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The Independent Culture

Political memoirs have lost some of their cachet now that every two-bit minister wants to have his say. But one memoir has been eagerly awaited from the moment she was appointed to the Speaker's Chair - that of Betty Boothroyd. The former high kicker has as yet not committed herself but publishers and agents all over town are hoping she will shortly succumb to both their charms and their chequebooks.

Political memoirs have lost some of their cachet now that every two-bit minister wants to have his say. But one memoir has been eagerly awaited from the moment she was appointed to the Speaker's Chair - that of Betty Boothroyd. The former high kicker has as yet not committed herself but publishers and agents all over town are hoping she will shortly succumb to both their charms and their chequebooks.

Meanwhile, Politico's has announced that it will be rushing through Paul Routledge's biography of Boothroyd for September publication. Let's hope the Mirror man doesn't find himself in hot water again, as he did over his book on Peter Mandelson.

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Philip Gould has been much in the news these last couple of weeks and each of the reports has mentioned his wife, usually described as "millionaire publisher Gail Rebuck." I'm pleased to report that her alma mater, Sussex University, where she and Gould met, has just awarded her an Honorary D.Litt. Doubtless, the University will now be hoping it may receive the occasional donation from some of those millions.

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The indomitable Frances Partridge, who marked her centenary this year, is at work on a further volume of diaries, her seventh, covering the early part of the 1970s. The last of the Bloomsburyites told her editor over a restorative glass of whisky that she would "rather like to do a new book."

Weidenfeld and Nicolson, which is gradually bringing all her past volumes back into print, will publish next spring, in time for Partridge's 101st birthday.

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