Cover Stories: Roy Jenkins; rubber ducks; Rebecca Frayn

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

While the literati assembled for the Man Booker on Tuesday, some of yesterday's men and women - so much better than today's politicians - trekked to the Royal Geographical Society for OUP's launch of Roy Jenkins: a Retrospective, edited by Andrew Adonis and Keith Thomas with contributions from Alan Watkins, Asa Briggs and Robert Harris.

While the literati assembled for the Man Booker on Tuesday, some of yesterday's men and women - so much better than today's politicians - trekked to the Royal Geographical Society for OUP's launch of Roy Jenkins: a Retrospective, edited by Andrew Adonis and Keith Thomas with contributions from Alan Watkins, Asa Briggs and Robert Harris. The star turn was none other than Tony Blair who, in the halcyon days of New Labour, was pleased to pay tribute to the great man. But Lord J surely spun in his grave as the PM, having joined the Tories in blaming our ills on the permissive Sixties, recalled Jenkins as a great reforming Home Secretary. He wisely didn't mention Jenkins's ardour for electoral reform.

* Tomorrow, at 3.30pm, Radio 4 is broadcasting a documentary, hosted by the poet John Hegley, on Eric Carle's best-loved book: his 1984 tale of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The author has, in his next novel, found inspiration in a real-life event: the flotilla of rubber ducks lost overboard from a container ship in dirty Pacific weather back in 1992. 10 Little Rubber Ducks is due from HarperCollins in February and will chronicle the voyage taken by a few of the 29,000 bath-tub toys whose adventures have taught oceanographers valuable lessons about tides and currents. Washed overboard off the Alaskan coast, some have appeared on European coasts and the shores of Hawaii.

* Rebecca Frayn, daughter of Michael, will shortly make her debut as a novelist. The Dream Factory, about life, love and infertility, has been bought by Simon & Schuster, who praise "a wonderfully compelling plot and a very unexpected twist". The author works in TV and "starred" briefly - as a photograph - in the film Love, Actually.

Comments