Life lessons from a south London girl to Kingston University graduates

I was hugely honoured to me made an honorary Doctor of Letters by Kingston University today, “in recognition of her contribution to journalism and gender equality”. Here’s the speech I gave at the graduation ceremony. You can watch it on YouTube here from 1 hour 39 m. And you can find the notes from past lectures I gave students by searching under Kingston University class notes.

Thankyou so much. When I was a little girl growing up in the 70s, we used to have to watch the Miss World beauty pageant to see women winning awards for anything, so we’ve come a long way.

Over the last year or so I’ve been having a new kind of anxiety dream — that I’m back at university. When I say back, I mean I’m the age I am now, but I forgot I signed up for another degree and I’m back on campus in a tiny student room, worrying about an imminent essay. In one case I dreamt I had to hand in a dissertation the next day and hadn’t had a clue. Wondered if I could busk writing 15,000 words overnight.  And also thinking I don’t know any of these people. Oh, and what about my children, and my job? How will I juggle them all?

I think it shows that even all these years later how great a challenge university study is. So while I want to say thank you so much, for bestowing this honour on me, I want to first offer my congratulations to all of you for reaching that peak.  Well done all of you. But also thank you so much to the university, for bestowing this honour on me. I’m really hoping this not a dream!

I grew up in New Malden, very much a local girl, and was always aware of the Uni, particularly its fame for its design and fashion courses, which as we’ve heard, are still such a huge part of this university. I love the legacy of this place, finding it in books I borrowed from the library, when I was visiting professor, that still had Kingston Polytechnic stamped in their covers. The kind of whole history of this place.

As a visiting Professor in the 2010s I was delighted to meet so many students, from all over the world and learn so much from you. Learn that your enthusiasm is what promised success. I gave one class on pop music and politics and there was an American student who knew all the answers to every question about British pop music history going back to the Beatles in the early 1960s, when the British students didn’t. I loved seeing that unexpected expertise from people. In the same way I still love my science fiction and my pop music, I would urge all of you to keep the spirit of your young selves in you, throughout your careers. That passion, that personal passion for your interests, that teenage you; the early twentysomething you. Never lose touch with that person. And always be true to yourself.

My mother, who is here now, – you may have guessed I’m of South Asian heritage. And I hate to bring up a stereotype but she always wanted me to be a doctor. And you know what kind of doctor; a medical doctor. And if I’m honest she’s still wondering now that I have this honorary doctorate whether she can tell people that I am a doctor. Sorry mum.

But, of course, my mother encouraged me to follow my own heart. And at a time when we know there are politicians talking about downgrading the value of arts and humanities degrees, I’m not downgrading STEM, but I think we must all be proud of these courses.

I once met a very senior computer expert who’d worked in Silicon Valley. This was a few years ago and we were at a science conference, talking about the future dangers of AI, and she said what AI reveals is the greater importance of human decision making, of creative thinking, of the human in all of this. So more than ever, if anyone tries to push back against humanities degrees, you absolutely need to stand up for them.   

My father encouraged me too – he never went to university. Or even finished school properly. But he knew the value of education and he encouraged me. And I know for some of you here, that may be true of your families. You may be the first generation to have attended university. And I congratulate you for all of that too.

My passion meant a degree in English literature and language. It wasn’t strictly vocational, but it taught me so much about critical thinking, and how to learn to trust your own instincts.  I’d always wanted to be a journalist. I was lucky enough to join the BBC as a graduate news trainee and have never, for a day, been bored. It’s been a privilege.

In fact, with my degree in English literature, when I interviewed the director of the Barbie movie, which if you haven’t seen you should, I brought up the fact that it was clearly inspired by the story of Lord Buddha, which it was, and no one else had spotted, and we also discussed Milton’s Paradise Lost. So your degree in humanities will take you anywhere you want.

So I want to thank to all our parents and guardians and carers for backing us to follow our hearts and study the degrees we wanted. Congratulations to all the parents and carers.

Thanks to my degree I have a mantra now, it is.. show me the data and I will show you the story. Whether that’s reading a report for a journalistic investigation, or someone’s bank statements, or working out when I’m being ripped off on pay.

I think it’s useful for you to know as well, what I wish I’d known when I was at university. 

First, being judged on my own hard work at school and university set me up with a confidence of knowing my own abilities. I want all of you with your degrees to take that confidence with you and never forget it.  Never doubt your abilities, no matter what others might say.

