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Harriett Gilbert

Harriett Gilbert presents A Good Read on Radio 4

Harriett Gilbert began writing fiction in her twenties. She was not long out of drama college and had just been touring the primary schools of England with an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories; she played the Mother Elephant. It was winter; the only job on offer was a small part in an Agatha Christie one-acter, for no pay. She owned an Olivetti portable. Authorship suddenly seemed attractive.

Since then, she’s published six novels, including Hotels with Empty Rooms and The Riding Mistress. In 2004 she founded the MA in Creative Writing (Novels) at City University London, and was course director for four years.

Harriett comes from a family of writers. Her father was the crime novelist Michael Gilbert; her feckless paternal grandfather, Bernard Gilbert, was a poet, novelist and playwright; her paternal grandmother, Berwyn Cuthbert, was a journalist; her younger brother, Gerard Gilbert, is also a journalist.

For many years Harriett also worked for the press, reviewing and writing about books and authors for Time Out magazine before becoming literary editor of the New Statesman. She’s published non-fiction books on journalism, feminism and sexuality.

Since the early 1990s she’s presented arts programmes for the BBC. As well as A Good Read she currently presents the daily arts programme for the World Service, The Strand, and the monthly BBC World Book Club, where her more than one hundred well-known guests have ranged from such Nobel Laureates as Doris Lessing, Günter Grass and Toni Morrison, to popular bestsellers including Henning Mankell, Terry Pratchett and PD James.

Harriett lives in London with her husband, the painter Robin Hazlewood.