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The Independent Culture

Anyone seeking a literary break need look no further than Dartington, where the Ways with Words festival, sponsored by The Independent on Sunday, runs from 11 to 21 July. This year it features more than 100 speakers, including Joanne Harris, Tony Benn, Margaret Drabble and Kate Adie. Speakers and visitors mingle amid the glorious landscaped gardens of the Dartington Estate, near Totnes in Devon. Details at

* Editors are waiting (breathlessly, in some cases) for a proposal for Rageh Omaar's account of the Iraq war to land on their desks. The "Scud Stud", who kept extensive notes throughout the conflict, has at last signed on with a literary agent: Kate Jones of ICM. Jones was once an editor at Hamish Hamilton, which is how she came to meet Martin Bell, whom she published before managing his successful bid to take the Tatton constituency from Neil Hamilton in 1997. This will be her first major deal as an agent.

* Sfter more than 40 years, the Profumo scandal retains its power to intrigue. Now David Profumo, the son of the Tory war minister John and his late wife, actress Valerie Hobson, is having his say. The author of two novels, he will paint a portrait of a remarkable marriage, and of an era in British life, in "a very evocative book about growing up and knowing one's parents". John Murray will publish it in 2005.