Cover Stories: Ralph Steadman; New Writing Ventures; Orange Prize

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* Fans of the late Hunter S Thompson will be able to hear talking about his former partner in crime at this year's Port Eliot Lit Fest, held in St Germans, Saltash, Cornwall, from 22 - 24 July. A weekend of "words, music, magic, dancing, film, food and fairytales" is promised, all amid hundreds of acres of 18th century woodland where, for £55, you can pitch a tent. Steadman will "don his Hunter S Thompson outfit and summon the spirit of his old friend with readings from unpublished work". Other star turns include Louis de Bernieres, Hari Kunzru, Ali Smith, and Toby Litt. More details at

* A new series of annual awards for emerging writers of fiction, literary non-fiction and poetry has been announced. New Writing Ventures is the result of a partnership between the New Writing Partnership and Arts Council England and the winners in each of the three categories will receive £5,000 plus "development opportunities" provided by the Arts Council. The awards are "designed to help launch the careers of writers who are expected to make an impact on the world of books, writers and readers in the coming years". Only writers who have not enjoyed a dedicated publication of their work are eligible. The deadline for submissions is 1 July - further details from

* This week's Orange Prize awards offered much cause for celebration. Lionel Shriver's victory was a triumph for true grit in the face of repeated rejection, while Diana Evans's scoop of the inaugural award for New Writers was a just acknowlegement of a newish talent. A graduate of the UEA Creative Writing MA, Evans has been writing in these pages for some years.