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Michael Rosen

Sue Lawley's castaway is writer and poet Michael Rosen.

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the author and children's poet Michael Rosen. Since his first book, Mind Your Own Business, was published more than than 30 years ago, he has been credited with revolutionising the way children's poems are written and performed. Words and language have always formed an important part of his life. The son of two teachers, he was born into a London, Jewish family, and brought up in a home full of literature, conversation and debate. His poems often rely on snatches of dialogue and memories from his own childhood and relate his experiences with his own children.

His greatest commercial success has been his hugely popular re-telling of the American folk tale We're All Going on a Bear Hunt. More recently he's published a series of memories aimed at adults rather than children. In particular, these attend to the central tragedy of his life, the sudden death of his second son Eddie, when he was 18 years old. His death became a public matter because Eddie had featured so often in Michael's early work and was a well-known character to millions of children.

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

Favourite track: Black, Brown and White by Big Bill Broonzy
Book: The Complete Poems by Carl Sandburg
Luxury: A didgeridoo belonging to his late son Eddie.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 11 Aug 2006 09:00

Music Played

  • Original Cast

    Oh, What a Lovely War

    • Oh What a Lovely War.
    • That's Entertainment.
  • Ewan MacColl

    Fourpence a Day

    • The Iron Muse: A Panorama of Industrial Folk Music.
    • Topic.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Big Bill Broonzy

      Black, Brown and White

      • Black Brown and White.
      • Mercury.
  • Aretha Franklin

    Spanish Harlem

    • 25 years of Rock and Roll: 1971.
    • Connoisseur Collection.
  • John Doherty

    Miss Ramsay

    • Comhaltas, Ceoltoiri Eireann.
    • Deanta.
  • Léo Ferré


    • Léo Ferré.
    • Barclay.
  • Smiley Culture

    Cockney Translation

    • Cockney Translation/Roots Reality.
    • Fashion.
  • Taj Mahal


    Artist: Toumani Diabete

    • Kulanjan.
    • Hannibal.
  • Book Choice

    • The Complete Poems - Carl Sandburg

  • Luxury Choice

    • A didgeridoo belonging to his late son Eddie.


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Michael Rosen


  • Sun 6 Aug 2006 11:15
  • Fri 11 Aug 2006 09:00

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