Listen in pop-out player

Mariella Frostrup celebrates a renaissance in historical fiction writing with authors Philippa Gregory, Sarah Dunant and Adrian Goldsworthy.

In its heyday in the 1950s and 60s writers such as Anya Seton, Georgette Heyer, Margaret Irwin and Jean Plaidy achieved commercial success - Jean Plaidy sold a 100 million books in her lifetime - but little literary acclaim.

So why is the genre enjoying a re-birth, and how do novels from Tudor tyrants to the 1930s Depression, from Renaissance Italy to the Napoleonic wars, speak to us now?

The programme also includes an interview with Hilary Mantel, author of Booker prize winning novel "Wolf Hall" about the Tudor politician Thomas Cromwell.

Producer: Hilary Dunn.

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Thu 2 Jun 2011 16:00

More from Books at the BBC

Books at BBC logo

Author interviews, readings, documentaries and highlights from the BBC's books content

Sample our books and authors Clip Collection

Clips of Books Content

Interviews, previews and reviews

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss