BOOKS / In the lists

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The Independent Culture
THERE's no sign of the winner of this year's bad-tempered Booker prize in the charts: 4000 f-words, it seems, do not make a bestseller. In this season of literary prizes, too, some judging panels seem to have set themselves the job of making up for the vaguaries of others: the 1994 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, for instance, has gone to Vikram Seth for A Suitable Boy, which spent long enough on these lists to show that buyers didn't care that the book weighs as much as a sack of potatoes, and did not agree with the notorious remarks of a former Booker chairman about it being badly edited.

Meanwhile, anything like a real book is overshadowed by mud-slinging among the royals. Anna Pasternak is still at No 1: soon, however, Di in love will be joined by a revised version of Andrew Morton's book, and by Jonathan Dimbleby kindly helping the Prince to make a charlie of himself. Publicity stunts also took a new turn last week, when journalists recieved a press release prominently announcing a PHOTOCALL above the title of the Pope's autobiography, published on Thursday. A chance to photograph His Holiness?

No, silly, a chance to photograph the Chairman of Dillons unpacking the very first copies of the book] Now there's a thing.

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