I’ve just spent a very happy couple of days in Bristol scripting and recording BBC Radio 3’s John Berger: Ways of Listening, a three hour celebration of his life and work to be broadcast on Radio 3 on Sunday 23rd July from 8.30pm. It’s a symphony of delights including conversation with those who knew him well, a broadcast of the 1997 radio dramatisation of To The Wedding (my favourite of his novels), and selections from his best bits on TV and radio. It’s been a pleasure to immerse myself in his work again (and by goodness, is there a lot of it). If you’ve never encountered him before (my Mum hadn’t!), Ways of Seeing is the place to start – all four episodes of this groundbreaking 1972 series are available on YouTube. A shout out here as well, for the unsung heroes of radio – the producers. Tim Dee is putting all this together, a man of wisdom, skill and infinite patience. Go check out his work too.
Literary Pursuits returned to the BBC Radio 3 airwaves in July with Episode 5 on E. M. Forster’s secret book Maurice. With the Forster archives on my doorstep at King’s College Cambridge, I didn’t have to travel far for this one, but the book itself had a remarkable journey from Cambridge to America, passed hand to hand by men risking imprisonment to transport it from Forster to Christopher Isherwood. I start with this journey in order to discover the wonderful and moving story behind this seminal text in the history of gay literature.