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Shereen: crime writing and talking points

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Shereen Nanjiani Shereen Nanjiani | 13:00 UK time, Friday, 16 March 2012

For this week's programme I've been speaking to Scottish crime writer Alex Gray. Alex tells me she wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She got her first story published in Bunty when she was nine and wrote her first novel at twelve. But life took her along various interesting paths before she came back to her vocation: she was a founding member of the famous Battlefield Band, she had a spell living in Zimbabwe, she worked for the DSS, trained as a teacher, and sang in a choir.

It was a meeting in the Black Isle with PD James that made her realise that crime writing was what she wanted to do. And she's been pretty successful at it. Her books, exploring Glasgow's gritty underbelly, have been compared to Ian Rankin's. She's such a nice woman that it's hard to imagine her knowing anything about the seedier side of life, but she's meticulous in her research and has spent a lot of time speaking to police, prisoners, and prostitutes to give her stories an authenticity. Her latest book has the Deputy First Minister being murdered but Alex is anxious to point out that this is NOT authentic.

Crime writer Alex Gray

Joining me in the studio on Sunday are Politics Professor Sarah Oates, the editor of The Big Issue Paul McNamee, and journalist Graham Speirs. Among the talking points of the week, I'll be asking my panel if they were as "chuffed to bits" as Obama was at David Cameron's visit to The White House. I wonder if, as an American, Sarah Oates' relationship with the show is "special" or "essential". (It is, of course, both!)
See you on Mothers' Day.


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