Cover Stories: Calling budding novelists; Bush dynasty uncovered; review winners

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The Independent Culture

Inevitably, there was cynicism when Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan began their afternoon TV book club. But their diverse selection of titles, and the public's strong response, made it clear that British viewers - just like their Oprah-guided US counterparts - were keen to have favourite stars suggest books. This week, the couple announced a new literary campaign: to discover and launch a budding novelist. And they're offering a £50,000 contract with Macmillan. The show will, for the next five weeks, take viewers on a tour through the publishing process. Would-be novelists, who must be over 16, need to submit a sample chapter plus a synopsis of around four pages by 15 October and must, if chosen, complete their book by the end of April 2005. Throughout the process, the winner will be in the safe hands of editor Maria Rejt, whose discoveries include Minette Walters and Donna Leon.

* Next Tuesday, the moment George Bush and the clan have dreaded comes to pass: Kitty Kelley's The Family: the real story of the Bush Dynasty will be published worldwide (by Bantam in the UK). The book has taken more than four years, and Bush can be sure Kitty's left no stone unturned - and that no turn will be left unstoned.

* Many congratulations to the three young victors in our competition, in association with Waterstone's, to write a review of a Jacqueline Wilson novel and win a visit to London to meet the author herself. The overall winner was Kathryn Webb of Sheffield, with runners-up Polly Malloch of Perthshire and Holly Jeffery-Goodall of Hampshire also booking their trip.