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Isabel Hilton talks to Heidi Holland

Tuesday 3 June 2008 21:45-22:30 (Radio 3)

Isabel Hilton talks to Heidi Holland about Dinner with Mugabe - her new portrait of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, which traces his journey from 'freedom fighter' to international pariah during three decades.


45 minutes


Heidi Holland
Isabel Hilton talks to Heidi Holland, the author of Dinner with Mugabe, a psychobiography of the Zimbabwean leader from his impoverished childhood at a Catholic school in rural Kutama to his three decades as president of his country.

During his early years in office Robert Mugabe was widely acknowledged to be one of post-colonial Africa's most progressive leaders before the destruction of the country's agricultural industry led to the collapse of the economy.

So is the story of Mugabe a tragedy - greatness brought low - or is the tragedy entirely his country's?

Dinner With Mugabe by Heidi Holland is published by Penguin.

Darwin's Canopy
Next year marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, and the Natural History Museum is commissioning a 'canopy' - a permanent ceiling artwork - to be installed in the museum.

Ten artists - including Turner Prize winners Rachel Whiteread and Mark Wallinger - have been shortlisted for the project, and their designs are being unveiled on Tuesday. Geneticist Steve Jones joins Isabel to discuss the proposals which best reflect Darwin's ideas and work.

Gone Baby Gone
Also in the programme, Gone Baby Gone. The film was due to be released last year but the director Ben Affleck took the decision to delay it after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Nine months on Sarah Dunant gives her verdict on Affleck's directorial debut in which his brother Casey stars as a private eye on the trail of a missing child from a working class Boston community.

Drive-In Dreams
Writer and critic Joe Queenan marks the birthday of America's first drive-in cinema, which opened in Camden, New Jersey, seventy five years ago this week.

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