iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Ali Smith on the 50th anniversary of The Bell Jar; Alex Preston on innovation in the novel

Listen now 28 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Ali Smith on the 50th anniversary of The Bell Jar; Alex Preston on innovation in the novel

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 10 February 2013

Mariella Frostrup talks to Ali Smith about Sylvia Plath's ground breaking novel, "The Bell Jar" fifty years after it was first published and shortly before the author's own suicide after she separated from the poet Ted Hughes in circumstances which have continued to cause controversy to this day. In this interview Ali Smith, award winning novelist of The Accidental and Hotel World, celebrates the novel for the witty, beautiful crafted and political literary classic it is, exploring issues at the heart of what it means to be a young woman in mid 20th century America in a uniquely original and highly influential way.And with the announcement of yet another literary prize - the Goldsmiths Prize sponsored by Goldsmiths University and the New Statesman is worth £10,000 and will be awarded to writers of boldly, original fiction - writer and broadcaster Alex Preston and author, poet and Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths, Blake Morrison, consider what being experimental and innovative means for 21st century novelists. Is the literary novel keeping pace with the explosion of technology in the first decade of the new millennium, the creative potential of the video game and the success of new genres such as Steampunk and Nordic noir?And what better way to counter the challenge posed to literature by the rise of computer games than to set a novel inside one? In his 17th novel Bedlam Scottish crime writer Christopher Brookmyre turns to science fiction for inspiration. The book's protagonist Ross Baker finds himself trapped inside a first person shooter called Starfire, which he himself played as a teenager whilst escaping from his parents' bitter divorce. How did the author's own gaming inspire the novel and what can exploring different forms of consciousness - digital and organic - tell us about what it means to be human?Producer: Hilary Dunn.

  • The Bell Jar

    Sylvia Plath's haunting and iconic only novel, broadcast on its 50th anniversary.

  • Mad Girl's Love Song

    Andrew Wilson's book on the early life of writer Sylvia Plath, abridged by Miranda Davies

  • Radio 4 Blog: The Bell Jar

    Di Speirs discusses the first ever broadcast version of Sylvia Plath's book 'The Bell Jar'

  • Read the Opening Chapter of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

  • Read the Opening Chapter of Bedlam by Christopher Brookmyre

  • Get ahead with Mariella’s next book Harvest by Jim Crace

  • BOOKLIST

    The Bell Jar

     

    The Bell Jar (50th Anniversary Edition) - Sylvia Plath

    Publisher: Faber and Faber

     

    Bold and original fiction

     

    Reality Hunger: A Manifesto - David Shields

    Publisher: Penguin

     

    Red Plenty - Francis Spufford

    Publisher: Faber and Faber

     

    HHhH - Laurent Binet (author) Sam Taylor (Translator)

    Publisher: Vintage

     

    2666 -  Roberto Bolano

    Publisher: Picador

     

    Christopher Brookmyre

     

    Bedlam - Christopher Brookmyre

    Publisher: Orbit

     

    All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye - Christopher Brookmyre

    Publisher: Abacus

Broadcasts

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

Podcast

  1. Image for Books and Authors

    Books and Authors

    This podcast features Open Book and A Good Read. In Open Book, Mariella Frostrup talks to leading…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss