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Bridget, armed with the Bible

London, Jan. 20 (Reuters): For fun-loving singleton Bridget Jones, sex, cigarettes and chardonnay make the world go round.

For the deeply devout Kemi Smith, the Bible is her best friend and sex before marriage is a mammoth guilt trip.

With her debut novel, Nigerian writer Abidemi Sanusi has created a Christian Bridget Jones for whom the power of prayer, not partying, is what life is all about. Welcome to the world of 'Christian Chick Lit'. The genre, echoing the rise of the Christian Right, is big business in the US.

Now, with the publication of Kemi's Journal of Life, Love and Everything' by human rights worker Sanusi, Britain could be tempted by this 'comfort food for the saved'.

Bridget Jones, Helen Fielding's angst-ridden creation, struck a chord with women worldwide when published in 1996. Two films based on her roller-coaster love life, starring Renee Zellweger, were box office hits.

Hollywood has not yet beckoned, but Sanusi lives in hope on the eve of her debut novel being published in Britain. 'I would love it to be made into a film but on one condition ' I write the screenplay.' A great admirer of Fielding's confessional diary technique, Sanusi said:'It appeals to the voyeur and is an easy format to empathise with.'

The chasm between Kemi and Bridget is a yawning one. Kemi does not smoke or drink and sex stirs the conscience as much as the heart.

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