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James Patterson and Gillian Clarke

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 24 April 2009

Ian McMillan talks to bestselling novelist James Patterson about thriller writing, discussing subjects including what makes the perfect thriller, how many twists and cliffhangers are needed to keep readers' interest and how to create the perfect
hero and the perfect villain.

Plus Wales's National poet Gillian Clarke reading from her latest collection, Zimbabwean novelist Brian Chikwava, author of Harare North, with a new short
story written specially for the
programme and music in Gaelic from Alyth.

  • James Patterson

    Ian McMillan gets a master class in thriller writing from bestselling author James Patterson. Author of the Alex Cross and Women’s Murder Club series, Patterson puts his popularity down to being able to ‘turn on the movie projector in people’s heads.’ Selling 150 million books worldwide, he argues, is all about imagination – and not necessarily turning out a beautifully crafted sentence.

    James's latest novel, 8th Confession, is out now
  • Gillian Clarke

    Wales’s National Poet reads from her new collection A Recipe for Water. She also explains why it’s considered entirely normal to be a poet in Wales, and how that makes her job much easier.

    Gillian Clarke
  • Brian Chikwava

    The author of acclaimed new novel Harare North brings a brand new short story, written specially for the programme, and starring a character who sounds suspiciously like a younger version of the author himself.

    Harare North, by Brian Chikwava, is out now from Random House.

  • Alyth

    Singer Alyth McCormack was born on the Isle of Lewis and studied music and drama in Glasgow. She toured with bands like The Chieftains and Moving Hearts before striking out and establishing a solo career, On The Verb this week she sings two traditional Gaelic songs from her new album, People Like Me, and reveals the fascinating history of the women that wrote them.

  • Gillian Clarke on The Essay

    You can also hear Gillian Clarke on The Essay on 30th April

    The Essay


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  1. Image for The Verb Presented by Ian McMillan

    The Verb Presented by Ian McMillan

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