Cover Stories: Booker goes global; Bill Clinton's memoirs; Princess Diana

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Now we know how the Man Group chiefs have reconciled their hankering for an American presence in the Man Booker prize with the current Commonwealth-and-Ireland-only rules. On Wednesday, the new "Man Booker International Prize" was unveiled: worth £60,000, it will be awarded once every two years for a lifetime's achievement in fiction, written in English or else available in translation. John Carey will chair the first panel of judges and the premier "global Booker" winner will emerge in mid-2005. The new award may tread on the toes of two existing competitions: the IMPAC prize, which pits translated fiction against English-language novels; and the David Cohen prize for British Literature, also a reward for a lifetime's work, and also given on the same biennial basis. So Roth or Updike can at last win a Man Booker prize, as could Grass or García Márquez. However, the odds on a US victor for the first contest may well be pretty short.

* The memoirs of Bill Clinton, the 1,000-page My Life, have a worldwide release date of 22 June (the UK publisher is Hutchinson). Although he has apparently written little about "that woman", the book has the potential to inflict real damage on Clinton's successor - if it reveals more about what his outgoing administration told Bush on the threat from al-Qa'ida. Meanwhile, the Pulitzer-winning New York Times columnist Maureen O'Dowd has signed with Penguin Putnam for Bushworld, which will draw on her Washington experience of the president and his circle.

* There seems to be no possibility that Princess Diana can rest in peace. With the Burrell bandwagon rolling again, Andrew Morton is about to pop up with "an explosive new book" on her last years. Published later this month by (inevitably) Mike O'Mara, it is based on "new and exclusive" interviews, and as-yet unpublished details from those famous tapes.