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Failure and female friendship

Lara Feigel's first novel takes inspiration from Mary McCarthy's 1963 novel about female friendship whilst Michèle Roberts has written a memoir of the year spent rewriting a book.

How do you cope with a sense of failure? Michèle Roberts has been Booker shortlisted and has 12 novels under her belt but her latest book is a clear-eyed account of a year spent rewriting after having a novel rejected. What sustained her in part were her female friends and cooking. Lara Feigel is the author of acclaimed non-fiction books and her first novel takes the template of Mary McCarthy's 1963 novel about female friendship and examines the lives of women now set against the backdrop of the publishing world. Alexandra Reza has been thinking about the place of the kitchen in novels such as Maryse Condé’s Morsels and Marvels, Marie N’Diaye’s The Cheffe, Calixthe Beyala’s How to cook your husband the African way, and Sarah Maldoror’s Pudding for Constance. Shahidha Bari presents.

Michèle Roberts's latest book is called Negative Capability. You can find her talking to Free Thinking about smell and her novel The Walworth Beauty https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08n24f5

Lara Feigel's novel is called The Group. You can hear her in Free Thinking discussions about Doris Lessing https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09tml77 and a debate about Fiction of 1946 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07wrq03

Alexandra Reza is a 2020 New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year to turn their research into radio.

Producer: Robyn Read

Available now

44 minutes

Last on

Wed 10 Jun 2020 22:00

Broadcast

  • Wed 10 Jun 2020 22:00

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The Arts & Ideas Podcast

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