Cover Stories: The truth, Teresa Gorman, broadcaster memoirs, Benjamin Zephaniah

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The Independent Culture

A great week for lovers of truth, in life and literature. On Thursday, the "novelist" who in the 1990s pocketed more than $50m from his admirers at Rupert Murdoch's HarperCollins received his four-year stretch for perjury. Then, yesterday morning, the Court of Appeal refused the "historian" David Irving permission to challenge the damning judgment made at the close of his failed libel case against Professor Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books. Irving, confirmed again as a racist, anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, is now facing Penguin's hefty bill for costs.

As Michael Portillo withdrew to contemplate an artistic (and literary?) future, John Blake Publishing announced "the most outrageous political memoir" since Alan Clark's. Namely No, Prime Minister! by Teresa Gorman, one of the Maastricht refuseniks (like Iain Duncan Smith) who caused John Major so much grief. The book is advertised beside Brooklyn Beckham: the secret diary and The Cabbage Soup Diet, so it's fortunate that, as Major observed in his memoir, "Teresa was unusual among Eurosceptics, for not taking herself entirely seriously". Publication is imminent.

The ratings battle between TV news broadcasts transfers to the shops in September, as John Sergeant (ITN), George Alagiah (BBC) and Robin Oakley (CNN) publicise their memoirs. Sergeant has – in Give Me Ten Seconds (Macmillan) – "a deliciously funny'' account of his years at the Beeb, including the Thatcher "handbagging" on the steps of the embassy in Paris. In Inside Track (Bantam), Oakley (ousted by Andrew Marr) is expected to settle a few scores with Auntie, while Alagiah's A Passage to Africa (Little, Brown) mixes his childhood in Ghana and his experiences as the BBC's man in Africa.

The poet and Rastafarian Benjamin Zephaniah is taking on the issue of asylum in a young adult novel due from Bloomsbury. Refugee Boy is the story of Alern, whose mother is Eritrean and father Ethiopian. Zephaniah's first novel, Face, performed well.

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