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Arts and Drama
FRONT ROW
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Weekdays 19:15-19.45
Radio 4's daily live magazine programme reporting on the world of arts, literature, film, media and music. 

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Mark Lawson, Francine Stock and John Wilson
Mark Lawson,  Francine Stock and John Wilson
LATEST PROGRAMME
Thursday 11 April 2002

Goya's painting The Third of May 1808.
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Due to popular demand here is an opportunity to read the winning entries of our latest writing competition.
Read the winning entries

THURSDAY NIGHT
* All over the country thousands of people are meeting every month or so to talk about books. These people do not necessarily have anything in common except the few hundred pages they've just read. Revealing what they feel about a book may say even more about them. They may agree, or not. They may become friends or not. Either way, there's both dramatic and comic potential in these situations.

The Book Group, written and directed by Annie Griffin, aims to exploit this potential. Claire, fresh from Cincinnati, wants to meet people. For various reasons the others all want to change their lives too. And maybe On the Road, or The Alchemist will provide the answers. Mavis Cheek, who has also been "book clubbed", watched the new Channel 4 comedy for us.

  The Book Group begins on Channel 4 at 9.30pm on Friday 12 April.
Mavis Cheek's new novel The Sex Life of My Aunt is published by Faber & Faber.
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* Are film directors born or made? While Mike Leigh trained at the London Film School, Ken Loach cut his teeth directing in television.

The latest volume of the film annual Projections is concerned with the best way to develop the skills of directors, writers, cinematographers, editors, producers and the rest. Are academic courses at film School still relevant in a digital age, when it's relatively easy to get hold of the technology or is the dead hand of the past stifling creativity?

  Projections (number 12) is published by Faber & Faber.
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* Austerlitz by W G Sebald, translated by Anthea Bell, has just been announced as the winner of the 2002 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Although he was German, Sebald lived and worked in East Anglia from 1970 until his death in a road accident in December. Judge Alistair Niven told us the reasons for Sebald's victory.

   W G Sebald's Austerlitz is published by Hamish Hamilton.
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* The writer Julia Blackburn travels between real and imagined worlds in her latest book, Old Man Goya, in which she weaves fact with supposition and evocation as she charts the declining years of Spanish painter Goya, as well as ruminating on the illness and death of her mother, also an artist.

  Julia Blackburn's Old Man Goya is published by Cape.
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* Modern film scores often seem more like a period compilation album than traditional light classical background music. The Full Monty is remembered for the old Hot Chocolate number You Sexy Thing. The remake of Ocean's Eleven features a series of cool listening numbers. On the whole, songs stick with the viewer more than a specially composed score but, as composer Mark Russell explains, the two need not be mutually exclusive.

  The soundtrack to About a Boy by Badly Drawn Boy is available now on the Beggar's Banquet label.
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On tomorrow's programme
Matthew Warchus talks about his new production with the RSC, The Winter's Tale, set in America. We review the music selected in a new CD by the England football manager Sven Goran Eriksson and look at the life of William de Morgan, who revolutionised pottery in the 19th century.

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Mariella Frostrup with news from the world of books. Listen to the latest edition online or browse the interviews. Sunday and Thursday, 4.00 to 4.30pm, except the first Sunday in the month.
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