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John Betjeman

Saturday 8 July 2006 21:30-22:15 (Radio 3)

John Betjeman is still remembered as one of Britain's best loved poets. In a year which marks the centenary of his birth, Ian McMillan celebrates his life and legacy in words in the company of those who knew him and those who admired his work.


45 minutes

Programme Details

The Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion kicks off the new season of The Verb with a memoir of a childhood cut short when his mother is involved in a terrible accident which leaves her in a coma. Andrew talks about In The Blood with Ian McMillan, and reveals why he decided to turn to prose to write this extensive and emotional tribute to a post war childhood interrupted.

Also on the programme, Tim Lott announces the winner of The Verb's First Time Novelist Competition.

The writer Tahmima Anam starts a four part series exploring Bengali writing in translation, as a new exhibition of the great Rabindranath Tagore opens at the British Museum.

The Hungarian poet and translator George Gumery reviews Liquidation - the latest novel by Nobel prize winner Imre Kertesz. At one hundred and twenty seven pages, it is a tour de force of style, exploring death and identity in unsettling and powerful ways.
And the performance poet Rhian Edwards chants a dance macabre in a special commission for The Verb.

The Verb, with Ian McMillan at 9.30pm here on BBC Radio 3.

Additional Information
- Liquidation by Imre Kertesz is published by Harvill Secker
- In The Blood by Andrew Motion is published by Faber and Faber
- The winner of The Verb's First Time Novelist Competition is Phil Goodland with his entry The Paper Cup Saloon
- Tahmima Anam introduced us to the work of Shamsur Rahman
- The Art of Peace: Paintings by The Poet Tagore is at the British Museum in London until 12 November

Producer: Ariane Koek

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