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First Times

Episode 1 of 12

A look at the world of contemporary storytelling as Marina Werner examines our early experiences of stories. From 2015.

Starting with an examination of our early experiences of stories, Marina Warner looks at the world of contemporary fiction.

In the company of leading contemporary writers, she considers a story and story writing from a different angle.

Marina speaks with writers as diverse as Julian Barnes, Michelle Roberts, Fanny Howe, Marlene van Niekerk, Alain Mabanckou, Lydia Davis, Edwin Frank, Elleke Boehmer, Wen-Chin Ouyang, Daniel Medin, Nadeem Aslam and Laszlo Krasznahorkai.

There are questions around the boundaries between fact and fiction which Marina believes are central to any consideration of storytelling, since readers' pleasure depends so much on trust built up between the storyteller or writer and the audience.

Over ten episodes, there are discussions on the reasons for writing, writers as witnesses and political interaction.

Marina was Chair of the Man Booker International Prize 2015 and the series draws on the expertise of the International Booker judging panel, the views of the shortlisted writers, as well as other key literary talent.

Producer: Kevin Dawson
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio first broadcast in July 2015.

Available now

15 minutes

Last on

Sat 7 Nov 2020 19:45

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Moby-Dick, or The Whale, by Herman Melville, published 1851.


Owd Bob: The Grey Dog of Kenmuir (also known as Bob, Son of Battle in US editions), by Alfred Ollivant, published 1898. 


Demain j'aurai vingt ans (Tomorrow I'll Be Twenty), by Alain Mabanckou, published 2010 by Gallimard. Originally written in French. English translation by Helen Stevenson published 2013 by Serpent's Tail.


Wee Gillis, by Munro Leaf, published 1938.


  • Mon 6 Jul 2015 13:45
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  • Mon 9 Sep 2019 14:15
  • Tue 10 Sep 2019 02:15
  • Sat 7 Nov 2020 19:45