Culture in brief

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The new Hemingway

The fourth posthumous novel by Ernest Hemingway will be published next year by Scribner's in New York. True at First Light is a "fictional memoir" set on an African safari and includes a love story which refers, possibly, to a genuine romance pursued by the author during his final trip to Africa. At that time, Hemingway was married to his fourth wife, Mary Welsh, and True at First Light was one of four incomplete manuscripts she carried out of Cuba in 1963. Sections of the novel were published by Sports Illustrated 30 years ago, but the full manuscript has never been released. Edited by Hemingway's son, Patrick, it will be part of next year's numerous celebrations planned to mark the hundredth anniversary of the author's birth.

Diana in the net

Today's special Diana night on Channel 5 will be followed by the launch of a BBC anniversary website to celebrate the life of the former princess, one year on. There will be a "virtual tour" of Althorp, and "highlights" from last summer's funeral procession through London. At the centre of the website will be a space called "Your Thoughts", to give browsers the opportunity to e-mail their own thoughts on last year's events.

Titanic, the video

Titanic continues to make a larger-than-life splash. The success of the film in the cinema was such that the originally optimistic predictions for video sales were being revised downwards. Not any longer. Paramount Home Video has so far taken orders for more than 20 million copies. The Lion King holds the record video sale, with 30 million copies. Video sales declined last year and the industry is looking to Titanic to save them from sinking any further.

Antony and Alan

Alan Rickman will play Antony to Helen Mirren's Cleopatra at the National Theatre in October, in Sean Matthias's production of Shakespeare's play. The part of Antony was originally offered to Alan Bates, who has been forced out by a knee injury.

The Millennium Bragg

A major new end-of-the-century television series, provisionally entitled Christian Millennium, will be fronted by Lord Bragg (and produced by London Weekend Television, of which Lord Bragg is Controller of Arts). In 20 hour-long episodes, the series will cover the 2,000 years of Christian history and will take the form of a brief film followed by a studio debate.

Visiting history

This week, a report revealed that 71 million people visited historic properties in England last year - a 2 per cent increase on the previous year. The English Tourist Board estimates that numbers this year will be even higher. David Quarmby, chairman of the ETB, attributed the increase to "new facilities, refurbishment and interpretations encouraging more people to visit historic properties". The most popular free building was Westminster Abbey, which drew 2.5 million visitors. For anyone who sees church visiting as a declining sport, that is roughly double the number of people who go to see Man Utd play at Old Trafford each season.

The Sky Duchess

The Duchess of York is to host her own talk show on Sky One from October. The programme, produced by Prospect Pictures, is provisionally titled Surviving Life, and will be a series of 10 one-hour programmes about people and the problems they face in society today. The Duchess's appearance fee will be donated to designated charities relevant to each show.

Safety in the air

Multinational corporations are rarely noted for their delicacy in religious matters, but British Airways has announced some unusually precise measures to protect Orthodox Jewish passengers on its flights. The airline's efforts were applauded warmly in the Jewish Chronicle, which wrote: "Strictly orthodox passengers flying to Israel with British Airways are being protected against the possibility of mid-air moral corruption. The airline is providing special seating arrangements on its 15 weekly Tel Aviv flights from Gatwick and Heathrow which place the in-flight movie screen out of eyeshot of Orthodox passengers. BA also now endeavours to ensure that strictly Orthodox males are not seated next to females other than family."

Scottish reels

A substantial grant (pounds 377,000) from the Heritage Lottery Fund will enable more than 13,000 rolls of film containing precious footage from Scotland's cultural and historical past to be aired. The films belong to the Scottish Television Archive, but have not been viewed before. The oldest piece of moving-picture imagery in the collection shows the Gordon Highlanders leaving Aberdeen to go to South Africa for the Boer War in 1899.

Moscow mourns Schnittke

Russia's art world paid its respects last week to the composer Alfred Schnittke in a ceremony at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Schnittke died in Hamburg at the age of 63, and was laid to rest as part of the central lineage of Russian music. He was compared to Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. The mourning was led by the Prime Minister, Sergei Kiryenko. The Minister of Culture, Natalya Dementyeva, apologised for the "neglect" that Schnittke had suffered in the Soviet period.

Trouble in Notting Hill

The Notting Hill Carnival is having a particularly difficult time this year mounting its end-of-August jamboree in west London. Following the withdrawal of Nestle as a sponsor and Kiss FM's decision not to host a live stage show at the event, Radio 1 FM has also pulled out due to fears about safety.

Withnail for sale

Admirers of the film Withnail and I will soon have the opportunity to buy Sleddale Hall, the 18th-century cottage where the film was shot in 1986. The building stands in hundreds of acres of Cumbrian countryside and has been derelict for years despite a steady flow of visitors lured by its evocative, ramshackle appearance in the film. The vendors, North West Water, will consider any "sensible" offer for the property. Viewing is recommended.

Paperback driver

A bus driver on London's 159 route between Brixton and Oxford Circus has sold his first novel and the film rights to it for a rumoured pounds 1 million. Magnus Mills's book, The Restraint of Beasts, follows the fortunes of two Scottish labourers against their employer. It has been bought by Flamingo, which published last year's Booker prize winning novel, The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. Publishing gossip likens Mills to Kazuo Ishiguro and Paul Auster. The book will be published next month.