Cover Stories: Cynthia Lennon; D B C Pierre; Astrid Lindgren Award

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The Independent Culture

The 34th London Book Fair closed this week and turned its back on Olympia. Next year, publishers will head east to the shiny Excel centre in Docklands, which will cause sophisticated New Yorkers, with a penchant for Belgravia hotels, a little local difficulty. At the final Olympia beano, Hodder lifted the veil on the autobiography of Cynthia Lennon, the late Beatle's first wife and the mother of Julian. Cynthia and John were together for 10 years and she has maintained a dignified silence through hard times. In John, due this autumn, she will write about their marriage, setting the record straight without rancour.

* Faber & Faber has acquired two further novels from reformed rascal D B C Pierre, winner of the 2003 Man Booker with Vernon God Little. The first is Ludmila's Broken English. Set in London and an ex-Soviet republic, it tells the story of separated conjoined twins and a Russian mail-order bride. Editor Lee Brackstone purrs that it "tackles issues of... global significance with humour and compassion".

* Philip Pullman shares - with Japanese illustrator Ryoji Arai - this year's Astrid Lindgren Award, set up by the Swedish state in 2002 to honour the art of writing for young people. The prize goes to work that evokes the "deeply humanistic spirit" of Lindgren, the much-loved author of Pippi Longstocking. So far, so sweetly high-minded, you might think. But look at the cheque: 2.5m. kroner, or over £190,000, to each winner. What a pleasure to see a good cause backed by big bucks for once. always, a Hitler biography at the Fair - but one with a difference, bought by John Murray. This was compiled on the orders of Stalin, published privately in 1949 and only discovered 55 years later by historian Matthias Uhl. It was written by Hitler's personal valet, and an SS adjutant, both captured by Soviet troops inside the Berlin bunker. In Moscow, they were ordered to compile a dossier of their employment in Hitler's HQ. Stalin wanted to understand his greatest enemy's psychology.