authors and actors choose their book of the century and explain
why they should be read.
With Beckett ListenRead
Billie Whitelaw is a British actress who worked closely with
the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. Beckett is most famous
for his plays - particularly Waiting for Godot - which changed
modern theatre when it was first staged in 1952. Billie Whitelaw
was Beckett's favourite actress - he wrote many parts with her
in mind - most memorably the monologue of a mouth called NOT
I. Billie describes acting NOT I - which she calls the most
terrifying play she has been in.
Everyone Should Read Proust ListenRead
Proust's seven volume opus - REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST -
stands as the literary Everest of the twentieth century -
reputed to be difficult and obscure, on a par with James Joyce's
novel ULYSSES. But the American novelist and writer Edmund
White says exactly the opposite - Proust is an easy read and
should be read by everybody.
Novelist's Dictionary ListenRead
Annie Proulx is an American novelist best known for her prize-winning
book THE SHIPPING NEWS - published in 1993. THE SHIPPING NEWS
is set in Newfoundland, an island off the Canadian coast. One
of Annie Proulx's inspirations for the book was 'The Dictionary
of Newfoundland English' which captures the unique and vibrant
dialect of that place. Annie Proulx chooses this dictionary
as her book of the century, which she calls a work of literature.
Fall Apart ListenRead
Yomi A Michaels is a British-born Nigerian actor. Recently he
went back to Nigeria to star as the lead in a stage adaptation
of one of the great African novels of the century - Chinua Achebe's
THINGS FALL APART. Published in 1958, Achebe's novel deals with
the conflict betwen traditional African life and the arrival
of British colonialism. Michaels reads an extract from the stage
version, and describes what it was like to take the play to
Lagos and meet the author himself.
Of Place Listen
Ahdaf Soueif is an Egyptian woman who writes in English. Shortlisted
for the 1999 Booker Prize, she is a product of two cultures,
a Western education in England and Cairo, and a deep-rooted
love of Arabic literature and culture. She has chosen the Palestinian
academic Edward Said's autobiography OUT OF PLACE as her book
of the century - she says it articulates beautifully the inner
conflict between the Middle East and the West which she is also
trying to express.