iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Episode 5

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Episode 5

Duration:
15 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 19 April 2013

When journalist Emma Brockes was ten years old, her mother, Paula, said "One day I will tell you the story of my life and you will be amazed." Growing up in a tranquil English village, Emma knew very little of her mother's life before her. She knew she had grown up in South Africa and had seven siblings. She had been told stories about deadly snakes and hailstones the size of golf balls. There was mention, once, of a trial. But most of the past was a mystery.

When her mother dies of cancer, Emma - by then a successful journalist at the Guardian - feels the need to uncover her history. She travels to South Africa, to the extended family she has never met, and unravels a daunting tale, the events of which her mother had kept from her - events that, even amongst her mother's siblings, were never discussed.

Emma Brockes' story of her mother's past is warm and moving, in moments upsetting, and ultimately redemptive, as she rediscovers her mother.

Emma Brockes is a feature writer at the Guardian. She studied English at Oxford University, where she edited Cherwell, the student newspaper, won the Philip Geddes Prize for Journalism, and graduated with a first. In 2001 she won Young Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards and a year later was voted Feature Writer of the Year, the youngest ever recipient of the award. Outside journalism she has written a one act play called 'The Prompt', and a book on musicals entitled, 'What Would Barbara Do? How Musicals Changed My Life'.

Writer: Emma Brockes
Reader: Alison Pettitt
Abridger: Pete Nichols
Producer: Karen Rose
A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

Credits

Producer
Karen Rose

Broadcasts

Books & Authors Clip Collection

JKrowling

Interviews, previews and reviews

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.