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A Life in Miniatures

Novelist Max Porter has for many years been in love with model villages - and sets out to explore whether they were the initial spur for him to take up writing fiction.

People become writers for myriad reasons - novelist Max Porter suspects that for him the crucial spur was his fascination with Bekonscot model village, which he visited scores of times as a child. It was there that he discovered the pleasure and value of people watching at a life-size and miniature scale. In A Life In Miniatures he returns to Bekonscot to celebrate not just the care, craft and love that have gone into its construction, but also the opportunity it affords to create complicated stories out of the various people and scenes on show. He interrogates whether these places are necessarily escapist and reactionary or offer a more radical opportunity to critique society. He visits Jimmy Cauty of KLF fame to hear about the dystopian model village he has toured around the world in a shipping container and talks with Douglas Stuart, author of Shuggie Bain, about the miniature appearance of a miniature village that appears in that book. Max also speaks with academic Melinda Rabb about the rise of miniatures in 18th Century England - and how smart phones are keeping the tradition alive in various unexpected ways. Produced by Geoff Bird A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

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29 minutes

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