Series One of Close Reading came to a close on Monday with the final episode on Pat Barker’s Regeneration. I’ll be returning to the Radio 4 airwaves with Series Two in the autumn, but if you are getting withdrawal symptoms in the meantime all the episodes from Series One have been usefully gathered together on my new BBC Radio 4 Open Book Close Reads page. If you’ve enjoyed the first series, and especially if you, or your book club, have decided to have a go at close reading as a result, I’d be delighted to hear your feedback on the effects of listening to the episodes and on the outcomes of your close reading experiments. Please feel free to send your responses to Series One to me.
On Monday 10th August Open Book steps into Radio 4 limelight with a special 45 minute feature show in the Start The Week slot on ‘why we read’. Along with how we read, why we read is a question I’m very much interested in and one I hope to return to in a year or so when I resume work on a project I began at St Andrews on what and why scientists read. In the meantime, I’ll be listening with interest to Mariella and her guests on Monday, and I am delighted that the final episode in my current series of ‘Close Reading’ will be included in the show.
The Proms season is upon is and it’s been my pleasure to try my hand at the presenting game. It’s a very different experience asking the questions to being the one answering them, but I enjoyed it just as much, if not more. To be fair, my first gig could not have been easier since my interviewee, Steven Price, may well be an Oscar winner for his score for Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity but he’s also a very lovely guy who’s retained the down-to-earthness of our shared Northern roots. Steven and I talked about film music, Holst and the anxiety of influence in a Proms Extra live audience event which is then produced for broadcast in the interval of that evening’s Proms Concert. With my presenter appetite whetted, I’m looking forward to my next Proms Extra event on Monday 31st August when I’ll be interviewing the great Hermione Lee about Willia Cather, on the centenary of the publication of The Song of the Lark. If you’re free, come and join us at the Royal College of Music, or tune in that evening for the interval broadcast.