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The Independent Culture
The Booker prize: Romesh Gunesekera, Jill Paton Walsh and Alan Hollinghurst, three of the authors on this year's shortlist, meet at the Almeida Theatre to read from their books, with extracts from the other contenders read by actors. Followed by a discussion chaired by Fay Weldon. Tonight, 7pm. pounds 10 (includes reception). Almeida Street, London N1. 071-359 4404.

Word of Mouth: storytellers from South Africa, Surinam, Norway, Ireland spin yarns around Britain, starting with Gcina Mhlophe and John Campbell, at the Watershed, 1 Canon's Road, Bristol. Tue 4 Oct, 7.30pm. pounds 4 (pounds 3 concs). 0272 253845.

Carol Ann Duffy and Dannie Abse read their poetry at Waterstone's, Birmingham. Wed 5 Oct, 7pm. pounds 1.50. 021-633 4353.

Crime writer Patricia D Cornwell talks about her latest novel The Body Farm at Books Etc, Oxford St, London W1. Wed 5 Oct, 6pm. Free. 071-734 8287.

The Cheltenham Festival of Literature begins on Fri 7 Oct with appearances by Ralph Steadman, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Iris Murdoch, Will Self, and tributes to Jill Tweedie and e e cummings. Sat 8 Oct: Richard Mabey, Joanna Trollope, Antonia Fraser and, for children, 'Book It]'. Tickets pounds 3-8, with concs. Further details from 0242 237377; box office 0242 227979.

Alan Bennett signs his diaries, Writing Home, at Hatchards, Piccadilly. Fri 7 Oct, 12.30pm. 071-439 9921.

Michele Roberts reads from Flesh & Blood. Fri 7 Oct, 6.30pm. Free. Waterstone's, Bath. 0225 448515.

Comedian turned novelist Rob Newman will be at Dillons, Oxford. Sat 8 Oct, 11am. 0865 790212.