Cover stories: Frankfurt Book Fair; Clancey on terrorism; Poetry Day; Archer

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The Independent Culture

In just over a week's time, the Frankfurt Book Fair will draw thousands of publishers from around the world, not least New York. No one is yet sure of the extent to which military action could put real life on hold, but so far the Americans are showing remarkable sang froid. Hardly any are letting the events of 11 September stand in their way. The Fair will take place amid heightened security, as it did in the 1970s when the threat came from the Baader Meinhof guerrilla group.

Bestseller Tom Clancey spent a week bouncing from one US TV studio to another, discussing how one of his plots – in which a plane is flown at the White House – suddenly became grim reality. It seems unlikely that the terrorists needed any help, but perhaps troops waiting to be sent into Afghanistan could use a bit of inspiration from Ranulph Fiennes. His latest novel, The Secret Hunters – due from Little, Brown next month – takes its cue from a postwar group whose goal it was to hunt down evil-doers and bring them to justice.

The annual batch of awards for translation, on Monday, featured a timely victor in the French section. Barbara Bray won for her version of On Identity (Harvill) by the Lebanese-French writer Amin Maalouf – a wise and humane argument against tribalism of all kinds. The British Centre for Literary Translation at UEA, which co-ordinates the awards, has produced a handsome free sampler of recent translated literature, Rearranging the World; it's available from the Centre at: literarytranslation.com

There are still tickets left for one of the highlights of National Poetry Day this Thursday: the reading at St Paul's, Covent Garden, with Andrew Motion, Simon Armitage, Lavinia Greenlaw and Hugo Williams. It's called "Here to Eternity", the title of the Poet Laureate's new anthology, and starts at 7pm. Tickets (£5, £4 concs) include a glass of wine; available from Borders on 020-7379 8877. Haiku lovers can mark the big day by trying to win a trip to next year's Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in our competition; for details, see page 10.

The word is that Lord Archer is "wonderfully perky" inside, and working "intensively" on a novel, even though engaging in business (which he is surely doing) is forbidden to those residing at Her Majesty's Pleasure. A second career beckons: he is spending all his free time and excess energy making pots. Perhaps to put money in.

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