Five contemporary novelists examine the craft of Dickens's prose, and reflect on how the giant of British nineteenth-century fiction is both a role model and a shadow looming over their own writing. Taking as their starting point a favourite extract from one of Dickens's novels, each writer discuss Dickens's themes, narrative techniques and writing craft, and tells us what they themselves have learnt from it. They offer thoughtful, unusually engaged and focused critical appreciation of Dickens's skill, as well as valuable insights into their own work and how they themselves wrestle with the subject and technique under discussion.
Beginning the series is Tessa Hadley, writing on Rooms and Reality. Taking as her starting point the description of the Clenham's house in Little Dorritt, she explores how Dickens paints the reality of his world through his characters' houses, and reflects on how significant houses are her own writing.
Other writers in the series are A L Kennedy, Alexander McCall Smith, Romesh Gunesekera and Justin Cartwright.
First broadcast in December 2011.