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Mary Beard is joined by guests Jeanette Winterson and Val McDermid to discuss the posthumous reputations of writers and artists.

Mary Beard and her guests discuss the posthumous reputations of writers, musicians and artists, and ask whether we should honour or override their wishes when they die.

As a short story Sylvia Plath wrote at the age of 20 is published for the first time, does every piece of early work by a literary legend deserve to be published and pored over?

From Kafka to Tupac and Amy Winehouse, posthumous work sells and adds to a body of work - but what's the responsibility of those who look after artists' legacies?

What gives us the right to rewrite work by a great author? And is the urge to complete an unfinished work sometimes too great to resist?

And from MI5 files to restaurant receipts, why are we fascinated by the artefacts great writers leave behind when they die? Mary explores Doris Lessing's archive, to ask how personal effects and ephemera paint a picture of a great writer's life.

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40 minutes

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Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Mary Beard
Interviewed Guest Val McDermid
Interviewed Guest Jeanette Winterson
Series Producer Mark Crossan
Executive Producer Tanya Hudson

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