m and pounds 11m. To Cut a Long Story Short is a collection of stories inspired by real life. One concerns "a criminal who wants the police to catch him". CEO Eddie Bell is bracing himself for a heavy negotiation over the next contract, if he thinks Archer's worth the bother.

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GREAT NEWS for fans of Harry Potter. Stephen Fry has signed up with Cover to Cover to read Chamber of Secrets. His performance of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for the company has just won a prestigious Talkie Award: the audiobook world's Oscars. Another winner, for the best media coverage, was the Independent's own Christina Hardyment.

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