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Bearing Witness

Episode 4 of 12

Marina Warner examines ‘Bearing Witness’ with other writers, in her look at the world of contemporary storytelling. From 2015.

Marina Warner looks at, 'Bearing Witness'

A review of 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.

With 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 28 Nov 2020 19:45


[Indivisible, by Fanny Howe, published 2000 by Semiotext(e).] This is a v short extract so may not be intended to be included here.


Sátántangó (Satantango), by László Krasznahorkai, published 1985 by Magvető.

Originally written in Hungarian. English translation by George Szirtes published 2012 by New Directions.


Nazīf al-ajar (The Bleeding of the Stone), by Ibrahim Al-Koni, published 1992 by Dār al-Tanwīr lil-Ṭibā‘ah wa-al-Nashr. Originally written in Arabic. English translation by May Jayyusi and Christopher Tingley published 2002 by Interlink Books.


Victoire, les saveurs et les mots (Victoire: My Mother's Mother), by Maryse Condé, published 2006 by Mercure de France. Originally written in French. English translation by  Richard Philcox published 2010 by Atria Books.


  • Thu 9 Jul 2015 13:45
  • Sun 15 Oct 2017 15:45
  • Mon 16 Oct 2017 03:45
  • Thu 12 Sep 2019 14:15
  • Fri 13 Sep 2019 02:15
  • Sat 28 Nov 2020 19:45