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BRIGHTON: novelist Kathy Acker launches "do tongues" at its new venue, the Arts Club, Ship St; Wed 9, 8pm, pounds 5/pounds 3.50. 01273 727371

CARDIFF: novelist Rachel Billington and TV adapter Andrew Davies talk about Jane Austen in the Captain Scott Room, Royal Hotel, St Mary St; Wed 9, 6pm, pounds 5/pounds 3.50. 01222 492025

GLASGOW: James Knowlson talks about his new biography of Samuel Beckett at CCA, 350 Sauchiehall St; Wed 9, 6.30pm, free. 0141 332 7521

LONDON: poets Lemn Sissay and Colin Thorpe read at the Voice Box, Royal Festival Hall, SE1; Wed 9, 8pm, pounds 4/pounds 2.50. 0171 960 4242

MANCHESTER: William Gibson reads from his new novel Idoru at Waterstone's, 91 Deansgate; Thur 10, 7pm, pounds 3. 0161 832 1992

CHELTENHAM: festival begins Fri 11 with Beryl Bainbridge (12noon, pounds 6/pounds 5); Julian Barnes, Mavis Gallant (7pm, pounds 6/pounds 5). Sat 12: Harold Pinter (Everyman, 12noon, pounds 8/pounds 7, pounds 6/pounds 5), Howard Jacobson (Everyman, 3pm, pounds 5/pounds 4); Antonia Fraser (4.30pm, pounds 8/pounds 7, pounds 6/pounds 5). Town Hall, except where stated. 01242 227979


EXETER: Devon River Poets read at Cabaret Theatre, Arts Centre, Gandy St; 8pm, pounds 4/pounds 3. 01392 421111

LONDON: marathon poetry reading with Lavinia Greenlaw, Jo Shapcott, Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Tobias Hill, Michael Horovitz, Christopher Logue and more takes place in the East Piazza, Covent Garden; 11am-7.30pm, free. Info: 0171 379 6947

Andrew Motion introduces readings from Fishtank, an anthology by graduates of the UEA writing programme; Waterstone's, 10-12 Islington Gn, N1; 7pm, free. 0171 704 2280

Jane Duran and Sarah Maguire are available all day at the Poetry Library, Royal Festival Hall, SE1, to advise budding poets. Info: 0171 921 0938

MANCHESTER: write a poem and launch it via balloon outside the Central Library, St Peter's Sq; plus open-air readings (11am-3pm) hosted by Henry Normal. Balloons leave at 1pm and 3pm. Info: 0161 861 7181

NORTHAMPTON: Grace Nichols reads at the Central Library, Abington St; 8pm, pounds 3/pounds 2. 01604 26771

TORRINGTON: Liz Lochhead reads at the Plough Arts Centre, 9-11 Fore St; 8pm, pounds 4.50/pounds 4. 01805 624624