Margaret Drabble on her novel The Pure Gold Baby, and Sebastian Faulks and Helen Dunmore on WWI novels

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Margaret Drabble talks about her latest novel The Pure Gold Baby, which spans the decades since the swinging 60's with the tale of Jess and her daughter Anna, the eponymous child of the title, around whose special needs Margaret traces changing attitudes to caring and community. She explains why she wrote the story from the perspective of a narrator, the appeal of nostalgia and the trials of writing in later life.

The First World War has continued to influence novelists from both sides of the conflict, from Henri Barbusse's Le Feu published at the height of the carnage in 1916 and the hugely influential All Quiet on the Western Front by the German writer Erich Maria Remark, to the long list of contemporary writers including Pat Barker, Sebastian Barry and Michael Morpurgo.
To mark Armistice Day and the eve of The First World War, Sebastian Faulks, author of the acclaimed Birdsong, and Helen Dunmore, whose novels The Lie and Zennor in Darkness explore The Great War from both the home and front line perspectives, discuss novelists' response to this "war to end all wars."

From expressions of love, celebratory comments or messages of hope and comfort, many of us have written inscriptions in the books we have given as presents to friends and loved ones. Over the years these once treasured possessions can find their way to charity shops and second hand bookshops. This is where they get another lease of life, in the hands of people like the journalist and writer Wayne Gooderham. Wayne is a habitual buyer of second hand books and his fascination with the inscriptions he's found has led him to compile a collection of some of the most heart warming and intriguing.

Producer: Andrea Kidd.

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28 minutes

Last on

Thu 14 Nov 2013 15:30

Get ahead with Mariella’s next book - Scott Turow’s Identical

Find the first two chapters of Scott Turow’s Identical.




The Pure Gold Baby by Margaret Drabble

Publisher: Canongate Books

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Publisher: Vintage

Upon a Broken World: Writing and Remembering the Great War co-edited by Sebastian Faulks

Publisher:  Hutchinson

The Lie by Helen Dunmore

Publisher:  Hutchinson


Zennor in Darkness by Helen Dunmore

Publisher: Penguin


Dedicated To… by Wayne Gooderham

Publisher: Bantam Press


First World War Novels

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Publisher: Vintage Classics

Krieg (War) by Ludwig Renn

An Indiscreet Journey by Katherine Mansfield

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

We That Were Young by Irene Rathbone

The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D H Lawrence

The Fox by D H Lawrence

The Ladybird by D H Lawrence

The Captain’s Doll by D H Lawrence

Le Feu by Henri Barbusse

Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford

Regeneration by Pat Barker

The Eye of the Door by Pat Barker

The Ghost Road by Pat Barker

A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Her Privates We by Frederic Manning

Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald


Role Contributor
PresenterMariella Frostrup
Interviewed GuestMargaret Drabble
ProducerAndrea Kidd

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