Cover Stories: Sean Connery's memoirs; the American presidency; fine wine

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The Independent Culture

Sean Connery, the best James Bond, has finally decided to write his memoirs. In recent years, multimillion-dollar offers have turned up - but there's never been any indication that the actor was tempted. Now, Connery has signed with the legendary Mort Janklow - whose clients include Barbara Taylor Bradford and the Pope - and the agent will shortly be putting the project up for auction. Connery has a seemingly unlikely co-writer: Meg Henderson, a fellow Scot whose novels include Second Sight and Bloody Mary. The two have known each other for years via charity work.

* Books alone will not unseat Bush the Younger, but they are helping to set the agenda between now and the US election. Into the fray in September will step James Naughtie, the voice of Today and the author of The Rivals, a study of the contest for the keys to Number 10. He is at work on The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency, which will look at this least likely of alliances. It also asks: if John Kerry wins, how will Blair get along with a president with ideas in stark contrast to Bush's? The cover will feature a dollar bill - Abe's face replaced by Tony's.

* Oddbins' customers will recall all those marvellous catalogues by cartoonist Ralph Steadman. They were the brainchild of the wine merchant's then marketing guru, Gordon Kerr. He spent a decade at Waterstone's before joining Bloomsbury's reference division. Now, Kerr is to set up his own communications company, Vox. His first project, Untrodden Grapes, will be a companion volume to Steadman's 1993 opus, The Grapes of Ralph, chronicling the travels he and the cartoonist took. "We were paid to go to exotic locations and drink fine wine," Kerr remembers fondly.