When I began my career I assumed discrimination had all been sorted. I really did. After all the Equal Pay Act and the Race Relations act and the Sex Discrimination act for 10-20 years when I went to university. So what I wish I’d realised, and want you to, is to never assume you’re being paid or treated fairly. Trust your instincts, to share pay information with colleagues, ask your employers for transparency and equal pay. To join a union. Stand together. I couldn’t have successfully sued the BBC for sex discrimination without the backing of mine, the National Union of Journalists and the amazing lawyers and all my colleagues and friends who supported me.

I like to think I’ve always had an instinct for justice and to uncover the truth. My mum says I do, and she’s always right. I’m proud of standing up for the parents of Rochelle Holness who was murdered by a serial rapist and then had a false story about her murder printed in The Sun, apparently fed by a Metropolitan police officer. I’m proud of reporting the so-called corrective rape and murder of lesbian women in South Africa – women like Eudy Simelane – and bringing global attention to the way the criminal justice system around the world and misogyny around the world still betray too many women.

When I made my BBC4 documentary series Art of Persia in Iran I showcased the Iranian people and their rich culture – to help us see they weren’t the same as the regime ruling the country.

I can’t pretend every story I’ve covered has solved anything, but shining a light on the truth is where we have to start if we want to make our world fairer. I like to think I’ve never given up hope and I hope you won’t either.

Of course, you’ve had challenges that my generation didn’t expect. There’s been the ongoing issue of strikes and I need to say I support the lecturers fighting for pay and conditions. It’s not right that there should be such a huge gulf between the pay of those at the top and the rest of us. I can’t believe it’s got so much worse in the last few years.

Then you faced tuition fees, and the pandemic. My own children are very much the same age as most of you. And I’m so aware how the pandemic has seen your generation suffer. Divisions are being sown between us again, amplified by social media. I hope you can try to limit its pernicious influence in your life. I’m a great fan of IRL. Going out and meeting people and doing things is essential to your wellbeing and making your life the way you want it to be.

I hope you can all appreciate how remarkable you are to have come through this difficult time and be here to celebrate. When it comes to the rest of your life, though it’s a long and hopefully exciting journey. You may pause or change paths; there may be setbacks. You don’t need everything mapped out now. So my one other mantra to you is.. remember it’s stamina, not speed.

Thank you again for this huge honour. And I wish you all the best for your future.

Graduation Oxford 1990 with my mother
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Discovering The Beatles at Stowe Tape – An Experiment in Time

(Updated Sep 12th with link to my article in the Journal of Beatles Studies and April 10th 2023 with set list and link to a feature for The Observer)

It was sixty years ago today….

A spread from the Stowe School archive was laid out in the Headmaster’s Gothic Library when I arrived there on March 22nd, ready for me. Copies of the letters from Brian Epstein, photos and more. Anthony Wallersteiner and old Stoic John Bloomfield had agreed to spend the morning with me and producer Julian May for a special Front Row report marking the 60th anniversary of the Beatles’ most unusual gig – the time they played a private boys’ boarding school.

My fascination with the intersection of popular culture and social change is the driving force behind my journalism. My partner had taken me for a visit to the school last summer and Anthony had given us a tour and told us about the concert. Seeing a blue plaque on the school theatre building marking the event set my spidey senses tingling. Not only did I love The Beatles, I knew there was a story about what that concert represented as a pivotal moment of transformation in British society and the uniqueness of that almost all male audience. What I didn’t know until a couple days before we arrived was that John might have a tape of the whole concert.

Last night’s Front Row special in which I revealed the existence of the earliest complete live recording of the Beatles in the UK was one of the most delightful stories I’ve ever worked on.

It’s all thanks to John Bloomfield’s self confessed technical nerdery in taping the concert on his new tape player that it exists. And thanks to his generosity and trust in me, that he told me about it.

He brought along an extract that we played through the stage PA system turned up as loud as possible to match the experience he’d had back in 1963. It was emotional for all us, including two young A level music students who came along to listen. It was like time travel. The Front Row listen hopefully gives a sense of that.

Back home I decided I needed to be sure of my story and therefore to hear the whole tape. I rang John to ask him if he’d play it in full over a call. I also asked if I could let Mark Lewisohn join us on the call and get his expert opinion on what it revealed. John kindly agreed. Mark was in New York on a research trip for his next volume of his definitive Beatles history (covering 1963-66 by great coincidence), but we found a date and time slot and the three of us listened to it in full for the first time in 60 years, grinning and tapping our feet but also..given that this was cultural history – making careful notes. I now had an almost complete set list — more than 22 songs with another 2 we guessed, missing as the tape had run out before the end. I collated Mark’s notes with mine; John made amendments to correct what we’d misheard on the banter.


