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13 brilliant moments with writers at Big Book Weekend

25 March 2021

Big Book Weekend recently welcomed 30 authors to converse around the BBC Arts virtual round-table. As well as getting intimate with the life of writers, we uncovered much wit and wisdom about sex, masculinity, food, lies and book therapy. Here are a few of our favourite moments.

Greg Davies: “The idea of me saying to any of my close friends, ‘I’d like to read to you’... it would throw up problems.”

"Audiobooks on the walk - tick!"

Greg Davies receives bibliotherapy advice from Ella Berthoud.

Grace Dent : “People don’t feel comfortable in these spaces, or have the money... we have a duty to talk about the beauty of everyday eating.”

"I didn't realise how quietly rebellious I was being"

Grace Dent says she wants to write about food in a way that applies to everyone

Watch the Full Session

Russell Kane: “We had brick-built pillars on our council house... my dad sunk a swimming pool in the garden.”

"It was an all-consuming masculinity"

Russell Kane reflects on the legacy of growing up with an alpha male father

Watch the Full Session

Candice Brathwaite: “Black fatherhood is definitely something we don’t see enough”

“Black fatherhood is definitely something we don’t see enough”

Candice Brathwaite wants to see black fatherhood positively uplifted in film, TV and books

Douglas Stuart : “I spent a lot of my childhood writing my mother's stories down... while still working in textile design, I sat down in 2008 to write Shuggie Bain.”

"I spent a lot of my youth writing my mother's stories down"

Douglas Stuart spent 10 years working on writing that would became his novel Shuggie Bain

Watch the Full Session

Jack Monroe : “You shouldn’t need to swallow a French dictionary to knock together a casserole.”

"I'd only read a handful of recipe books when I was asked to write one"

Jack Monroe wants to help people with little previous knowledge to learn how to cook.

Watch the Full Session

Sir Lenny Henry: “This book presented another kind of representation.”

"This book presented another kind of representation"

Cry, the Beloved Country was an eye-opening O-Level English read for Sir Lenny Henry

Full Session - Coming soon

Val McDermid: “The library was my salvation... being Presbyterian Scotland, you could take 4 books out at a time but 2 of them had to be non-fiction.”

"The library was my salvation"

Author Val McDermid on the huge role reading played in her childhood

Watch the Full Session

Alex Wheatle: “I had a breakdown at 22 after my son was born. I didn’t know how to engage with being responsible for another human being.”

“It wasn't just one night that I cried my eyes out”

Alex Wheatle on how he learned to be comfortable with feelings of vulnerability as a man

Watch the Full Session

Shahidha Bari : “The unmentionable Fifty Shades of Grey made a certain sexual openness very mainstream”

"It made it acceptable to talk about kinky sex"

Shahidha Bari, Naoise Dolan and Kate Davies discuss the impact of Fifty Shades of Grey

Frank Gardner: “Both me and the doctor on the Covid ward were in tears”

“Both me and him were in tears”

Frank Gardner reflects on meeting a real life hero, a doctor caring for Covid patients

Watch the Full Session

Ayisha Malik: “How you perceive things and how you are perceived can be at such odds.”

"How you perceive things and how you are perceived can be at such odds"

Ayisha Malik recalls a startling encounter she and a friend had in a Dorset cafe

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Ian Rankin : “It doesn't bother me if people work out on page one who the killer is”

"It doesn't bother me if people work out on page one who the killer is"

Ian Rankin says what is most important is what crime fiction tells us about society.

Watch the Full Session

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