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Meg Rosoff on Isabella Bird

Novelist Meg Rosoff chooses the pioneering Victorian travel writer, Isabella Bird. With Matthew Parris. From 2013.

At home in Edinburgh Isabella Bird was the very picture of the ailing Victorian spinster but the moment her tiny feet hit the gangway of a steamer or squeezed into the stirrups of a horse she was transformed. Taking a doctor's advice to travel for the sake of her health Isabella headed for Australia, Japan, Korea and Hawaii before finding her spiritual home amongst the most rotten scoundrels of America's West.

In 'Great Lives' the award-winning author of novels including 'How I Live Now' and 'The Bride's Farewell', Meg Rosoff explains why Isabella's transformation has inspired her books and her love of horses.

She's joined by David McClay from the National Library of Scotland who maintains an archive of Isabella's colourful correspondence from the farthest flung corners of the Earth.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in December 2013.

Available now

30 minutes


Role Contributor
Presenter Matthew Parris
Interviewed Guest Meg Rosoff
Producer Alasdair Cross


  • Christmas Eve 2013 16:30
  • Fri 27 Dec 2013 23:00
  • Thu 14 Nov 2019 18:30
  • Fri 15 Nov 2019 00:30

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