Modern Writers | Interviews with remarkable authors
CHANNEL | BBC Television Service
FIRST BROADCAST | 21 December 1958
DURATION | 6 minutes 33 seconds
Five years after his return to live at King's College, Cambridge, where he had been a student, EM Forster is shown in his rooms and other locations around the town as he talks about his life and writing. Forster describes how Cambridge played a significant role in his origins as a novelist and emphasises the importance to his writing of leaving the area and seeking out new people and experiences. He dismisses the idea that he is a great novelist, but does talk about the aspirations he has for his work, namely that it reflects the high value he attaches to personal relationships, tolerance and, perhaps most importantly, pleasure.
Forster was a life-long champion of humanist, liberal values. He was a conscientious objector during World War I and, instead of fighting, worked with the Red Cross to trace missing soldiers. In the 1930s, he was part of the intellectual movement, which opposed the rise of fascism and sought to safeguard liberal values. Once World War II had broken out, Forster broadcast radio talks for the BBC. These attracted huge audiences, who listened to his arguments for freedom and tolerance and his pleas that the post-war world would be free of bitterness and revenge.
Virginia Woolf describes the mysterious demands and duplicity of words.
Malcolm Muggeridge quizzes Somerset Maugham on his top ten novels.
The importance of creating strong characters in fiction.
The writer ponders the success of 'Lucky Jim' and his latest novels.
John Lehmann explores the 'brave new world' of Aldous Huxley.
The creator of Jeeves and Wooster talks about his writing life.
EM Forster, in Cambridge, reflects on his life and work.
Arthurian legend and English traditions explored.
The author of 'Lord of the Flies' discusses his work and influences.
'I'm a person who rather thrives on being a foreigner.'
John Wyndham discusses the nature of evil in his novels.
Debating the artistic conflict between freedom and form.
Strong opinions from the author of 'The Alexandria Quartet'.
The author of 'I, Claudius' converses with Malcolm Muggeridge.
The false and lonely world of the writer.
A portrait of the artist as a young woman.
The views of the author and Oxford's students on Tolkien's Middle-earth epics.
A rare interview with Daphne du Maurier.
Braine's passionate defence of the ordinary and the suburban.
Muriel Spark talks to W Gordon Smith at her elegant home in Rome.
Truth and sadness in fiction.
The novelist, journalist, literary critic and feminist talks about her life and loves.
Melvyn Bragg talks to John Fowles at his home in Lyme Regis.
Melvyn Bragg meets the author of 'The Ipcress File'.
Moving on from short stories to novels.
Doris Lessing describes a life spent in unwilling judgement of civilisation's flaws.
Can Dr Anthony Clare cure Beryl Bainbridge's case of writer's block?
Paul Allen speaks to the creator of 'Billy Liar'.
The emotional forces driving the work of Anthony Burgess.
Studying the secrets revealed by tragedy.
Refusing to write about the bourgeoisie and their cleaning ladies.
The making of a modern novelist.
The perception and scrutiny that drive a great writer.
Jeanette Winterson talks openly to Jeremy Isaacs.
'The novelist of her generation who will last.'
The Booker Prize-winner and art critic discusses his work.
The Booker Prize-winning novelist discusses her work.
The author of 'Moon Tiger' discusses her work.
A wide-ranging interview with the author of 'Birdsong'.
Philip Pullman explains 'His Dark Materials'.
James Naughtie speaks to Salman Rushdie about 'Midnight's Children'.
Yann Martel speaks about his award-winning book 'Life of Pi'.
The author of 'The Regeneration Trilogy' talks about her books.
A wide-ranging interview with the Nobel Prize-winning author of 'Beloved'.
Andrew Marr interviews Kazuo Ishiguro.
The novelist discusses 'The Buddha of Suburbia'.
The 'chick-lit' writer talks frankly about her life and career.
The author of 'Brick Lane' on sudden success and the myth of the difficult second novel.
Zina Saro-Wiwa interviews writer David Mitchell.
The author of 'Notes on a Scandal' discusses what fiction is all about.
Philip Dodd speaks to Zadie Smith, author of 'White Teeth'.
The writer looks back over his life and prolific career.
The author discusses why thinking matters just as much as feeling.
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