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First There Was the Word
First There Was the Word
May 23 2014

Author Yasmin Hai combines personal storytelling with journalistic analysis exploring British Muslim fiction, memoir, readerships and publishing and the forging of a literary 'Islamic gaze'.

The Great Estate
The Great Estate
March 17 2014

Journalist Suzi Feay explores the power and influence of the literary estate on our cultural and intellectual life - its control over what appears in print, what is revealed and what remains concealed from public view - including letters, journals, unpublished works.

Black Liberace
Black Liberace
February 04 2014

Record producer Joe Boyd gives his personal take on the great New Orleans piano player James Booker - aka the Black Liberace.

Houses of Horror
Houses of Horror
January 30 2014

It’s almost a given that the story of British horror belongs to Hammer films: the studio, with its lurid combination of sex and death, lashings of blood and gore, has given it a special stake in British hearts. But throughout its heyday in the ‘60s and ‘70s it did battle with a much smaller, poorer, creative, upstart rival:  Amicus films, a small British horror studio that pioneered the much loved ‘portmanteau’ picture, each movie a composite of four or five short stories whose ghoulish connection is revealed at the end. Horror aficionado and film buff Matthew Sweet explores the productive rivalry between the two contenders for the heart and soul of British horror in a blood-curdling tale of low budget, gore spattered one-upmanship. Contributors include The League of Gentlemen’s Reece Shearsmith, Stephanie Beacham, David Warner and Angela Pleasence.

 

Signs Taken for Wonders
Signs Taken for Wonders
December 20 2013

Science writer and broadcaster Vivienne Parry explores the meeting point between classic fiction and science proper (or un-proper).The dialogues and debates that occur in both the emerging sciences and the literary fiction of the period of the novel are fascinating (the creative and indeed psychological power of electricity in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, for example).

Overwhelming China
Overwhelming China
October 31 2013

Philip Dodd explores China's continued haunting of British intellectual and cultural life, tracing current anxieties about global economic takeover back through the political sinophobia that ran through the Cold War period to earlier, pulp fantasies of Yellow Peril, Limehouse Chinatown and the 'discovery' of the enemy within.

The Iraq War Episode 1 of 3
The Iraq War Episode 1 of 3
September 17 2013

Distinguished documentary maker Norma Percy presents the inside story of the invasion of Iraq and the ensuing decade of conflict, as told from the point of view of the senior decision-makers who were involved.

The Secret History of Bossa Nova
The Secret History of Bossa Nova
September 03 2013

Forget its low key supper club reputation: bossa nova was tied to political revolution and driven by a sharp and very modern aesthetic. It was born in Rio in the late 1950s as a new music to mark the dawn of a new Brazil: of an urban, modernising society leaving behind its colonial past, open to the future and looking out at the world.

TS Eliot's India: Many Gods, Many Voices
TS Eliot's India: Many Gods, Many Voices
July 31 2013

Poet Daljit Nagra explores the often overlooked Indian element to T.S Eliot's poetry. T.S Eliot once wrote that the great philosophers of India "make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys". And although he's more often remembered as an establishment figure, somewhat conservative and deeply Christian, Eliot also wrote about and studied Indian philosophy, language and culture; he incorporated it into his most famous poems, and even considered becoming a Buddhist.

 Black is a Country
Black is a Country
May 14 2013

Singer and songwriter Erykah Badu presents a two part series exploring the underground music generated by the Black Power movement of the late Sixties and early Seventies: radical, beautiful and rare.