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Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sun 12 Feb 2006

Religious writer

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the author Karen Armstrong. She writes books about the world's religions, trying to explain that their strength lies not in dogma but profound and enduring truths. Since 9/11 her books on Islam in particular have become best-sellers - although she has also written on Judaism, Buddhism, the Crusades and Christianity.

She was brought up in Birmingham, but at the age of 17 she left her family to become a nun. She had hoped to become enriched by the contemplative life - but it left her feeling a failure, shamed by her inability to pray as the other nuns did. After seven years she turned her back on the convent and became a teacher. Then a chance opportunity to work in television led to her studying the world's religions - and becoming fascinated by the similarities between them. Now she is in great demand as a public speaker - and when she isn't touring the world she says she leads a nun-like life; living alone, contemplating God and thinking about the nature of faith and understanding.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Choices

Johann Sebastian Bach

1.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Suite for Solo Cello No. 2 in D minor - 5th movement

Soloist: Pierre Fournier

Others who chose this artist

The monks of the Benedictine Monastry of Santo Domingo de Silos de Silos

2.

The monks of the Benedictine Monastry of Santo Domingo de Silos de Silos

Christus Factus Est

Ludwig van Beethoven

3.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major 'Emperor' - 2nd movement

Soloist: Arturo Benedetti Michaelangeli Orchestra: The Prague Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Václav Smetácek

Others who chose this artist

Bob Dylan

4.

Bob Dylan

Visions of Johanna

Others who chose this artist

Ludwig van Beethoven

5.

Castaway's favourite

Ludwig van Beethoven

String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132 - 3rd movement

Orchestra: Borodin String Quartet

Others who chose this artist

Seemi Bush Ghazi

6.

Seemi Bush Ghazi

The Destiny Sura

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

7.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Clarinet Quintet in A major - 2nd movement

Soloist: Eduard Brunner Orchestra: The Hagen Quartet

Others who chose this artist

Franz Schubert

8.

Franz Schubert

String Quartet No. 14 in D minor 'Death and the Maiden' - 2nd movement

Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic String Quartet

Others who chose this artist

Book

Complete Works by John Milton

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

Continuous supply of very cold & dry white wine

Others who chose a similar luxury

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