Arts and Entertainment Roddy Doyle and Roy Keane as 'The Commitments' author Doyle has signed a deal to work with Keane to write the footballer's autobiography

Roddy Doyle, author of "The Commitments", has signed a deal to work with Roy Keane on the controversial ex-footballer’s latest autobiography.

The Judges' verdict: `I work it out to be pounds 2.70 an hour'

PRESENT AND former judges of the Booker Prize agreed that reading the 120 or so titles required to compile a shortlist for the award was an experience they would never wish to repeat.

Winner attacks Booker for its `miserly' awards

BOOKER, THE food wholesaler that sponsors Britain's most famous literary prize, has damaged the prestige of the award by its "miserly" behaviour, a former winner of the prize said yesterday.

The bard of Barrytown: Profile: Roddy Doyle

Just after the publication of The Woman Who Walked Into Doors in 1996, Roddy Doyle was standing in a bookshop when he was approached by the proprietor. "Could you do me a favour?" he asked. Sure, said Doyle, thinking the man wanted a book signed. "Next time," said the man, "would you write a comedy? Booksellers prefer it."

Murdoch's brain used for research

THE BRAIN of Dame Iris Murdoch has been donated for research into Alzheimer's disease, according to the wishes of the Booker prize- winning author and philosopher. Dame Iris died aged 79 in February after suffering from the illness for four years.

The Books Interview: Barry Unsworth - Grey skies and blue seas

High ideals and happy toil led Barry Unsworth from a Durham pit village to Umbria's hills. By Charles Nicholl

Comment: Sex - the anti-social force that challenges all the rules

Natasha Walter's Notebook

Music to his ears

First the fatwa, now a rock star: Salman Rushdie, U2's latest lyricist, explains himself in this week's `Arena'

Books: A Week in Books - Posterity makes dunces of critics - and judges

ONE OF the unexpected joys of judging the Booker Prize (as I will this year) is to watch the media take all the decisions for you, long months in advance. Every cultural tipster that I run across now writes with vast assurance that this year's last-ditch battle will pit Salman Rushdie against Vikram Seth. A tabloid even topped its review of one of these with "The Booker Prize winner 1999". Maybe the house astrologer has to write the headlines too.

Books: A woman not much taken with adultery

Elisa Segrave comes to admire a plain tale of passion and its price

Widdecombe the novelist nets pounds 100,000

THE REHABILITATION of Ann Widdecombe, the Tory health spokesman once branded "Doris Karloff" by the tabloids, appeared complete last night when it was announced she had secured an advance of pounds 100,000 for her first two novels from Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

McEwan up for top prize

THE BOOKER PRIZE winner Ian McEwan has been shortlisted for the pounds 85,000 Impac literary award, the world's richest literary prize.

Roll up for Rushdie and Seth prize-fight

SALMAN RUSHDIE and Vikram Seth are to be pitched against each other in the contest for this year's Booker Prize, in a continuation of the literary world's passionate affair with the Anglo-Indian novel.

Books: Why it's never the one that everyone wants

The Russian Booker Prize causes as many arguments as its British counterpart. Helen Womack reports

Books: The ancient groper's tale

James Urquhart dives with pleasure into a gentle fishy parable

Cultural Comment: Nervous moments in the prize war

I observed this year's Booker Prize with more than usual interest, and not just because it broke my five-year run of correctly predicted winners (like seemingly everybody else at the dinner, I'd tipped Beryl Bainbridge). This year I'm a Whitbread judge, and although the shortlist is not announced until this Friday (on BBC2's Bookworm programme, 7.30pm), by the time I sat down to my mozzarella and sundried-tomato starter in the Guildhall on Tuesday night, I already knew the identity of the winner of the Whitbread Novel Award.
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