Cover stories: ChavLit; Coleen McLoughlin; London Book Fair

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The Independent Culture

The culture of celebrity dominates TV screens, many newspapers and magazines and, ever-increasingly, bookshops. Here the fad is no longer ChickLit but ChavLit, on which Random House has announced "a drive". Riding high on the second volume of Jordan's memoirs, it will shortly launch the first of her two "novels". This week it also signed Chantelle for a ton of money. Jade Goody has topped the charts for HarperCollins. Penguin has splashed out on a self-improvement manual by Victoria Beckham, while Orion has bought a second autobiography from Welsh warbler Charlotte Church (above). Hodder has just acquired Billie Piper, Dr Who's sidekick. And Pan Macmillan has signed yet another Osbourne, Jack.

* There's even more... HarperCollins has now confirmed that Coleen McLoughlin will write not one but two books. Belinda Budge, currently non-fiction MD, describes her as "a huge inspiration". But to whom? She and the injured Wayne Rooney are apparently enjoying cosy evenings over soaps and takeaways. Which could mean that, instead of a World Cup diary, the England striker will soon be providing a diet book.

* Scarcely had the opening shots been fired when the book-fair war was over. Frankfurt thought it had the London Book Fair in the bag, announcing dates for a rival Earls Court event to Reed's ExCeL exhibition. But they have now been gazumped. It appears that Reed went to EC&O Communications, who own Earls Court and Olympia (the LBF's old home) and simply offered to sign a deal, with cash on the line. The Germans had agreed only in principle, and had lacked the conviction to put down a deposit. The result was that the Brits got their towel down first. Reed is quiet but smug. The rumour is that the deal with Earls Court was sealed with a promise that Reed would bring back to the Kensington venues other fairs it moved to ExCeL. EC&O had more to gain by shafting the Germans than the Brits.

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