Sue Lawley's castaway is columnist A A Gill.

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the critic and columnist A A Gill. His witty, first-person articles have earned him a whole host of awards and a loyal following. But his life as a successful writer was preceded by more than a decade that was spent living in squalid squats, taking drugs and existing in an alcoholic haze. It was the unplanned intervention of a GP that made him face up to his alcoholism and seek treatment. It's now 21 years since he last had a drink and he has been given, he says, the chance to start again and live a second life.

He abandoned his early hopes of becoming an artist, for a while he ran cookery courses in his own home and, at the same time, he started writing. Despite suffering from dyslexia so severe that he has to dictate all his columns to copytakers he found his voice immediately - as soon as he began writing his articles, he says, he felt he had come home.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Love Song from Sanders of the River by Paul Robeson
Book: Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor by Mervyn Peake
Luxury: My children's pillows

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 25 Aug 2006 09:00

Music Played

Add music you love and enjoy it with My Tracks
  • Jeanne Moreau

    Incidental song from Jules and Jim

    • Jules et Jim soundtrack.
  • Kathleen Ferrier

    Blow the Wind Southerly

    • Your Hundred Best Tunes: Volume 4.
    • Decca.
  • Chris Farlowe

    Out of Time

    • Out of Time: The Best of Chris Farlowe.
    • Immediate.
  • Squeeze

    Cool for Cats

    • Greatest Hits.
    • A & M.
  • Pulp

    Common People

    • Common People.
    • Island.
  • Nena

    99 Luftballoons

    • Nena.
    • Epic.
  • The Byrds

    Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season)

    • The Collection.
    • Castle.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Paul Robeson

      Love Song from Sanders of the River

      • Big Fella.
      • Happy Days.
  • Book Choice

    • Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor - Mervyn Peake

  • Luxury Choice

    • My children's pillows


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest AA Gill


Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes


Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?