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Paul Mccartney, a closet painter for 17 years, is putting the finishing touches to a book of Paintings, due from Little, Brown this autumn. Dedicated to his late wife, Linda, whose friend Willem de Koonig encouraged McCartney to paint, it will coincide with exhibitions in Bristol and New York. McCartney credits de Koonig with "unblocking" his inhibitions. For a long time, he worried critics would dismiss him as "a famous musician trying to be a painter".

Paul Mccartney, a closet painter for 17 years, is putting the finishing touches to a book of Paintings, due from Little, Brown this autumn. Dedicated to his late wife, Linda, whose friend Willem de Koonig encouraged McCartney to paint, it will coincide with exhibitions in Bristol and New York. McCartney credits de Koonig with "unblocking" his inhibitions. For a long time, he worried critics would dismiss him as "a famous musician trying to be a painter".

* In Basil Street Blues, biographer Michael Holroyd wrote poignantly of his dysfunctional family and his own struggle for identity. The Abacus paperback (see page 11) finds Holroyd continuing his search for roots. He hopes a reader somewhere will recall Agnes May Babb, the mistress whom his father dumped in the late 1930s. Holroyd is hoping for both information and a photograph, and the "winner" will be awarded a two-night stay in London's Basil Street Hotel (just around the corner from Harrods), where Holroyd believes he was conceived.

* Londoners will be faced with an embarrassment of verbal riches this autumn. The Word, the second London Literary Festival, based this year at Shakespeare's Globe, runs from 22 September to 1 October. Then, on 26 October, Southwark's first Literature Festival gets underway across the historic borough that has connections with Shakespeare, Milton, Keats and Chaucer. Directed by publisher-turned-agent Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson, the festival promises a remarkably unstuffy 10 days. Details and bookings: 020 7403 7400.

* As former Andre Deutsch editor (and one-time lover of its founder) Diana Athill publishes her memoirs, there is more speculation about the firm. Sold by Tom Rosenthal to a video company, the publisher is once again on the block. The logo which graced the spines of books by Mailer, Rhys and Naipaul now adorns celebrity ephemera and football books. New potential buyers include Blake Publishing and Virgin.

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