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28 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 18 March 2012

Mariella Frostrup looks at the career and life of Dodie Smith, the author best known for her hugely popular children's story, The 101 Dalmatians, and I Capture the Castle, a teenager's depiction of her family's life in a crumbling castle. Written in 1949, it was voted in at number 82 in 'the nation's 100 best loved novels' as part of the BBC's The Big Read.
With three of her lesser known novels, The Town in Bloom, The New Moon with the Old and It Ends with Revelations being re-published, Dodie's biographer Valerie Grove and Heidi Thomas, who adapted I Capture The Castle for the big screen, discuss her legacy.

Sofka Zinovieff has written two non fiction titles, the first Eurydice Street - A Place in Athens about her experience living in that city for a year and her second about the fascinating life of her grandmother, an aristocratic Russian who escaped the revolution to lead a peripatetic life in Europe. Her latest is a novel, The House on Paradise Street in which she fictionalises the story of Greek women that embraces the last turbulent 70 years of Greek History.

In his fictionalised memoir "Walking to Hollywood" Will Self writes about an author called Will Self. In the book this alternative Will Self meets homeless people played by Toni Morrison and Salman Rushdie! Therefore it's not surprising that he himself is now the subject of a surreal novel by Sam Mills. In The Quiddity of Will Self, he himself becomes the object of adoration and sexual desire by members of the WSC, the Will Self Cult. And Sam isn't the only novelist to base their book around a real living person. Rodge Glass's latest novel, 'Bring me the head of Ryan Giggs', uses Manchester United's popular and long standing player as a way of looking at the underside of football.

Producer: Andrea Kidd.

  • Book List

    I Capture the Castle published by Vintage Classics
    The One Hundred and One Dalmatians
    The Town in Bloom is published by Corsair
    The New Moon with the Old is published by Corsair
    It Ends with Revelations is published by Corsair

    Dear Dodie: Life of Dodie Smith by Valerie Grove is published by Pimlico

    The House of Paradise Street by Sofka Zinovieff is published by Short Books

    Walking to Hollywood by Will Self

    The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills is published by Corsair
    Bring me the Head of Ryan Giggs by Rodge Glass is published by Tindal Street Press


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