Patrick Ness on The Crane Wife

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Patrick Ness talks to Mariella Frostrup about his novel The Crane Wife. As a children's author Ness has won the prestigious Carnegie Award not once but twice and seen his books for teens described as "so violent they need a health warning". His last Carnegie winner is "The Monster Calls," a project he inherited from the late and celebrated children's writer Siobhan O'Dowd, which deals with the death of a parent. His first, "Chaos Walking," is currently being adapted for the big screen, and describes a dystopian world where his two young protagonists Todd and Viola are forced to do battle with The Noise, a germ that broadcasts the characters' inner thoughts and feelings. However in "The Crane Wife" - which is written for adults - Ness adopts the style of a romantic fairytale; retelling the eponymous Japanese folk-story about a fisherman whose perfect and money spinning spouse turns out to be a Crane and flies away.

With the arrival of Spring in the UK still much anticipated, we consider how writers have been inspired by its advent from Charlotte Bronte to George Orwell. Writer Horatio Clare - whose own award winning memoir Running For The Hills about growing up on a sheep farm abounds with joyous accounts of Spring's arrival - joins journalist and Professor of Literature at University College London John Sutherland to discuss the key role that this most embraced season has played in literature.

Despite discount deals and the relative affordability of replacements these days most of us have a novel on our shelves that we adore above all others and for sentimental, romantic or compulsive reasons wouldn't contemplate it leaving our possession. In the first in our occasional series on precious books, novelist and critic Amanda Craig comes clean about the novel that won't be prised off her book-shelf for love nor money: Henrietta's House by Elizabeth Goudge. And do you have a precious book that you would never lend to anyone? We want to know about yours so do email (or write!) to tell us about the title we'd have to prize from your dying hand and what makes it so special.

Producer: Andrea Kidd.

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28 minutes

Last on

Thu 4 Apr 2013 15:30

Read the Opening Chapter of The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness


Patrick Ness


The Crane Wife – Patrick Ness

Publisher: Canongate Books


Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking) – Patrick Ness

Publisher: Walker


A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd

Publisher: Walker


How the seasons are reflected in literature - Spring


Running for the Hills: A Family Story – Horatio Clare

Publisher: John Murray


Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

Publisher: Penguin Classics


Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift) – Henry David Thoreau

Publisher: Dover Publications Inc


Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Publisher: OUP Oxford


Brendon Chase – BB, Denys Watkins-Pitchford (illustrator)

Publisher: Jane Nissen Books


The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone – Tennessee Williams

Publisher: Vintage Classics


The Mandarins – Simone De Beauvoir

Publisher: Collins


Iron in the Soul – Jean Paul Sartre

Publisher: Penguin Classics


Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Publisher: Penguin Classics


The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories – Angela Carter

Publisher: Vintage Classics


Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd


Which book do you own that you’d never lend?


Amanda Craig


Henrietta's House – Elizabeth Goudge

Publisher: Duckworth




Victoria – Knut Hamsen

Publisher: Souvenir Press Ltd





Role Contributor
PresenterMariella Frostrup
Interviewed GuestHoratio Clare
Interviewed GuestAmanda Craig

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