Cover Stories: US result; Clare Morrall's new novel

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The Independent Culture

Everyone agrees that the US presidential race is too close to call - except PublicAffairs, the Boston publishing house that will shortly bring us former US Director of Counter-Terrorism Richard Clarke's report Defeating the Jihadists.

Everyone agrees that the US presidential race is too close to call - except PublicAffairs, the Boston publishing house that will shortly bring us former US Director of Counter-Terrorism Richard Clarke's report Defeating the Jihadists. Last week it announced a January title, Election 2004. A bet-hedging subtitle runs "How Bush/Kerry won". But the blurb below, repeated by Amazon and BN.com, is much less cautious. It calls the book "an extraordinary behind-the-scenes look at the 2004 Kerry presidential victory". Let's pray that the copywriters really know something we don't.

* Clare Morrall, the Birmingham piano teacher catapulted to fame in 2003 when Astonishing Splashes of Colour made the Man Booker shortlist, has decided on a home for her next novel. Happily, Tindal Street Press, the tiny Arts Council-supported house, is not left in the cold. It will be associate publisher, with Sceptre, of Natural Flights of the Human Mind. Laura Longriff of MBA and Sceptre's Carole Welch acknowledge the debt Morrall owes to TSP, praised by the writer as "far-sighted and innovative". Welch describes the new novel, due in 2006, as "a captivating, complex and unusual love story".

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