Main content

Rokia Traoré, Bill Buford on Granta, artworks in political posters

Malian singer Rokia Traoré on guest directing this year’s Brighton Festival and 40 years of Granta literary magazine.

The Malian singer Rokia Traoré is celebrated for her extraordinary voice, her collaborations with musicians and writers such as Damon Albarn and Toni Morrison, and her efforts to give opportunities to other artists in Mali. These qualities and interests are reflected in her choices as Guest Director of this year’s Brighton Festival. She talks about the work she and others will be performing.

In Germany, the far-right party AfD - Alternative fur Deutschland – are using the nineteenth century painting Slave Market by Jean-Leon Gerome in their posters for the upcoming European elections. The French artist is seen as a leading proponent of Orientalism, and this work depicts a nude fair-skinned enslaved woman paraded for sale and examined by Middle Eastern or North African men. One has his fingers in her mouth, as if she were a horse whose teeth he is checking. BBC Correspondent Damien McGuiness and art critic Fisun Guner discuss the use of this provocative work in a political campaign.

Granta, the literary magazine was launched in 1979 by a group of Cambridge University students and went on to become an influential force in the literary world, publishing heavyweights like Angela Carter, Raymond Carver and Philip Roth. Its "Under 40" list of emerging writers was influential and at its height it enjoyed a readership of 135,000. As the magazine turns 40 co-founder and former editor Bill Buford considers its history and place in today's literary world.

Presenter: Stig Abell
Producer: Kate Bullivant

Available now

28 minutes

Rokia Traore - Brighton Festival

Rokia Traore - Brighton Festival
The Museum of the Moon
Photo credit: Carl Milner
Part of the Brighton Festival
from 4 - 26 May

Main image: Rokia Traore
Photo credit: Danny Willems

Bill Buford - Granta

Bill Buford - Granta
Bill Buford

Granta Magazine is 40

Birdsong in the Charts

Birdsong in the Charts

Sam Lee
Photo credit: Will Parsons

Let Nature Sing
the RSPB's birdsong
single arranged by
Sam Lee is out now




A season discovering where artists find inspiration and helping listeners get creative.

BBC Arts Digital

BBC Arts Digital

The best of British culture live and on demand.

Front Row on TV

Front Row on TV

Join Mary Beard and guests for live and late debate on Friday evenings on BBC Two.