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Sigrid Rausing

Michael Berkeley's guest is the Swedish philanthropist, anthropologist and publisher Sigrid Rausing.

Sigrid Rausing is a writer, publisher and philanthropist. She’s the co-founder of Portobello books, the owner of Granta books, and the editor of Granta literary magazine, a role she says she hugely enjoys. It’s impossible though to talk about her own achievements without mentioning her Swedish family background: her grandfather founded the packaging company Tetra Pak, and his brilliant idea for the invention of waxed cardboard cartons for milk and fruit juice brought him great wealth - and has allowed his grand-daughter to found one of the biggest philanthropic organizations in this country. But the family has been marked by great tragedy too: in 2012, Sigrid’s sister-in-law Eva died of a drugs overdose and her brother, who was also an addict, was arrested for possession of drugs, and for keeping his wife’s body at home with him.

In conversation with Michael Berkeley, Sigrid talks about the terrible effect of drug addiction on her family, and the guilt she and everyone around her feels about what happened. She looks back on her early career as an anthropologist, and reflects on the pleasures and challenges of editing a literary magazine. Music choices include Mozart’s clarinet concerto, Brahms’s Handel Variations, Liszt’s transcription of Schubert, and Ella Fitzgerald singing “Anything Goes”.

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3
Produced by Elizabeth Burke

Available now

33 minutes

Last on

Sun 13 Jan 2019 12:00

Music Played

  • Franz Schubert

    Standchen (Schwanengesang)

    Performer: Vladimir Horowitz. Music Arranger: Franz Liszt.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622 (2nd mvt: Adagio)

    Performer: Martin Frost. Orchestra: Bremen Chamber Philharmonic.
  • Thorstein Bergman


    Performer: Thorstein Bergman.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Song without Words, Op.109

    Performer: Mischa Maisky. Performer: Sergio Tiempo.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Variations and Fugue on a theme of Handel

    Performer: Murray Perahia.
  • Cole Porter

    Anything Goes

    Performer: Ella Fitzgerald.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Ode to Joy (Symphony No.9)

    Performer: Igor Levit. Music Arranger: Franz Liszt.


  • Sun 13 Jan 2019 12:00

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