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Romesh Gunesekera - The Orphan Eye

Using David Copperfield as a starting point, novelist Romesh Gunesekera explores how Charles Dickens writes about the move from childhood into the world beyond.

Five contemporary novelists examine the craft of Dickens's prose, and reflect on how the giant of British nineteenth-century fiction is both a role model and a shadow looming over their own writing. Taking as their starting point a favourite extract from one of Dickens's novels, each writer discuss Dickens's themes, narrative techniques and writing craft, and tells us what they themselves have learnt from it. They offer thoughtful, unusually engaged and focused critical appreciation of Dickens's skill, as well as valuable insights into their own work and how they themselves wrestle with the subject and technique under discussion.

In the second essay in the series, Booker-shortlisted novelist Romesh Gunesekera takes an extract from David Copperfield as a starting point for an exploration of Dickens's writing about childhood and the move from childhood into adulthood, a theme which has been significant in his own writing.

First broadcast in December 2011.

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15 minutes

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The Book that Changed Me

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