OurShelves: Backstage with Dame Eileen Atkins
Season 4, Ep. 6
Backstage with Eileen Atkins
How does the writing we love create the roles we perform?
Join Dame Eileen Atkins, stage and TV star, three-time Olivier Award winner and screenwriter of ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ and ‘Mrs Dalloway’ talk about her autobiography, Will She Do? She tells Lucy Scholes how she created the first entertainment about servants inspired by her parents’ lives, how a casting director got her addicted to the books of Virginia Woolf and how women in repertory theatre felt in charge.
OurShelves: Caribbean voices with Sharma Taylor
Season 5, Ep. 11
In this special bonus summer episode Sharma Taylor, author of What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You, takes us to the heated demi-monde of Kingston, Jamaica, in the 1980s, a turbulent time in politics and gangland crime. She tells Lucy Scholes about writing in patois; the Caribbean authors right now who are representing the strength of women in society; and what her mother sacrificed to buy her books as a child.On the nightstand: The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-AgostiniOn my mind: The podcasts Unstoppable Yes You and Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Cocoa Pod On the shelf: This One Sky Day by Leone RossOn the pedestal: My mother.
OurShelves: Barbara Pym with Clare Chambers
Season 5, Ep. 10
Clare Chambers is the author of nine novels including Small Pleasures, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize. She joins Lucy Scholes to rave about the inimitable Barbara Pym, a Virago Modern Classic author whose love affairs shocked sixties society and who wrote about vicars’ tea parties with waspish humour and moving brilliance. (Tea: ‘a drink she did not much like because of the comfort it was said to bring to those whom she normally despised.’) Together they compare notes on adapting book to screen with Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends, how to evoke the inner voice and the recent, genre-defying book that made Clare think about feminism in a new way.On the nightstand: The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson and Iron Curtain by Vesna Goldsworthy.On my mind: The TV adaptation of Conversations with Friends.On the shelf: In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.On the pedestal: Fiona Spargo-Mabbs, director of the DSM Foundation, which educates young people to make safer choices around drugs.
OurShelves: Taking ownership with Cathy Thomas
Season 5, Ep. 9
How does writing about your life change the way you see it? Cathy Thomas talks to Lucy Scholes about her first book, Islanders, interlocking short stories set on her childhood home, Guernsey – the pleasure of joining the dots and how playwriting informed her structure. Discovering a shared love of Annie Ernaux’s essays, they dive deeply into whether difficult experiences – from publisher rejections to trauma – may be reframed through the power of writing.On the nightstand: We Were Young by Niamh CampbellOn my mind: Olivia Fitzsimons' recent essay, Notes on Resilience, for The Stinging FlyOn the shelf: Annie Ernaux's A Girl's Story. On the pedestal: playwright Caryl Churchill