Cover Stories: Jeffrey Archer, Anthony Howard, The Big Read

* It appears likely that summer will be spoiled by the release from so-called prison of Jeffrey Archer. His publisher Macmillan hasn't quite dared to plan publicity, but is advertising a second helping of prison porridge, Wayland Purgatory. God preserve us from a third volume of memoirs, but presumably it would be Grantchester Heaven. Macmillan will be praying Archer's springing will help shift a few more copies of his novel, Sons of Fortune.

* Anthony Howard is not, perhaps, the most obvious choice of biographer for the late Cardinal Basil Hume. But Howard – a canon's son, author of books on Butler and Crossman, and Michael Heseltine's amanuensis – has been appointed by the Archbishop of Westminster's office. Headline will publish in 2005; the editor sees Hume as "a man able to inspire people of all faiths with his wisdom and goodness".

* Inevitably, the latest BBC exercise in vox pop, The Big Read, is to have a tie-in book. The only mystery is why the BBC's own publishing arm isn't handling it. Mark Harrison, BBC TV's creative director, has lavished praise on Dorling Kindersley, who will. DK will publish The Big Read Book of Books in November, coinciding with the climactic moment in the survey of our favourite novels – which, in the manner of Great Britons, will probably pit Noddy against War and Peace.

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