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Friday 25 Jul 2014

Books On The BBC – Topical Strands

Free Your Imagination
Alan Yentob Presents Imagine – The Trouble With Tolstoy

Imagine – The Trouble With Tolstoy

BBC ONE

The centenary of Leo Tolstoy's death last year was marked around the world. Now Alan Yentob investigates why he thinks there was a deafening silence in official Russian circles.

This two-part Imagine special looks into the life of the venerable novelist, a difficult, restless, ferociously brilliant man with an appetite for causing trouble with his fundamentalist views on God, violence and government.

Guided by the writer's astonishingly honest and confessional diaries, Alan takes a train journey through Tolstoy's Russia to bring one of the most extraordinary and influential men of the 19th century to life, discovering what made him perhaps the greatest novelist of his time and how he turned his back on that achievement.

Visiting the author's home, university, battlefields, palaces, monasteries, grand cities and remote, rural Russia, Alan meets local experts and Tolstoy enthusiasts to hear a powerfully Russian version of the great man's story. His journey is complemented by contributions from some of the leading Tolstoy experts from around the world as well as extraordinary film footage of the grand old man himself.

Throughout his life Tolstoy was fearlessly contrarian and fiercely determined to go his own way. He challenged everything in his pursuit of truth. These films explore this compulsion and how it made Tolstoy into a writer of unequalled stature and continues to make him unpopular in some quarters today.

BBC Productions

EB/JB

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Books On The BBC

Hilary Mantel – A Culture Show Special

BBC TWO

The Culture Show gains exclusive access to the life and work of Hilary Mantel as she writes The Mirror And The Light, the sequel to her Booker prize-winning novel Wolf Hall.

Mantel's extraordinarily wide range of work stretches from childhood memoir to Irish giants; from the influence of the Roman Catholic Church to the growth of fundamentalism in Saudi Arabia and from the French Revolution to the Tudor court of Henry VIII.

Writer and film-maker James Runcie takes Hilary back to her childhood home and to visit the places that have inspired her.

He talks to her about the illness that has plagued her life, the ghosts from her past, the process of writing historical fiction, sex, jokes, life, death and the emotional cost of making things up for a living.

Intimate, exclusive and unpredictable, this Culture Show Special, which will be shown in the summer of 2011, is a revealing portrait of one of the bravest and most brilliant writers working in the world today.

BBC Productions

JB

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Books On The BBC

Arena – Dickens On Film

BBC FOUR

In its 35 years as the BBC's award winning arts documentary strand, Arena has made many classic films dedicated to the world's greatest writers, among them TS Eliot, Harold Pinter, Graham Greene and VS Naipaul.

In co-production with Dickens 2012, Arena has commissioned an innovative documentary which will open the door on the vast Dickens onscreen archive that has been generated over a century and exists all over the world.

Arena – Dickens on Film will be one of the core elements, not only of the BBC's Year Of Books, but of the multi-faceted celebration of Charles Dickens's 200th birthday that will be Dickens 2012.

JB

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Ian McMillan introduces The Verb

The Verb

BBC RADIO 3

On Friday nights Ian McMillan presents BBC Radio 3's high octane cabaret of language and literature, showcasing a selection of new writing and performance.

BBC Productions

BBC Radio 3 Publicity

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Books On The BBC

The Essay

BBC RADIO 3

Each week, BBC Radio 3's The Essay broadcasts five essays from respected thinkers concerning a central arts or cultural topic.

The Essay – The Book That Changed Me

BBC Radio 3 broadcasts five essays from public figures on the books that have changed them.

The series begins with journalist Alan Johnston on George Orwell's Homage To Catalonia. At one point in his life, Alan looked destined for a career in the sometimes rather grey business of town planning, but that changed suddenly when he came across Orwell's book on the Spanish Civil War.

"I was immediately captivated – drawn into a world of politics, and ideas, and adventure," says Alan. "It was a story about hugely important things – war and revolution – unfolding in exciting places. I was still a teenager and the book seemed to push open a door in my mind. I knew straight away that I wanted to see for myself the kind of world that Orwell described."

