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The Radio 2 Book Club - Gavin Extence

Simon Mayo returns with another Radio 2 Book Club. This week's choice is The Universe Versus Alex Woods, by debut novelist, Gavin Extence. Gavin took a PhD in film studies, and confesses to being a bit of an amateur astronomer.

We'll also have exclusive live performances from Abbey Road, as Radio 2 re-creates The Beatles debut album Please, Please Me in just 12 hours. The original album was recorded exactly 50 years ago and as part of The Golden Age of The Album Season on Radio 2, we're bringing a whole host of artists back to the studio the Fab Four recorded their legendary debut in to re-create it.

Simon, Matt and Rebecca will review his new book and discuss the themes and story, as well as reading out some of the thoughts of our listeners.

We'll also have exclusive live performances from Abbey Road, as Radio 2 re-creates The Beatles debut album Please, Please Me in just 12 hours. The original album was recorded exactly 50 years ago and as part of The Golden Age of The Album Season on Radio 2, we're bringing a whole host of artists back to the studio the Fab Four recorded their legendary debut in to re-create it.

1 hour, 55 minutes

Last on

Mon 11 Feb 2013 17:05

Book Club - The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

Book Club - The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

Gavin will be on Drivetime from 1800 to talk about his new book

About The Book

Meet teenager Alex Woods.  Alex knows things.  Lots of things.  Like: the record for the number of kittens born to a single mother across her lifespan (420); how many zeros in a quintillion (30); the amount of sugar in a standard two litre bottle of cola (75 teaspoons); the second largest moon in the solar system (Titan – the largest is Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons…); and how long it would take to drive to the sun (over 140 years, if you drove 24 hours a day and stuck to the motorway speed limit…)

               

Alex also knows that he hasn’t had the most conventional start in life.  He knows that growing up with a clairvoyant single mother won’t endear him to the local bullies.  And he knows that even the most improbable events can happen – he’s got the scars to prove it.

 

What he doesn’t know yet is that when he meets ill-tempered, reclusive widower Mr Peterson, he’ll make an unlikely friend.  Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life.  That you have to make the best possible choices.

 

So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing…

 

About Gavin

 

Gavin Extence grew up in the interestingly named village of Swineshead, Lincolnshire. From the ages of 5-11, he enjoyed a brief but illustrious career as a chess player, winning numerous national championships and travelling to Moscow and St Petersburg to pit his wits against the finest young minds in Russia. He won only one game.

 

Although he also started writing at a very young age, and suspected at the age of ten that he might like to make it his profession, he somehow spent most of the next two decades in education. He finally graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2009, having obtained a PhD from the Department of English Literature. Despite some major deficiencies in argument and research, his work was at least, in the words of his examiner, ‘unusually readable for a PhD thesis’, and it was this feedback – along with the woeful state of the jobs market – that made him reconsider his long-buried literary aspirations.

 

He spent the next few months writing in secret, until one day his girlfriend confronted him, demanding to know how he was spending his days and why he wasn’t being more proactive in looking for a job. He had little choice but to confess, and was somewhat astounded when she suggested that he stop ‘dabbling’ and commit 100 percent of his energy to writing the best book he could. They married in July 2011, adopted a cat, and now have a daughter.

 

** Download a free extract from The Universe Versus Alex Woods **

*Please be advised that the first chapter contains adult themes*


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How to get involved

  • Straight after Gavin's interview on Drivetime, he'll be taking over the Radio 2 Facebook page to take your questions (from 6.30pm – 7pm)

  • You can also tweet questions to Gavin - Send your tweets to @BBCRadio2 using the hashtag: #R2BookClub

  • You can also submit questions in advance, by email to simonmayo@bbc.co.uk

  • If you wish to be considered as one of our reviewers for this year, you can fill in the from on our Take Part In The Show pages.

Watch Simon's Edinburgh Book Club Special

Edinburgh Book Club Special

See Simon host a special Radio 2 Book Club live at Potterrow.

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