Cover Stories: John Major; RNIB's Right to Read; Great Northern Books

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The Independent Culture

*John Major's been quiet of late, much of his time doubtless taken up with the money-making activities of the Carlyle Group. The former PM has also been busy writing a history of cricket for HarperCollins. More Than a Game will examine its origins and role, "from the days of the great patrons to the death of WG Grace". Cricket, claims Major, is "an export as potent as the English language itself". Discuss.

*The RNIB's Right to Read initiative has done much to tackle the acute shortage of books available to the blind and partially sighted. Perhaps no group feels more excluded than children, so it is good news that the new novel by Children's Laureate Jacqueline Wilson is available in large print, unabridged audio, Braille and Daisy Talking Book, as well as a regular edition. Starring Tracy Beaker (Random House) marks the first time a book has been published in all formats, to Wilson's delight: "Blind and partially sighted children should enjoy the same rich library as everybody else."

*Great Northern Books, the Ilkley- based specialist in books of Yorkshire interest, is publishing the first new edition of a novel by JB Priestley in 12 years. Indeed, Bright Day will be the only Priestley novel currently in print. The new hardback will also include a biography and literary tour of Bradford, the model for Priestley's Bruddersford. Son Tom Priestley and Margaret Drabble write forewords, while Melvyn Bragg, Alan Bennett, Denis Healey and David Hockney contribute to a section on "what Priestley means to me". Great Northern managing director Barry Cox asks, quite reasonably, why such an important writer has been allowed to go out of print.

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