The Strand - Saturday 17th October 2009.

The best arts and culture features of the week with Mark Coles.

John Irving.
The best selling American author of The World According to Garp and A Prayer for Owen Meany discusses his latest novel, politcal and cultural life in North America and what happens when fact meets fiction.

John Irving's Last Night in Twisted River is published by Bloomsbury.

The debut film by two Irsaeli directors - one Arab and one Jewish - about the the tense relations between different communities in Jaffa, has won the top prize for best picture at the Ophir Award ceremony in Israel. Now it will be Israel's official nomination in the Best Foreign Film category at next year's Oscars. We review Ajami with the journalist and novelist Avirama Golan.

The Spaghetti Western Orchestra
Mark joins the five Australian men on stage who are currently taking the World by storm with their tribute to The Wild West. The Spaghetti Western Orchestra use over 100 instruments in their show - including nail clippers, coat hangers and bicycle pumps as they perform the iconic film music written by Ennio Morricone for Sergio Leone's epic Westerns.

Obama Art Collection
Barack Obama is not only winning the Nobel Prize for Peace, he's also been revamping the White House art collection.The Obamas are have been in touch with museums, galleries and private collectors to borrow an eclectic collection of modern art by African-American, Asian, Hispanic and female artists for the White House. Art critic Tim Marlow reviews their choices....

Lahore Artists
As Pakistan reels from a wave of bomb attacks that have killed more than one hundred people over the last few weeks, the gallery owner Yolanda Burgin asks how the current social and political situation has affected the work of Lahore's young artists.

Why Shakespeare is a truly global playwright
William Shakespeare may be the quintessential English playwright as well as the greatest but could he actually have been a sort of international news journalist? A new book by RSC Chief Director Gregory Doran - acclaimed as "one of the great Shakespeareans of his generation" reveals a Shakespeare heavily influenced by discoveries and events from around the world.

Speed Caravan
The Oud is a middle eastern instrument usually associated with delicate traditional music. Speed Caravan have brought it into the 21st century, electrifying it and performing songs and tunes that come from rock music. They came into the studio to talk to Mark and play a thrilling whirling number.

Available now

25 minutes

Last on

Sun 18 Oct 2009 00:05 GMT