Cover Stories: Dylan's memoirs, Archer's new novel, Alistair Cooke

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The Independent Culture

Bob Dylan has finished the first volume of his memoirs, covering the early Sixties in New York. But UK publication will not be until January. For those too hungry to wait, there's a substantial appetiser in the form of Larry Sloman's account of the 1975 Rolling Thunder Tour, which found Dylan touring with such old friends as Joan Baez and Allen Ginsberg. On the Road with Bob Dylan is out from Helter Skelter.

Jeffrey Archer may now face reduced chances of parole. But Macmillan is sticking to its 7 January publication date for his new novel, Sons of Fortune. Agent Jonathan Lloyd (his other clients include Edwina Currie) has confirmed that editing – done both face-to-face and by post – is now complete. All that's required are a few conference calls, if "poor Jeffrey can get to a phone". So much for the withdrawal of privileges.

Alistair Cooke turns 94 next month and still broadcasts to 23 million, world-wide, with his Letter from America. The Letters have been collected in anthologies but, for the grand sweep, it's necessary to go back to his America: companion to a landmark TV series which – 30 years on – is being republished. Cooke stated that there would be no book unless Knopf, his US publisher, was prepared to guarantee him $500,000 over 10 years. There were nerves: Cooke accepted $400,000 over eight. But it actually earned him a staggering $2m. It's testimony to the quality of America that no changes have been made to Weidenfeld's new edition.