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With Betty Boothroyd's retirement from the Speaker's Chair, publishers are preparing to go into battle for her memoirs. Boothroyd has been in everyone's sights for years, her colourful life and sense of humour seen as a sure-fire recipe for literary success. Now she is finishing an outline and sample chapter, which agents Gregory & Radice will show to publishers later this month. An expensive deal should be signed by Christmas.

With Betty Boothroyd's retirement from the Speaker's Chair, publishers are preparing to go into battle for her memoirs. Boothroyd has been in everyone's sights for years, her colourful life and sense of humour seen as a sure-fire recipe for literary success. Now she is finishing an outline and sample chapter, which agents Gregory & Radice will show to publishers later this month. An expensive deal should be signed by Christmas.

* Cherie Blair is shortly to be the object of unwelcome attention: Linda McDougall, wife of old Labourite Austin Mitchell and author of Westminster Women, has written a book on the PM's wife which claims to "unlock the mystery of the silent woman at the Prime Minister's side". The biography, to be published early next year by Politico's, is packaged to look like a sex-and-shopping blockbuster.

* This 30 November marks the centenary of the death of Oscar Wilde and, on Friday, an exhibition, A Life in Six Acts, opens at the British Library. It will feature for the first time letters, manuscripts, photographs and much else - including the autograph manuscript of De Profundis, Wilde's long confessional letter to his young lover, Bosie. At Reading, whose prison he immortalised in The Ballad of Reading Gaol, the writer will be remembered by a festival of music, painting and sculpture. Bruce Williams's Wilde memorial will be unveiled on the banks of the Kennet.

* Armistice Day usually provokes a discussion about guilt and retribution - and compensation. And a new book will soon fan the flames of anger against the Japanese: Hirohito: Emperor and Warmonger by American historian Herbert Bix. Just published in the US, the book has caused a storm there, for it argues that Hirohito was no passive constitutional monarch but an active participant in the execution of the war who delayed the surrender for months, essentially to save his own skin. Duckworth will publish here in February.

* Tom Paulin, television's favourite sceptic, has embarked on his ambitious epic poem about the Second World War, which will be spread across six volumes. Billed as a contemporary Iliad, it will "affirm the struggle and the memory of that generation before the doors of living memory are closed on it". Faber will begin publishing next year.

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