Cover Stories: Independent ahead on Orange; Arvon Poetry Competition; Peter Jackson; Bill Clinton's keynote speech

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The Independent Culture

Much confusion this week in the out-of-touch newspapers which deemed Andrea Levy's well-deserved Orange Prize win to be a major "literary upset" for a "low-rated novel" by a rank outsider. Independent readers who enjoyed Christie Hickman's profile of Levy back in February will have been much better informed. The Orange victory, for her novel of migration and settlement Small Island, also gives a timely boost to Hodder Headline's excellent Review imprint, in which Levy stars with writers such as Maggie O'Farrell, Sue Gee and Susie Boyt.

Much confusion this week in the out-of-touch newspapers which deemed Andrea Levy's well-deserved Orange Prize win to be a major "literary upset" for a "low-rated novel" by a rank outsider. Independent readers who enjoyed Christie Hickman's profile of Levy back in February will have been much better informed. The Orange victory, for her novel of migration and settlement Small Island, also gives a timely boost to Hodder Headline's excellent Review imprint, in which Levy stars with writers such as Maggie O'Farrell, Sue Gee and Susie Boyt.

Aspiring poets can enter the 12th Arvon International Poetry Competition: the cost is £7 per poem, and all money goes towards supporting attendees on Arvon courses. The first winner, in 1980, was Andrew Motion, now Poet Laureate, and the first prize is now £5,000. The closing date is 12 August. Details at www.arvonfoundation.org

Having completed the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the director Peter Jackson is at work on a version of King Kong. But when that's in the can, the multi-Oscar winner will embark on an adaptation of Alice Sebold's best-selling The Lovely Bones.

The big event at Chicago's BookExpoAmerica last weekend was Bill Clinton's keynote speech. He spoke for 45 minutes (twice as long as planned) and mesmerised hearers with his proud advocacy of books and libraries. He promised "lots of personal stuff" in his memoirs but said the imminent volume was really "the story of America and my own little part in it". He talked, too, about the need to protect free speech and the risks of the USA Patriot Act, which went down well with his left-leaning book-business audience of 3,000.

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