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45 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 13 December 2010

In "Murder at Mansfield Park," Lynn Shepherd takes Jane Austen's classic and turns it into a murder mystery. With the story turned on its head and new characters introduced, does she think she can improve Austen's writing? Is this an enjoyable twist on an old classic? Or creative plagiarism? Lynn joins Clare English in the studio to tell her more.

For the last thirty years of his life, Hugh MacDiarmid lived in a small cottage near Biggar. The cottage might have fallen into disrepair after his death, had it not been for the efforts of friends and supporters who put it to use as a "living museum," where writers could live and work. Author James Robertson was the first writer to be based at the cottage, and takes us inside.

BBC Radio Scotland's joint campaign with the Scottish Book Trust, "Family Legends," has been running since October, and believes every family has a story to tell. Writer Robert Douglas gives us tips on how to start putting your story to paper.

In our weekly visit to BBC Radio Scotland's Zones, we'll hear Ricky Ross interviewing author Andrew Greig.

Plus, over 34 million books were sold in the run up to Christmas last year - double the average monthly figures. We'll look back at some of the best reads of 2010 and find out what would make great Christmas gifts.

Produced by Serena Field & Rich Preston.


1 item
  • Discussion

    • Books of 2010

      Clare English on the best books of 2010 and which would make great Christmas gifts.

  • Best Books of 2010

    Karen Howlett (from online book group Cornflower Books) and Vanessa Robertson (of The Edinburgh Bookshop) joined us in the studio to discuss the literary highs of 2010.

    In case you missed it, here were some of the top picks:

    Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

    The Small Hand by Susan Hill

    The City & The City by China Miéville

    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

    The Tiger by John Vaillant

    Jo Nesbo

    Anne Holt

    Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

    I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

    Hugless Douglas by David Melling

    Poppy Fields Murder Mysteries

    Wasted by Nicola Morgan

    Firebrand by Gillian Philip

    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

    The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O'Neal

    On Fire with Fergie by Stuart Donald

    The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

    Star Gazing by Linda Gillard

    Dark Matter: A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver

    Corrag by Susan Fletcher

    South Wind Through the Kitchen: The Best of Elizabeth David by Elizabeth David and Jill Norman

    The Gentle Art of Quilt-Making by Jane Brocket

    Lotta Jansdotter's Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style by Lotta Jansdotter

    Room by Emma Donoghue

    Our Twitter audience were getting involved too. Here's what some of them suggested:

    Karen Campbell's THE TWILIGHT TIME & Tony Black's A LONG TIME DEAD. Both Scottish, both great

    Shiver by Maggie Steifvater

    'The Help' was my favourite book

    My favourite book of 2010 has been "Cooking Human" by Cynthia Flambe-Fry.

    Portrait of an Addict As a Young Man by Bill Clegg. I simply could not read it fast enough or fail to feel utterly absorbed.

    'The Lacuna', by Barbara Kingsolver. A truly stunning novel. For me it was a life-changing read.

    I think Purge by Sofi Oksanen might be my fav book of the year though am debating as it's been a great year for books!

    Sylvia Loch "An Algarve affair" her first novel it’s very good.

    This Night's Foul Work by Fred Vargas

    Sophia's Secret by Susanna Kearsley and Wasted by Nicola Morgan.

    The Dead Beat by Cody James

    Let us know your best book of 2010, or what you think may make a great Christmas gift. You can join in the conversation on Twitter by following us @BBCBookCafe, or you can email TheBookCafe@bbc.co.uk.


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