English poet and author Laurie Lee

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Jarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan: A 'Hemingway for hippies'

The novels of Richard Brautigan are being republished for a new generation. Jarvis Cocker explains why he's such a big fan
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose

Douglas Adams: How a new biography sheds light on his genius

In the 13 years since he died, Douglas Adams' fictional universe has lost none of its appeal. His biographer Jem Roberts explains how he came to tell his story – and the treasures he found

Author Diana Souhami: 'Why I ‘rescued’ a character left in the lurch by George Eliot'

Souhami is admirably equipped for the job, having made her name as a biographer who blurred the boundary between fact and fiction

Between the Covers: What’s really going on in the world of books

One unexpected winner in last week’s Man Booker Prize shortlist announcement were the bookies – with Ladbrokes’ longlist odds correctly predicting five of the six shortlisters. The only author in the top betting to miss out on a shortlist place was poor David Mitchell, for The Bone Clocks (below), who is now odds on never to win. But how will Ladbrokes decide when an author has never won? When he *gulp!* dies? “It’s a good question,” says a spokesman. “When we offer the same bet in a sporting contest, the bet runs until they retire.” Mitchell is now a youthful 45, and we all hope he keeps writing forever. But maybe, in 20 years’ time …

The Diarists: This week in history

15 September 1927

The Top Ten: Eponyms

Eponyms are words that derive from a person's name. This idea was suggested by Rich Greenhill, a word wizard extraordinaire. He started with 'milquetoast' (a fictional cartoon-strip character) and 'quisling', the name of the army officer who ruled Norway for the Nazis. Alan Robertson mentioned Stigler's Law: that no discovery is ever named after the person who actually discovered it.

The Novel Cure: Literary prescriptions for drudgery

Ailment: Drudgery

Esther Freud, novelist: "I love Tobias Wolff for his elegance, thoughtfulness and inventiveness"

Where are you now and what can you see?

Nature books round-up: How to walk yourself in to well-being

Autumn is the season for walking and much of the writing included in While Wandering: A Walking Companion (Vintage, £10.99) supports Søren Kierkegaard's view that you can "walk yourself in to well-being".

No jacket required: author and Man Booker judge Susan Hill

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To celebrate the publication of Printer’s Devil Court, The Independent has teamed up with Ritzy Picturehouse and Profile Books to launch a nationwide search for a talented filmmaker to create a trailer for the book.

Long shot: The world’s longest usable golf club is 14ft 5in

Guinness World Records turns 60: The publication remains a bestseller by celebrating the weird and the wacky

Gillian Orr finds out why we still care about the longest burp
Fantasy writer Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb: 'Is the fantasy genre dominated by males? I've never found it so'

The acclaimed fantasy writer talks about re-visiting an old character and why she’s happy that her books have not yet been adapted to the big screen

LONDON - AUGUST 20: The Rolling Stones members Keith Richards and Ron Wood(L) perform on stage at Twickenham Stadium on 20 August, 2006 in London, England.

Children's books: how rock 'n' roll; week in books column

I wonder how many five-year-olds are itching to get their hands on Keith Richards’s Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar. Or how many are champing at the bit to see his daughter, Theodora Richards’s illustrations accompanying the text. And to froth over the gallery of pictures, including Keith with Mick in the early days of The Rolling Stones. And to coo over the story which traces Richards’s thrilling childhood encounter with music: “I took a long look at that guitar that always sat on top of his piano. It seemed more beautiful than ever. All I wanted was to make the strings go dinka-plink-plink….”

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