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Oscar Nominations, Steve McQueen, Slavery Narratives

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 16 January 2014

On tonight's Freethinking, the opposite of freedom - and how to describe it. We're going to listen to the voices of slaves. We'll hear the recorded testimony of people who were once regarded as property. And we'll examine the slave autobiographies that became a vigorous literary genre in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. How reliable are they - and what are we relying upon them for?

Matthew Sweet talks to director Steve McQueen about his new film '12 Years A Slave' and assesses this year's Oscar nominations, among them Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, and The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo Di Caprio and directed by Martin Scorsese.

The text from which 12 Years a Slave was created was a narrative of the same name written by Solomon Northup in 1853. There are hundreds of such narratives but who really wrote them, who were they for and what can we tell from the surviving copies? The poet and writer Fred D'Aguiar, the historian Dr Madge Dresser and the anthropologist Dr Kit Davis discuss the ghosts that rise up amongst us when studying such texts.

Chapters

3 items
  • Oscar Nominations

    The Oscar Nominations were announced for earlier today, for a full list of the year’s nominees click here.


    The winners will be announced on Sunday 2 March.  


  • 12 Years a Slave

    12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen, is in cinemas nationwide now, certificate 15.


  • Slave Narratives

    Some of the texts mentioned in the discussion: 


    Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom by Ellen Craft and William Craft


    Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by himself


    The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by himself.

    (The image above is of Olaudah Equiano from the inside cover of this book).


    Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs


    Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Nothup


    The History of Mary Prince related by herself


    Poems by Phillis Wheatley

Credits

Presenter
Matthew Sweet
Interviewed Guest
Steve McQueen
Interviewed Guest
Ian Christie
Interviewed Guest
Fred D'Aguiar
Interviewed Guest
Kit Davis
Interviewed Guest
Madge Dresser

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