This edition of The Culture Show focuses on three very different writers who have given a powerful voice to characters and stories. And Barack Obama's presidential inauguration is marked in a special way.
In a rare interview, young journalist Roberto Saviano talks about his book Gomorrah, which exposes the inner workings of the Naples mafia. The book has now been made into an acclaimed film, tipped to win Oscars. Roberto Saviano is living in the shadow of a death sentence from the Camorra, which is aggrieved at being depicted as cruel, selfish and banal.
There is also a special masterclass in creating cult TV from Ed Burns, the co-writer of The Wire - Barack Obama's favourite TV show. Burns's new series Generation Kill is a raw account of the war in Iraq as seen from the inside of an American tank.
The Culture Show goes backstage with Armando Iannucci. The man behind Knowing me Knowing You and The Thick of It has now turned his satirical eye to writing Skin Deep, an opera about plastic surgery which opened in Leeds in January. We have all-areas access to last-minute rehearsals and the crucial first night.
All that plus, as 20 January is the day Barack Obama is inaugurated, the Culture Show is at the epicentre of black America, 125th street in Harlem. We hear from the men and women who voted for the first time ever in November and who believe America now stands to be transformed.