Arts and Entertainment

Every week another literary shortlist is announced, a judging panel revealed, a couple of longlists named, with a juicily controversial omission or a tediously predictable inclusion. But if The Parrots is to be believed, none is more significant than The Prize, the loftiest of all literary accolades, for which there are just three men in contention. They are The Beginner, The Writer and The Master. And for each of these men, the outcome really, really matters. In the Italian writer Filippo Bologna's smart new novel, we watch the three finalists in the countdown to the big announcement.

Football: Bologna to test terror trio

ITALIAN LEAGUE

Italian Football: Sharpe may face Bologna for Platt

SAMPDORIA, THE Genoan club "supervised" by David Platt (he does not hold the requisite coaching qualification), host Bologna in tomorrow's live Channel 4 game in Serie A. Platt, who signed Lee Sharpe on loan from Leeds on Tuesday, will be hoping for better luck than on Wednesday, when Samp lost 1-0 to Fiorentina, the league leaders.

Basketball: Bologna cash in on NBA lock-out

ENGLAND'S Michael Olowokandi will begin his professional career in Italy with Kinder Bologna instead of the United States because of the ongoing labour dispute which is threatening to force the cancellation of the National Basketball Association (NBA) season.

A short break in ... Bologna

An historic, elegant, vibrant Italian city that isn't swarming with tourists? Jane Drinkwater tells of the joys of having a museum all to herself, of tasting Italy's finest food without having to book, and of shopping for more than just souvenirs

Basketball: Hansell making his mark in Italy

STEVEN HANSELL, Hands-worth born but now a transatlantic and continental version of a Brummie, was back in the second city this week to play for England as one of four squad members currently plying their trade with Italian clubs.

Football: Signori steers Bologna through

BOLOGNA BEAT Slavia Prague 2-0 with two late goals in their second round, second leg Uefa Cup match in Prague yesterday, advancing to the third round by a 4-1 aggregate margin.

Football: The Guy who would never do a Graham

Andrew Warshaw talks to continental coaches about the morality of moving

European Football: Inter humbled by Masinga

The day after his former club, Leeds, were beaten by Sheffield Wednesday, Phil Masinga humbled Internazionale by scoring the only goal in Bari's victory over the Italian league leaders.

Rugby Union: Italians can add a dash of style

Paul Trow finds that a trip to Rome will be hard for players but great for the fans

Red Brigades: Decade of violence

The 1970s are known as Italy's Years of Lead - a reference not only to the bullets that flew with alarming regularity, but also to the oppressive atmosphere that weighed down the whole country. These are some of the key events of those years:

Football: Former rock singer and American property tycoon seek Portsmouth talks

A former rock musician and an American property tycoon may join forces in an attempt to take control of Portsmouth Football Club. Mark Pierson reports

Basketball: Amaechi sparks off salary debate

The England captain John Amaechi's readiness to return to the Budweiser League for the remainder of the season, from the rich pickings of continental basketball, has reopened the debate on the domestic salary cap which restricts the clubs' total wage bill.

Food & Drink: Passions - Let's talk tripe

Simon Hopkinson celebrates a few of his favourite things. Photographs by Jason Lowe

Knocking on Heaven's Door (but the Pope didn't seem to be listening)

An improbable double act got together for a gig in Bologna. But, writes Andrew Gumbel, the stars of the stage show, the Pontiff and Bob Dylan, found the clash of cultures less than 'fantastico'.

Blazevic braces for Bosnia

Robert Prosinecki will miss Croatia's key World Cup qualifier against Bosnia in Zagreb today - a match the home side must win to keep alive their hopes of a place in next year's finals in France.
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