Homage To Catalonia inspired Alan to try to become a foreign correspondent and set him on a path that would take him to wars and upheaval in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Afghanistan under the Taliban, a journey that would eventually lead to his kidnapping in Gaza.

The Essay – The Life Cycle Of A Fictional Character

Literary critic, novelist and Harvard professor James Wood explores aspects of novelistic technique in five essays to be broadcast in February.

BBC Productions

BBC Radio 3 Publicity

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Mariella Frostrup Presents Open Book

Open Book

BBC RADIO 4

Mariella Frostrup spotlights new fiction and non-fiction, interviews top authors from the UK and the world, unearths lost masterpieces, and revisits the books and writers whose work is essential to great reading pleasure.

This year, to coincide with the BBC's Year Of Books, and to celebrate a sometimes under-rated but much loved genre, Mariella launches the search for Britain's Funniest Book.

Open Book is broadcast on Sundays at 4pm, except on the first Sunday in the month when it is replaced by Bookclub. It is repeated on Thursdays at 4pm.

Every week, BBC Radio 4 is committed to bringing literature to life in its regular strands – Book Of The Week, Book At Bedtime, Open Book, Bookclub, A Good Read, Classic Serial and Front Row.

BBC Productions

BBC Radio 4 Publicity

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Books On The BBC

Book Of The Week

BBC RADIO 4

Book Of The Week presents a regular selection of non-fiction, biography, autobiography, travel, diaries, essays, humour and history.

This year listeners can hear adaptations of Jane Shilling's reflection on what it is to turn 50 in The Stranger In The Mirror; Colin Thubron's memories of his mother and his travels to a monastery in To A Mountain In Tibet; and Jonathan Franklin's story of the Chilean Miners, The 33.

Book Of The Week is broadcast on weekdays at 9.45am with a repeat at 12.30am.

Every week, BBC Radio 4 is committed to bringing literature to life in its regular strands – Book Of The Week, Book At Bedtime, Open Book, Bookclub, A Good Read, Classic Serial and Front Row.

BBC Productions and Various Independent Productions

BBC Radio 4 Publicity

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James Naughtie introduces Bookclub

Bookclub

BBC RADIO 4

On the first Sunday of the month, James Naughtie and a group of readers talk to leading authors about their novels.

The Bookclub year begins in January with 2010 Booker prize winner Howard Jacobson talking about The Mighty Waltzer – his personal favourite among his own novels.

This is the first in a dozen programmes ranging from Tim Butcher and Benjamin Zephaniah, to, later in the year, Mohsin Hamid, acclaimed author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which is one of World Book Night's list of 25 titles.

Every week, BBC Radio 4 is committed to bringing literature to life in its regular strands – Book Of The Week, Book At Bedtime, Open Book, Bookclub, A Good Read, Classic Serial and Front Row.

BBC Productions

BBC Radio 4 Publicity

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Books On The BBC

Book At Bedtime

BBC RADIO 4

Modern classics, new works by leading writers and literature from around the world are broadcast on weekday evenings.

Titles for avid listeners of Book At Bedtime to look forward to in 2011 are: Caribou Island by David Vann; The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht; The Meeting Point by Lucy Caldwell; Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman; and Flush by Virginia Woolf.

Book At Bedtime usually presents stories in blocks of five or 10 programmes and is broadcast on weekdays at 10.45pm.

Every week, BBC Radio 4 is committed to bringing literature to life in its regular strands – Book Of The Week, Book At Bedtime, Open Book, Bookclub, A Good Read, Classic Serial and Front Row.

BBC Productions and Various Independent Productions

BBC Radio 4 Publicity

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Books On The BBC

BBC Radio 4 Website

BBC RADIO 4

The BBC and Radio 4 website will be showcasing Radio 4's commitment to the BBC's Year of Books.

In addition to the BBC books webpage, the Radio 4 website will be launching the Author Interviews Collection – a selection of Radio 4 interviews with authors from the list of 25 World Book Night titles.

The collection will later expand to support further BBC Year of Books projects.

BBC Radio 4 Publicity

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