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Man of many talents: Graham Norton's new novel is out now

Graham Norton: You see friends who don't work and they go a bit Billy bonkers, it's not very healthy... I'd just like to keep carrying on while I am still enjoying myself 

Admiring the London skyline from his publisher's impressive offices, Graham Norton looks tanned, trim and ready to resume work after a long summer break. As well as being the most popular chat-show host in the country and one of the nation's favourite agony uncles, he's now ingratiating himself with the UK's literary glitterati, having just penned his second novel, A Keeper, following the best-selling success of his first, Holding.

Class act: author and teacher Wendy Erskine

How a teacher’s book of short stories, all set in her native east Belfast and inspired by the likes of Smash Hits, is already one of the year’s standout debuts 

It’s certainly a quotation that catches the eye. On the back of  Strathearn English teacher Wendy Erskine’s debut collection of short  stories are these lines: ‘There was pain and there was passion and there was no God. Some people had to wait a lifetime to find out that sort of thing, had to study and read books, gaze up at the stars. But it had been made apparent to her when she was young, it had come all in a rush when someone was whacking her with a porno mag. You might never experience that intensity of revelation ever, ever again.’

High expectations: Lauren Weisberger had a huge hit with The Devil Wears Prada, which was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway

Lauren Weisberger: 'Emily is my favourite character, she is both likeable and truthful ... that's really appealing' 

It's 15 years since The Devil Wears Prada was published, introducing us to ice queen Runway fashion editor Miranda Priestly and her assistants Andy Sachs and Emily Charlton, played in the 2006 film by Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt. "It feels so strange. It's similar to having a child. The time flies and it feels at the same time like it was yesterday and like it's been decades," says novelist Lauren Weisberger, whose hit book was loosely based on her own 10-month stint as assistant to Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour.

Playing politics: Rebecca Front

'When I was a kid, I remember my dad having people in fits of laughter ... I thought, I want to be able to do that' 

Rebecca Front - best known for playing MP Nicola Murray in hit political satire The Thick of It and Chief Superintendent Innocent in ITV's Lewis - is a great observer of the oddities of everyday life. It's a skill that's given her a bank of material for her latest collection of stories, entitled Impossible Things Before Breakfast, charting a myriad aspects of her life, from being Jewish, to dinner parties, sitting watching the stars with her son, and visiting the dentist who had "the chairside manner of a torturer".

Write on: Dame Jacqueline Wilson at home in Hertfordshire

Jacqueline Wilson: While it's wonderful that women don't feel vulnerable, it's become easy for men to be pilloried without proof... 

There can hardly be a woman under the age of 40 who doesn't love Jacqueline Wilson. From tearaway child-in-care Tracy Beaker to Victorian foundling Hetty Feather, Wilson has a knack of creating characters that have touched young female psyches for more than three decades, while attracting criticism from adults about her unsavoury subject matter, from adoption and alcoholism, to drug abuse and depression, from single parenthood and fathers in prison, to suicide and bereavement.

Staying positive: Linda Nolan

Linda Nolan: 'When my husband Brian passed away I considered suicide, but after this cancer diagnosis life feels so precious now' 

Linda Nolan has taken a lot of knocks over the years - the loss of her husband, Brian Hudson, and her sister Bernie, both to cancer, her late mother's dementia, plus her own battle with breast cancer and the shock discovery that it's returned. The secondary cancer was discovered a year ago - 11 years after she'd gone into remission - when she fractured her hip in a fall and a tumour was found.

Forgotten icon: Janet McNeill

NI author Janet McNeill penned brilliant novels with themes that foretold the Harvey Weinstein scandal and wage inequality 

In the 1930s one of the Belfast Telegraph's best-educated employees was a young woman named Janet McNeill. The paper's owner, Sir Robert Baird, would proudly introduce his university-educated secretary: "This is Miss McNeill. She knows Latin and Greek." Decades after leaving the Belfast Telegraph, Miss McNeill became more widely known as the most prominent female writer of pre-Troubles Northern Ireland. Her novels present an alternative history, from the viewpoint of women, of Northern Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, decades later, the themes of McNeill's writing and the obstacles she encountered in becoming a writer will be familiar to many of the contemporary writers published alongside her in the recent anthology The Glass Shore.

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