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Kate Atkinson on Life After Life

Kate Atkinson talks to Mariella Frostrup about her new book Life After Life, we discuss classic and modern Western novels and betting on literary prizes.

Kate Atkinson discuss her latest novel Life After Life with Mariella Frostrup, in which we follow her central character Ursula as she lives her life over and over again, each version altered by one, sometimes small event. During her myriad different lives and deaths Ursula experiences two world wars from both the British and German perspectives, the loss of friends and family as well as the many hardships experienced by that generation and discovers that trying to change the future isn't always as easy as you think.

For many people their first memories of Westerns are from films - John Wayne protecting his land and his gold in The Spoilers, roaming gunfighters in A Fistful of Dollars and Gary Cooper as The Marshall alone against killers bent on revenge in High Noon.
With the dramatization on Radio 4 of two classic Western novels, Hombre by Elmore Leonard and Shane by Jack Schaefer, Open Book explores the Wild West in books old and new with Michael Carlson and novelist Ace Atkins.

People may have the occasional flutter on the Grand National or the Cheltenham races, but what about the Man Booker, the Costa or the Women's Prize for Fiction? It seems many people are now betting on the outcome of our leading literary prizes, but as Graham Sharpe, Media Relations Director of William Hill, who sets their prices for these events explains, picking the winning author can be more difficult than a winning horse.

Available now

28 minutes

Read the Opening Chapter of Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Get ahead with Mariella’s next book The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna


Kate Atkinson 

Life After Life – Kate Atkinson

Publisher: Doubleday


The Western


The Ranger – Ace Atkins

Publisher: Corsair


Sergio Leone (Pocket Essentials) – Michael Carlson

Publisher: Pocket Essentials


Clint Eastwood (Pocket Essentials: Film) – Michael Carlson

Publisher: Pocket Essentials


The Virginian – Owen Wister

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


Riders of the Purple Sage – Zane Grey

Publisher: Wilder Publications, Limited


Last Stand at Saber River – Elmore Leonard

Publisher: Phoenix


Shane – by Jack Schaefer

Publisher: Bantam USA


Hombre – Elmore Leonard

Publisher: Phoenix


True Grit – Charles Portis

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


Lonesome Dove – Larry Mcmurtry

Publisher: Pan


Horseman, Pass By – Larry Mcmurtry

Publisher: Orion


Novels by Daniel Woodrell:

Give Us a Kiss: A Country Noir

Muscle for the Wing: No. 2: A Shade Novel

Under the Bright Lights

The Ones You Do

Publisher: No Exit Press


Hell at the Breach – Tom Franklin

Publisher: Flamingo





This Week's Book List

This Week's Book List

Read along with us - a list of books discussed in each programme



Celebrating reading and the 100 novels that have shaped our world.

How many of these 100 Novels have you read?

How many of these 100 Novels have you read?

After a passionate debate, our panel has come up with this surprising literary selection.

Podcast: Books To Live By… with Mariella Frostrup

Podcast: Books To Live By… with Mariella Frostrup

Uncovering surprising stories as beloved personalities talk Mariella through their books.

Close Reads

Close Reads

A collection of insights into what make great texts work