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Lionel Shriver/Ian McMillan

As part of Radio 3's 2009 Free Thinking festival of ideas, Anne McElvoy is joined by novelist Lionel Shriver for an audience discussion about her 1996 novel A Perfectly Good Family.

Lionel Shriver is a novelist of international renown, best known for her controversial 2003 Orange prize-winning novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin, about a mother and her mass murderer son. Recorded on 24th October 2009 as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas, presenter Anne McElvoy and an audience from New Writing North's book clubs join Lionel at the Sage Gateshead. They engage in an frank, wide ranging and lively conversation about her 1996 novel, A Perfectly Good Family - the story of three siblings and a grand inheritance - and they discuss the ways in which families are portrayed in fiction. And Anne presses Lionel on a popular but contested trend in novel writing today: writers who make sure their own troubled family life as part of their work. Does Lionel Shriver think it is ethical to do so - or can it cause lasting damage?

Also in the programme from Free Thinking - you've heard of a poetry slam - poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan presents a theory slam as eight theorists from Gateshead pitch and pit their ideas against each other - debating and exploring philosophy, politics, culture and science in just three minutes.

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45 minutes

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Free Thinking

Free Thinking

Radio 3’s new home for arts and ideas.