Cover Stories: Snoop Dogg turns author; Jonathan Coe wins non fiction prize; Canongate signs up Ismail Kadare

The Literator
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The Independent Culture

If Doubleday editor Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had still been with us, she would probably have been called as a defence witness in the trial of Michael Jackson. For it was she who persuaded the Gloved One to write his autobiography, Moonwalk. There is no indication yet that the cleared superstar plans a further slice of memoir. At BEA, the US book trade conclave in New York, nobody admitted to any Jackson-related plans, although at least one juror is said to be in discussions with a publisher. However, Simon & Schuster US assured those who did well with Chronicles that Bob Dylan is working on volume two. S&S also bragged about a seven-book deal with Snoop Dogg. The reformed rapster is keen to set a good example to street kids and the books will be based on his life.

Though much fêted on the Continent, Jonathan Coe has always had an absurdly hard time getting major novels - such as What a Carve Up! - on to the shortlists for UK prizes. Then he turns to non-fiction, labours mightily over an experimental biography of avant-garde writer/film-maker B S Johnson and - hey presto! - Like a Fiery Elephant snatches the £30,000 Samuel Johnson Prize. For Johnson to win the Johnson sounds like a Coe joke, but - as he said at the Savoy on Tuesday - it's also rather apt. BS worshipped Samuel, and even made an LWT film about his namesake. Time for a showing, Lord Bragg?

The antennae of Jamie Byng of Canongate are always in "receive" mode. So it's not surprising that, even before the news that Ismail Kadare had won the inaugural Man Booker International Prize, the Scots indie had signed up the Albanian maestro's next two novels. Harvill Secker, which had worked with Kadare before, is now reprinting his backlist fiction, as is Saqi Books. The author will visit Edinburgh to receive his award on 27 June and hopes to return next spring, when Canongate publishes The Successor.