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Darren Hayman, Jon McGregor

Ian McMillan presents the word cabaret, with singer-songwriter Darren Hayman on his project Thankful Villages and Jon McGregor with an excerpt from a novel he is currently writing.

This week, joining Ian on the Cabaret of the word is singer songwriter Darren Hayman with his new project 'Thankful Villages'. Darren visited each of the 54 'Thankful Villages', where every solider returned safe from the First World War, creating music and short films for each village. Rather than dealing directly with the war, Darren's journey examines rural life today.

Jon McGregor's first two novels were both longlisted for the Booker prize, and today we hear an exclusive extract from his work-in-progress, which circles around the number 13.

Producer: Cecile Wright.

45 minutes

Jon McGregor

Jon McGregor

The novelist Jon McGregor presents work in progress from a novel that started its life as a short story nine years ago. ‘Reservoir 13’ is a story about the impact of a missing girl on a village community. The book revolves around the number 13, told over 13 years in a world which has 13 months to a year. Jon explains that he has used the number as a ‘scaffold’ on which to hang his narrative. Reservoir 13 will be published next spring by Bloomsbury, and his last book, the short story collection ‘This Isn’t The Sort of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You’ is available now.


Jon McGregor

Darren Hayman

Darren Hayman

The writer Arthur Mee coined the term ‘Thankful Villages’ for those places where every man returned home safely from WWI. Darren originally thought of Thankful Villages as just a name for a band, but the project soon expanded into a journey to visit each village and to write songs based on the people he met and the stories he heard. As a Londoner, Darren had a preconceived idea about what a village was, but his project has taught him that it’s not all teashops and quaint pubs. The first volume of Thankful Villages is released by Rivertones on 3rd June.


Thankful Villages

Will Abberley

Will Abberley

Will Abberley has been looking at rural dialects and how the myth of rural dialects as ‘endangered’ took root in the 19th Century, when dialect societies began to see them as living things which should not change. Will looks back to literature and to Thomas Hardy, who saw the middle classes as championing tradition over the real needs of rural communities, and he also makes a brave attempt to recreate the accent of Dorset Dialect poet William Barnes. Will’s book ‘English Fiction and the Evolution of Language’ is published by Cambridge University Press. Will is a lecturer at the University of Sussex.

Elaine Beckett

Elaine Beckett

Elaine Beckett is one of the 2015-16 ‘Faber New Poets’, a scheme to encourage new poetic talent. Elaine’s poetry takes moments from her life and layers it with meaning, so an everyday encounter in a fish shop becomes a meditation on climate change. Elaine trained as an architect, and this has influenced her poems, which she sees as ‘three dimensional structures’


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