Cover Stories: Penguin work towards new objectives; Political memoirs from Sir Menzies Campbell; Tony Parsons' life as a hip young journo

The Literator
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The Independent Culture

Political memoirs have become something of a debased currency in recent years – even Mo Mowlam's and Betty Boothroyd's failed to set the world alight, while Clare Short's failed to bring down the government. But it's good news that Sir Menzies "Ming" Campbell is to spend a few months with his word processor, for the Deputy Leader of the LibDems is a man of wit and intellectual rigour. His memoir, scheduled for next autumn, will recall not just his years in the House but also his time as an Olympic athlete. Happily, his agent for the project was Maggie Pearlstine, the partner of his old friend Roy Hattersley.

Tony Parsons is also at work on a memoir of sorts – Stories We Could Tell, a novel set in August 1977, the summer of punk and of the death of Elvis, and described as "deeply personal". Indeed, it recalls a time when Parsons, along with the now establishment columnist Julie Burchill, were "the hip young gungslingers" of New Musical Express. The first novel in a new and extremely lucrative contract with HarperCollins, it will be published in 2007, 30 years on from the events described in the novel.