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William Sutcliffe, Nabokov's Last Novel, and Writing "Faction"

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 27 April 2008

William Sutcliffe
Mariella meets the novelist William Sutcliffe, whose gap-year satire Are You Experienced? was a bestseller ten years ago. He talks about his latest novel, about three childhood friends men in their thirties, who are rather taken aback when their mothers announce that they've come to stay for a week - and sort out their love lives. He explains his fascination with men who refuse to grow up, and why he hates lads' mags.

Nabokov's Last Novel
When Vladimir Nabokov, the author of Lolita, died in 1977, he left an unfinished novel called Laura, which he instructed his family to burn. For the last thirty years it has sat in a bank vault as his son has considered whether to obey. This week he announced that he's decided to publish it. He explains to Mariella how he finally came to this decision, and reveals some previously unknown details about its contents.

Tontines Revisited
Last week on Open Book, Will Self told Mariella about discovering a word in the dictionary, "tontine", which supplied him with a plot device. In response to the many listeners who wrote in with examples from novels, Mariella talks to Moneybox presenter and 19th-century literature expert Paul Lewis to find out more.

Writing "Faction"
"Faction" is a genre of literature sitting somewhere between fact and fiction. Mariella is joined by the authors of two new novels which fictionalise the lives of well-known historical figures, TE Lawrence and Mary Lincoln, the widow of the American President Abraham. Robert Ryan and Janis Cooke Newman discuss how they combined the techniques of the novel with meticulous attention to historical accuracy.

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    Books and Authors

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