A joint initiative between Oxfam and Profile Books, Patrick Neate, and the Salem witch trials of 1692
Mariella Frostrup talks to novelists Hari Kunzru and Giles Foden about Ox -Tales, a joint initiative between Oxfam and Profile Books. Thirty-eight of Britain's leading writers, including Sebastian Faulks, William Boyd and Kate Atkinson, have signed up to write short stories for free, with all the royalties going to Oxfam. Mariella asks how fiction embraces the world of aid development, and about the issues faced by a writer when asked to write as part of a charitable initiative.
Patrick Neate talks about his new novel Jerusalem, the last in a trilogy which included Musungu Jim and the Whitbread award-winning novel Twelve Bar Blues. This final book is set in Britain and a fictional sub Saharan African state, Zambawi, run by a despot and facing all the problems associated with the region. It examines the ways in which the postcolonial relationship affects the identity of both cultures, and in particular what it means to be British.
Mariella also talks to Katherine Howe, author of The Lost Book of Salem, a novel about the Salem witch trials of 1692 with an unusual twist. Professor John Sutherland discusses the way in which the Salem witch trials have been represented in fiction and the current preoccupation with mysticism and magic in literature.