Cover Stories: 'Kafka versus the Novel'; John F Kennedy; Umberto Eco

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The Independent Culture

Zadie Smith meets Franz Kafka? It happens at 7.30pm next Wednesday, 3 September, in the Jewish Quarterly's Jacob Sonntag Memorial Lecture at the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London W1. Zadie Smith will talk on "Kafka versus the Novel", chaired by The Independent's Boyd Tonkin. Tickets are £10 (students: £5) at the door or from 020-8343 4675.

Next month, Robert Dallek's John F Kennedy (Allen Lane) will offer an informed, intimate account of the late president. Now, HarperCollins has bought rights in the professor's next project: a dual biography of Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. As with JFK, Dallek will use papers newly available from the National Archives and Library of Congress. The study will take some years to write, by which time even Kissinger may be beyond recourse to libel lawyers.

Italians hoping for a career in publishing can apply for a two-year course at the University of Bologna taught by none other than Umberto Eco. The professor and author felt he needed to address the fact that, in Italy as elsewhere, there is a lack of editorial craft. Eco received 1,500 applications for just 30 places, and has also set up scholarships.