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WOMEN who have won the Nobel Prize for Literature: 1909 Selma Lagerlof (Sweden); 1926 Grazia Deledda (Italy); 1928 Sigrid Undset (Norway); 1938 Pearl S Buck (US); 1945 Gabriela Mistral (Chile); 1966 Nelly Sachs (Sweden); 1991 Nadine Gordimer (South Africa); 1993 Toni Morrison (US)

NON-WHITES who have won the Nobel Prize for Literature: 1913 Rabindranath Tagore (India); 1968 Yasunari Kawabata (Japan); 1986 Wole Soyinka (Nigeria); 1992 Derek Walcott (Trinidad and Tobago); 1993 Toni Morrison (US)

TODAY is the feast day of Saints Eulampius and Eulampia, brother and sister martyrs in Nicodemia, c. 300AD. They survived being boiled in oil, thus moving 200 bystanders to become Christians. All were beheaded.

10 October, 1813: Giuseppe Verdi was born, the son of parents who ran an osteria in Austrian-ruled Parma. An ardent supporter of the unification of Italy, Verdi upset the censors with the nationalism of his early operas; the slaves' chorus, 'Va Pensiero', from Nabucco was seen as an anthem for the Risorgimento. At performances of his works the audience would shout his name as an acrostic for Vittorio Emmanuele Re d'Italia, first king of unified Italy.

1886: The tuxedo made its first appearance at Tuxedo Park Country Club

1897: Felix Hoffmann discovered aspirin

1913: President Roosevelt detonated blast of dynamite from White House to open Panama Canal

BIRTHDAYS. Harold Pinter, playwright, 63; Winston S Churchill, MP, 53; Midge Ure, singer, 40

DEATHS. Cyril Cusack, aged 84, Irish actor; Rory Peck, aged 36, cameraman killed in Moscow; Jim Holton, aged 42, Manchester United footballer

Say what you like about . . .

Baroness Thatcher but . . .

you could hate her without feeling sorry for her

she's a good judge of character

she could have had triplets

her book could have been called 1979-2000: The Downing Street Years

she's not a bastard

(Photograph omitted)

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