Friday 04 February 2005 01:02

The Pope, in hospital this week, has shown an ardour to publish his latest pontifications sooner rather than later. The talk of last year's Frankfurt Book Fair, Memory and Identity will be John Paul II's fifth book since his election in 1978. It is not a memoir, though it does include a chapter on the 1981 attempt on his life. Essentially, this is a philosophical enquiry which grew out of the Vienna Institute of Human Sciences: "think tanks" over 15 years on summer weekends at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome. The book is due from Weidenfeld on 9 March.

As rail executives stand trial for manslaughter over the Hatfield crash in 2000, distinguished author Nina Bawden - whose husband Austen Kark was killed at Potters Bar, 18 months later - is publishing a book on the fate of Britain's railways. Dear Austen, due from Time Warner next month, is, according to the author, "a letter to my husband", a former BBC executive, and an indictment of those who run the railways. She explains how, despite her serious injuries, she came to be cast as spokeswoman for the victims.

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