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16 April 2005

Saturday 16 April 2005 22:00-22:45 (Radio 3)

Ian McMillan presents the weekly magazine about language.


45 minutes

Programme Details

15 April 2005 Tx 22.15

This week the man who wrote Gladiator, the extraordinary story of performance poet Lemn Sissay, one of America's more unusual new writers, Ken Campbell's Competitive Poltroonery and an unexpected side of Emile Zola.

JohnHaskell's first novel American Purgatorio follows a man searching for his wife across the width of the United States. As the novel travels from east to west, and roadside America unfurls in front its narrator, Haskell addresses questions of mortality, being, meaning and loss.
For The Verb, John Haskell reads four short mediations examining the membrane between the self and the world.
American Purgatorio is published by Canongate

LemnSissay is one of this country's best-known performance poets. He tells Ian the amazing story of his childhood; he was fostered, and only discovered his own name when he was 18. His life, he says, has been determined by the discovery of his own and his family's stories. He performs one new and one favourite poem.
Lemn Sissay is at The Drum Theatre in Birmingham on 28 April

WilliamNicholson says he fell into a trap. As a young man, he says, he was obsessed with language, ideas and himself. He wrote a slew of bad and unpublished novels, before coming to storytelling and to truth - in his life and his work. Now the author of successful children's books, he was also hired by Hollywood to write the film Shadowlands and rewrite Gladiator . He tells Ian McMillan how Hollywood made him a better writer.
The Trial of True Love is published by Doubleday.

EmileZola is perhaps best known in this country for novels like L'Assommoir, Germinal, Nana and La Bete Humaine, the realist masterpieces of his epic 20-novel Rougon-Macquart cycle. On The Verb today, critic and translator Muriel Zagha makes the case for Le Reve, 'The Dream', which, after 112 years, has just become available in two English translations. Lyrical and hallucinatory, The Dream seems very different from the better-known works in the cycle. But as Muriel Zagha explains, Zola's themes of power, conflict, spirituality, and the fate of the individual are not far below its surface.

And as Shakespeare's birthday approaches, KenCampbell runs through the programme of an evening of Competitive Shakespearean Poltrooneries which he hopes to see performed at the Globe theatre. Shogging matches. Best Entrance 'in the style of a harpy'. You really have to hear the piece to understand...
Listen to The Verb on 'Listen to the last programme again'

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