Cover Stories: Ian McMillan; Tomi Ungerer; Going Dutch in Beijing

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The Independent Culture

* He is poet in residence at Barnsley FC, Beat poet of the Humberside police and (courtesy of the Yorkshire Planetarium) Poet in Space. Where can Ian McMillan go next? Back to his childhood. Next month, he'll launch into another kind of orbit when he publishes his verse autobiography, Talking Myself Home (John Murray). It marks another small step (or a giant leap?) in the revival of the verse memoir, a form long thought extinct. He will join a distinguished band of revivalists, from Ted Hughes (Birthday Letters) to Michael Rosen (In the Colonie).

* Who is the first living Frenchman to have a museum named after him? Not a mere cyclist, a chef or even a philosopher, but a children's illustrator. Tomi Ungerer from Strasbourg arrived in New York 50 years ago with a few dollars in his pocket, and since then has delighted children around the world with his scarily enchanting style. Next month Phaidon will re-release the book that secured his fame: The Three Robbers, published in 1962 to launch its series of new Ungerer editions. The Tomi Ungerer International Centre for Illustration, meanwhile, opened in his home town last year.

* Translation is always a delicate project, but some books are harder than others, and a travel guide that explains social niceties around the world must be tough. None-theless, Mark McCrum's handbook, Going Dutch in Beijing, is being rendered into several languages. The French version translates into Should One Kiss?, he says – and just to prove that we are two nations divided by a common language, there is also a version being translated into American.