Neil Shubin, Quartermaine's Terms, Syrian Writers, China's Silent Army
Susannah Clapp reviews a new production of Simon Gray's Quartermaine's Terms. It stars Rowan Atkinson as the lonely and professionally impotent St. John Quartermaine and is directed by Richard Eyre. Set across two years in the 1960s, the plays action takes place in the staffroom of a Cambridge school for teaching English to foreign students.
Neil Shubin is a palaeontologist and science populariser. Rana talks to him about his new book, the Universe Within, which traces the history of the cosmos in the human body.
Rana discusses China's small army of entrepreneurs who have travelled to remote areas around the world to invest in them with the author of a new book, China's Silent Army. Does China's investment abroad have sinister and disturbing implications? Juan Pablo Cardenal, co-author of the book, and Professor O.A. Westad discuss whether China is setting itself up as an autocratic superpower, without international scrutiny.
Rana Mitter talks to Nihad Sirees, one of Syria's most established writers about his novel The Silence and the Roar which is now available in English. Although the novel is about a dictatorship in an unknown country, it is very heavily influenced by the author's own experience of living in Syria. They are joined by the Middle East commentator Malu Halasa to discuss freedom, sex and laughter in an oppressive regime.
Juan Pablo Cardenal
2012 Costa Book Of The Year
Night Waves: Bring Up the Bodies, 56 Up, Babel