I Saw Her Standing There  

Too Much Monkey Business 

Love Me Do 

Some Other Guy 


I Just Don’t Understand 

A Shot of Rhythm and Blues 



From Me To You 

Thank You Girl 

Memphis Tennessee 

A Taste of Honey 

Twist and Shout 


Please Please Me 

Hippy Hippy Shake 

I’m Talking About You 

Ask Me Why 

Till There Was You 


I Saw Her Standing There (reprise) – tape runs out at this point. Possibly there were a couple more songs – maybe Sweet Little Sixteen and Long Tall Sally, according to another Stoic’s partial set list.

I then arranged to record an interview for the Front Row piece with Mark, who gives his invaluable insight and context about what the tape reveals, how it changes our understanding of the band’s performance and the potential for it with audio enhancement, as an artefact of cultural importance. And I don’t mean an artefact as a dead, fetishised object, but for its dynamic exciting capture of a live moment.

As the edit came together with more clips of the banter, the BBC worked its Reithian power when it counted: A colleague in BBC Music rights helped my editors Tim Prosser and Rebecca Stratford clear permission to use extracts. My editors gave constant support and oversight and allowed the piece to be as long as it needed to be: 27 minutes. Julian cast his George Martin-level magic to weave a sound collage of new interviews and archive – he found the BBC’s session recordings with the Fab Four made the same day as the Stowe Concert, matching some of the same songs from my written set list, in case we couldn’t use the tape. We had a nerve wracking week, keeping the secret, and waiting for clearance of clips.

I had written a news story for the BBC News website and my colleagues including Ian Youngs turned that around before 6pm – just over an hour before Front Row went on air. Somehow I recorded an interview with Hugh Laurie about his wonderful Agatha Christie adaptation. Producers Paul Waters and Kirsty McQuire took care of the shape of the rest of the programme. With the symmetry of pieces falling into place, Laurie’s drama was set in 1936, the same digits, rearranged, as 1963. Then we were on air. 1, 2, 3, 4… Tune in:

The Beatles At Stowe concert Front Row Special broadcast on April 3rd 2023 is on BBC Sounds here

Further reading

It was sixty years ago today – Schoolboy’s tape of the Beatles takes us back to an age of optimism (Observer April 9th 2023)

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Inside the Mary Whitehouse diaries

A fresh perspective on Mary Whitehouse (with David Frost, Mick Jagger 1968)

Archive on Four Disgusted, Mary Whitehouse is on Radio 4 March 5th 2022 at 8pm

It was back in summer 2019 that I first found out that Oxford University’s world famous Bodleian Library had just acquired the Mary Whitehouse diaries. And I knew straight away that I wanted to read them. I’d been a child of the 70s, seeing her mocked and dismissed as an anti-sex prude. A lot of unpleasant truths were being reassessed about that decade. What might I find by reading her point of view?

I also realised I was now nearly the same age as she’d been when she began her clean up tv campaign in 1963. I knew a thing or two about what it took to stand up as an individual woman to the power of a national broadcaster. In December 2019, I paid my first visit to the Weston Library, where the special collections of modern manuscripts were kept, and saw the Mary Whitehouse diaries in their raw state; a physical manifestation of her multitasking, formidable and relentless campaigning mind.

There were stacks of boxes bursting with letters and newspaper cuttings. These were her private campaign diaries, separate to the official National Viewer and Listener Association papers now housed at the University of Essex. The diaries occupy a fascinating mysterious inbetween world – somewhere between official correspondence and personal private channels of influence. I carefully leafed through one box and found correspondence with Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and letters to Prince Charles, the Queen and Princess Diana. She kept all the newspaper cartoons of her, clearly understanding that coverage of any kind was evidence of her influence. And she was proud of the fact that her Spitting Image puppet was smiling, and, she said, the only “ordinary” citizen on the show.

I spent several weeks in the library during 2020 going through every diary and cutting and letter. And you can read one of the many stories I found about her here: Her successful 1994 battle involving the Queen to stop humanists getting on Throught For The Day. Thanks to Francesca Alves, Nicole Gilroy and their colleagues at the Bodleian, and to St Edmund Hall’s staff and Principal, Professor Katherine Willis, for all their help and support on those long research days during partial lockdown.

