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Ben Watt, Mike Nicol, Rachel Cooke and Jonathan Gibbs

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 16 February 2014

DJ and presenter Ben Watt, also known as one half of Everything But the Girl, has written his memoir. His first, Patient, dealt with his harrowing experience of a life-threatening illness in the 1990s. Now, Romany and Tom, focuses on his parents' lives, looking back on their younger, glamorous days in 1950s London in an attempt to understand who the frail but obstinate and infuriating elderly couple relying on him for care now, really are.

In our special programme broadcast over Christmas, Mariella Frostrup explored how 2013 had been the year of the women writer, with women scooping up the majority of last year's major literary prizes. Female writers and their work may have emphatically been acknowledged on the awards front, but it seems there's still room for improvement when it comes to the reviews. A study out last year found a continuing bias towards books written by men, with male novelists getting far more column inches than their female counterparts and more men reviewing those books than women. So with more women buying books than men, are they being catered for when it comes to book reviews? Observer journalist Rachel Cooke and reviewer Jonathan Gibbs discuss the issue.

South African crime writer Mike Nicol's Revenge trilogy saw him crowned the King of South African crime fiction. A onetime journalist who also penned the authorized Mandela biography, Nicol now uses his native Cape Town and its surrounding tourist hot spots to great effect as the backdrop for stories that expose the shady underside to this sunny place. His latest Of Cops and Robbers is no exception revealing the corruption and violence that permeates so much of modern life in this once optimistic nation.

Producer: Andrea Kidd.


    Of Cops and Robbers by Mike Nicol - Publisher: Old Street


    Romany and Tom by Ben Watt – Publisher: Bloomsbury 


    Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties

    by Rachel Cooke - Publisher: Virago


    Randall by Jonathan Gibbs – Publisher: Gallery Beggar Press




  • Read the Opening Chapter from Of Cops and Robbers by Mike Nicol

    Chapter 1 Of Cops and Robbers by Mike Nicol


    Of Cops and Robbers


  • Get ahead with Mariella’s next book The Visitors by Sally Beauman

    Find Chapter 1 of The Visitors by Sally Beauman


    The Visitors


Mariella Frostrup
Interviewed Guest
Ben Watt
Interviewed Guest
Rachel Cooke
Interviewed Guest
Jonathan Gibbs
Interviewed Guest
Mike Nicol
Andrea Kidd


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