Publishers at Viking are calling for contributions to a new book, due for October publication, called Whitstable Mum in Custard Shortage ... And Other World Exclusives from Britain's Finest Local Newspapers.
The book brings together local news stories from all over Britain, including edge-of-seat headlines such as "Chair Destroyed" and "Road Stays Open". The titular headline comes from a hard-hitting investigative piece by thisiskent.co.uk. According to Viking's editorial director, Joel Rickett, the book is an affectionate tribute to a local newspaper industry under threat, and is expected to be "the tillpoint bestseller for this Christmas". The book is two-thirds complete, but readers are invited to send their favourite local news headlines to joel.rickett @ukpenguingroup.com by 13 May. How about "Pleasant twentysomething couple get married after meeting at university", © every newspaper in Britain, for the most boring news ever to make it into print?
Speaking of which, bookshops have reported increased sales of all royal wedding titles in the past week. "It's mainly Americans that are buying them," said a bookseller from Waterstone's in Windsor, while spokesmen for Foyles and Hatchards confirmed the trend. Favourites so far include the children's book Kate the Royal Wedding Fairy, by Daisy Meadows (Orchard) and a Ladybird souvenir book called William and Kate: The Royal Wedding. But the most popular royal title on Amazon is still Fiona Goble's wonderful Knit Your Own Royal Wedding (The Ivy Press, £9.99). Pity the people who had to unpick the Syrian ambassador at short notice and start again.
Faber & Faber has announced the acquisition of Ken Livingstone's memoirs, to be published in November, and written, apparently, because, Ken says: "By the time my youngest children are old enough to want to know why I did the things I did I might be dead or too senile to remember." They will not be "standard Westminster fare", warns a source at Faber, but will be "full of Livingstone's salty wit". Uh oh. Politicians should never try to do wit, as David Cameron found out last week, didn't he, dear?
If you were the type of person who spent so long making colour-coded revision timetables that you ran out of time to do any revision, then Storymill software, which "offers an innovative way to channel and fine-tune the creative writing process", may be for you. It has a "complete database of every character, location and scene that makes up your novel" as well as "handy tools to help you keep track of clichés, and monitor how many times you use a word", which sounds like lots to play with while avoiding putting pen to paper. There is also a "progress meter". "When you write your daily 1,500 words it makes a noise to celebrate," one bestselling novelist (who ought to remain anonymous) has been telling friends. "Choose between 'broken glass', 'purr' or something called 'funk'. At present, [mine is] set to 'funk', which I have yet to hear. Of course what it really needs is 'belch', 'groan' or 'long, slow exhale'."
Book now for events to mark the completion of the two-year refurbishment project at the Bishopsgate Institute, London. All the courses and talks about London are hosted by authors including Jake Arnott, Iain Sinclair, Dan Cruickshank and China Miéville. Find out more under "Events" at bishopsgate.org.uk.