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Helen Oyeyemi

Michael Berkeley's guest is writer Helen Oyeyemi. Her musical choices include Rimsky-Korsakov, Offenbach and Elgar, as well as a South Korean rock band.

Helen Oyeyemi wrote her first novel The Icarus Girl, about a mixed race child and her imaginary friend, in secret, while she was still at school studying for her A levels. Four more novels have followed and, most recently, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, a collection of short stories. She appeared on Granta's Best of Young British Novelists list in 2013.

Helen's twisted fairy tales possess a heightened reality, blurring the everyday and the fantastic, making her readers question what is real and what is unreal. In her world it's not just narrators that can be unreliable - even geography and time are unstable.

She talks to Michael Berkeley about the pleasures of storytelling, the power of fairy tales and her passion for her adopted city of Prague, reflected in music by the Czech composer Martinu. And she chooses music that sparks her imagination from Rimsky-Korsakov, Offenbach, Elgar, and a South Korean rock band.

Produced by Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Available now

33 minutes

Last on

Sun 23 Oct 2016 12:00

Music Played

  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

    Oriental Dance (Sheherazade)

    Performer: Nicolas Koeckert. Performer: Milana Chernyavska. Music Arranger: Fritz Kreisler.
  • Mohammed Rafi

    Suhan Raat Dhal Chooki

    Singer: Mohammed Rafi.
  • Bohuslav Martinu

    Pierrot's Serenade & The New Puppet (Loutky [Puppets])

    Performer: Giorgio Koukl.
  • Jacques Offenbach

    Les oiseaux dans la charmille (Les Contes d'Hoffmann)

    Singer: Maria Gyurkovics. Singer: Pal Varga. Orchestra: Budapest Symphony Orchestra.
  • Cherry Filter

    Flying Duck

    Ensemble: Cherry Filter.
  • Bob Crewe


    Ensemble: The Ronettes.


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