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Ben Watt, Mike Nicol, Rachel Cooke and Jonathan Gibbs

Literary reviews - do women get a fair deal? Musician Ben Watt on his memoir about his parents, and South African crime writer Mike Nicol on his latest book Of Cops and Robbers.

DJ and presenter Ben Watt, also known as one half of Everything But the Girl, has written his memoir. His first, Patient, dealt with his harrowing experience of a life-threatening illness in the 1990s. Now, Romany and Tom, focuses on his parents' lives, looking back on their younger, glamorous days in 1950s London in an attempt to understand who the frail but obstinate and infuriating elderly couple relying on him for care now, really are.

In our special programme broadcast over Christmas, Mariella Frostrup explored how 2013 had been the year of the women writer, with women scooping up the majority of last year's major literary prizes. Female writers and their work may have emphatically been acknowledged on the awards front, but it seems there's still room for improvement when it comes to the reviews. A study out last year found a continuing bias towards books written by men, with male novelists getting far more column inches than their female counterparts and more men reviewing those books than women. So with more women buying books than men, are they being catered for when it comes to book reviews? Observer journalist Rachel Cooke and reviewer Jonathan Gibbs discuss the issue.

South African crime writer Mike Nicol's Revenge trilogy saw him crowned the King of South African crime fiction. A onetime journalist who also penned the authorized Mandela biography, Nicol now uses his native Cape Town and its surrounding tourist hot spots to great effect as the backdrop for stories that expose the shady underside to this sunny place. His latest Of Cops and Robbers is no exception revealing the corruption and violence that permeates so much of modern life in this once optimistic nation.

Producer: Andrea Kidd.

Available now

28 minutes

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BOOKLIST

Of Cops and Robbers by Mike Nicol - Publisher: Old Street

 

Romany and Tom by Ben Watt – Publisher: Bloomsbury 

 

Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties

by Rachel Cooke - Publisher: Virago

 

Randall by Jonathan Gibbs – Publisher: Gallery Beggar Press

 

 

 

Read the Opening Chapter from Of Cops and Robbers by Mike Nicol

Chapter 1 Of Cops and Robbers by Mike Nicol

 

Of Cops and Robbers

 

Get ahead with Mariella’s next book The Visitors by Sally Beauman

Find Chapter 1 of The Visitors by Sally Beauman

 

The Visitors

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Mariella Frostrup
Interviewed Guest Ben Watt
Interviewed Guest Rachel Cooke
Interviewed Guest Jonathan Gibbs
Interviewed Guest Mike Nicol
Producer Andrea Kidd

Broadcasts

This Week's Book List

This Week's Book List

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

Books

Books

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