iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for 06/07/2009

Listen now 45 mins

Listen in pop-out player


45 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 06 July 2009

Andrew Marr talks to Arundhati Roy about democracy and Timothy Garton Ash about subversive facts. Plus Karen Armstrong on the case for God and Hermione Lee on the shifting fashions in biography.


    The novelist and social activist Arundhati Roy argues that the rhetoric about India standing on the brink of a new golden age is misguided. Instead she sees a hollowed out democracy and even a threat of civil war.

    Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy is published by Hamish Hamilton.


    Timothy Garton Ash describes himself as a historian of the present, on the frontier between journalism and history. He makes a rallying call for a reinstatement of the importance of facts. He argues that modern technology like Twitter, blogging and mobile phone clips can mean we end up having more information but less understanding of what is happening and why.

    Facts are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade Without a Name is published by Atlantic Books.

    Timothy Garton Ash

    Religious historian Karen Armstrong argues that despite all our technological and scientific brilliance, our religious thinking is under-developed and primitive. Today’s literal reading of scripture by fundamentalists and the new atheists alike is unprecedented, she says, in the history of faith and ignores the fact that religion is a practical discipline rather than an intellectual doctrine.

    The Case For God: What Religion Really Means is published by The Bodley Head.

    Karen Armstrong at the Southbank Centre

    Biography continues to be one of the most popular and widely-read literary genres but, as writer and critic Hermione Lee argues, it is by no means a fixed or stable form of literature. In her latest book she argues that the same key questions about value, purpose and its definition have persisted from its very beginnings.

    Biography: A Very Short Introduction is published by Oxford University Press.

    Hermione Lee


Arts & Culture selection

Damian Lewis on reading A Delicate Truth

A selection of highlights from our arts and culture programmes.


  1. Image for Start the Week

    Start the Week

    Start The Week sets the cultural agenda for the week ahead, with high-profile guests discussing the…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss