Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

A story about a friendship that lasts a lifetime. Growing up in a poor Naples in the 50s, Elena and Lila learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone, or anything, else.

From one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is the first in a quartet of books entitled The Neapolitan Novels. They are a forensic exploration of friendship between Lila and the story's narrator, Lena. This is no normal friendship, it's a friendship that loves, hurts, supports and destroys - and yet it is one that lasts a lifetime.

It begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets two girls, Elena and Lila, learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone - or anything - else as their friendship, beautifully and meticulously rendered, becomes a not always perfect shelter from hardship.

It is the story of a nation, of a neighbourhood, a city and a country undergoing momentous change.

This first book centres on their childhood and adolescence.

From the book by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein.
Dramatised by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Directed by Celia de Wolff

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

1 hour

Last on

Sat 26 Aug 2017 14:30

More episodes


You are at the first episode

See all episodes from Drama


Role Contributor
Lena Monica Dolan
Lila Anastasia Hille
Lila (child) Grace Wingate
Lila (adolescent) Chloe Harris
Lena (child) Elisabeth McEvilly
Lena (adolescent) Daisy Tompkinson
Author Elena Ferrante
Translation Ann Goldstein
Adaptor Timberlake Wertenbaker
Director Celia de Wolff


Six Iconic Women of the Arts in Italy

Six Iconic Women of the Arts in Italy

Celebrating the most talented creative women in Italy's history.

Audio Books - great readings

Audio Books - great readings

A selection of highlights available to download via the iPlayer Radio app

The Shakespeare Sessions

The Shakespeare Sessions

Immerse yourself in Shakespeare’s world