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Nice

Ian and guests Tessa Hadley, Brian Bilston and Jesse Schwenk attempt to celebrate the often overlooked word 'nice'.

Isn't this nice? This week, Ian McMillan and guests examine the often overlooked and unloved word 'Nice'.

In her novels and short fiction, Tessa Hadley often writes about people aiming to preserve 'niceness' and keeping up appearances in trying circumstances. In her latest novel 'Late in the Day', the comfortable dynamics of lifelong friends are shifted forever.

Jesse Schwenk is the author of the last in our series of Verb dramas. A Quark In My Cosmos is directed by Andrew Smith.

Brian Bilston has been called 'unofficial poet laureate of Twitter'. We commissioned Brian to write a new poem making use of the word nice - going against the advice of many English teachers. Brian's new novel is 'Diary of a Somebody'.

Presenter: Ian McMillan
Producer: Jessica Treen

39 minutes

Clip

Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley’s latest novel is ‘Late in the Day’ (Cape), a story of a group of friends trying to keep themselves together in the face of tragedy. For Tessa, the word ‘nice’ is one she tries not to use in a story or a novel, except when she’s writing dialogue, where it can tell you a lot about a character. Tessa also explains the difficulties of writing ‘nice’ characters, who can be hard to bring to life.

Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy
Linguist Lynne Murphy takes us through the complicated history of the word nice, which has changed meaning many times over the years. As an American living in England and the author of The Prodigal Tongue: The Love–Hate Relationship Between British and American English (One World), she also explains why British people might have a problem with that most American of phrases, ‘Have A Nice Day’

Jesse Schwenk

Jesse Schwenk

Jesse Schwenk is a lecturer and a dramatist and the author of the last in our series of Verb Dramas, produced in conjunction with the BBC Writers Room on the theme of ‘space’. Jesse’s play is set in an office, where Ian is a very nice man indeed who might just need a bit of a push in the right direction. ‘A Quark in My Cosmos’ stars James Quinn and Angela Lonsdale. It was directed by Andrew Smith. Please see here for more information on the BBC Writer’s Room

Brian Bilston

Brian Bilston

Brian Bilston is known as the Twitter poet laureate, and he has just published his first novel, ‘Diary of A Somebody’ (Twitter). Brian tells Ian what he has in common with the Brian Bilston of the diary (chiefly: procrastination), and reads us a brand new specially commissioned poem on the theme of ‘nice’.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

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