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James Shapiro, Ben Folds, Zareer Masani, Giacometti

James Shapiro discusses Shakespeare, Ben Folds on his new album, Charlotte Mullins reviews Giacometti, and why Indian writers are protesting against 'intolerance of free speech'.

Author James Shapiro describes how the Gunpowder Plot and King James' desire to unite England and Scotland inspired Shakespeare's great plays King Lear and Macbeth.

In India 40 writers have returned their literary awards in protest against what they consider a 'rising intolerance of free speech' which has seen some writers attacked and murdered. Historian Zareer Masani considers the significance of their action and its political and historical context.

Giacometti: Pure Presence at the National Portrait Gallery in London is the first major exhibition to focus on his portraiture and includes his paintings, sculptures and drawings. Art critic Charlotte Mullins reviews.

Ben Folds discusses his new album So There, which sees him collaborating with New York sextet, yMusic. The resulting eight 'chamber rock' songs are followed by his first piano concerto and he reveals why he enjoys blurring the lines between classical and pop.

Presenter Samira Ahmed
Producer Angie Nehring.

Available now

30 minutes


  • James Shapiro

    Duration: 09:40

  • Zareer Masani

    Duration: 04:33

  • Giacometti

    Duration: 04:29

  • Ben Folds

    Duration: 09:03

James Shapiro

James Shapiro

James Shapiro’s 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear by is available in hardback and ebook now

Ben Folds

Ben Folds

Ben Folds’ new album So There is out now

Image: photo credit Allan Amato



Giacometti: Pure Presence is at the National Portrait Gallery in London until 10 January 2016.

Images: left: Bust of Annette by Alberto Giacometti, 1954 Private Collection / right: Annette IV by Alberto Giacometti, 1962 Tate, London 2015. Both copyright: Alberto Giacometti Estate, 1954 ACS/DACS, 2015


Role Contributor
Interviewed Guest James Shapiro
Interviewed Guest Zareer Masani
Interviewed Guest Charlotte Mullins
Interviewed Guest Ben Folds
Presenter Samira Ahmed
Producer Angie Nehring




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