Eager to turn even a fraction of this into radio I sent a pitch to Radio 4’s commissioning editor who gave a speedy yes (thank you!) and teamed up with my brilliant and regular collaborators, producers Simon and Thomas Guerrier. Given the three of us first worked together filming a Doctor Who Vengeance on Varos DVD extra, called The Idiot’s Lantern, it was particularly apposite that we should explore more closely the life of the woman who waged a high profile and effective campaign against excessive violence in Doctor Who. Simon’s written a wonderful blogpost about Mary Whitehouse vs Doctor Who.

With Fiona Whitehouse, Mary’s granddaughter

Fiona Whitehouse, whose father Paul, inherited the diaries after Mary’s death in 2001, was instrumental in finding the diaries their new home in the Bod. Talking to her and her family was a fascinating and insightful experience. It’s fair to say Mary Whitehouse was a strong and divisive personality. But as you’ll hear in the programme, Fiona had a very close and warm bond with her grandmother, who was never a conventional housewife, whatever the myth that was lazily repeated in the press. They disagreed strongly on Mary’s religious belief that homosexuality was a “sin”, but I hope the programme conveys the idea that Whitehouse could be wrong and simultaneously right on different moral and ethical issues of her day. Her views on tackling pornography, especially as computer technology took off dating back to the late 1960s, are remarkably prescient. As people are very fond of saying these days, she claimed to be on the right side of history when it came to the impact of unregulated pornography on society.

One of the cuttings found in Mary’s 90s diaries

As you can probably tell I have so much more I’d like to write about Mary Whitehouse and what we could learn by studying how she operated and what’s changed because of her campaigning, even if we don’t want to admit it. I’d also like to say more about her sense of fun. She was a smart media operator with a new frock for each appearance and remarkable confidence on camera at a time when men very much ruled the airwaves on and off mic. She was always up for a debate. A former school teacher, she loved the company of students and spent a huge amount of her time travelling round the country debating at universities. Even some of her opponents – whether student protestors such as feminist lesbian activist Julie Bindel, or broadcasting executives such as Michael Grade – have told me in interviews, that she was a formidable campaigner and orator. Tireless, relentless, a writer of the most beautifully argued letters in the pages of the newspapers.

l-r Producer Simon Guerrier, critic Michael Billington, Samuel West, Nicholas De Jongh, me

Though as theatre director Michael Bogdanov found out, as the target of her prosecution for gross indecency over the National Theatre play The Romans In Britain – being targetted by her could be life changing and frightening. We do not shy away from that story and the repercussions of her campaign. Bogdanov died in 2017, but we use archive interviews with him after the prosecution was suddenly dropped. Nicholas De Jongh, often mentioned in the diaries, was the Guardian’s arts reporter at the time and knew Mary throughout this time. Samuel West directed the only professional production of Howard Brenton’s play since – in 2006. Brenton, incidentally, declined to take part in the programme, saying he was proud of the play but did not want to talk about the attacks on it. We also piece together the timetable from the diaries, which shows how, unknown to Mary, one of her closest Christian allies was a violent abuser of young men, even while preparing to prosecute the play for staging a fictionalised male rape. He was only exposed in 2017.

Mary knew none of this. But I do wonder how it might have challenged her sometimes closed mind if she’d known; not least her unshakeable faith in the leadership of establishment institutions. She herself was herself targetted with death threats, physical attacks, angry protests and blacklisting (by then BBC DG Hugh Carleton-Greene). But she was brave and, in her later years, in considerable pain after breaking her back. I think there is much to admire in this formidable woman.

I think she would be delighted to find her writings housed in one of the world’s greatest universities.

Disgusted, Mary Whitehouse is on Radio 4 on Saturday March 5th at 8pm and BBC sounds after

Further reading

Was moral campaigner Mary Whitehouse ahead of her time? BBC News online March 5th 2022

Mary’s War – New Humanist January 2022

Mary Whitehouse v Doctor Who by Simon Guerrier Feb 2022

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People had come expecting The Beatles. They saw and heard something rather more akin to Slade – Oasis at the Viper Room December 1995

I was a young BBC News Correspondent and had arrived to cover for the BBC’s LA Correspondent over Christmas. I was very jetlagged after playing Mortal Kombat II nonstop for 11 hours on the flight over. But then Jeremy Cooke rang and told me he had heard on KROC that Oasis were playing a surprise gig at the Viper Room that night and offered to cover it for Radio 1’s Newsbeat. So rather than meeting him the next day in the office, did I want to come? This is the review I wrote the day after, thinking I might offer it to one of the British inkies – Melody Maker or the NME. These were the heady days of Britpop. I found it in the back of the filing cabinet in a folder with thank you letters from the Cabinet Office, broadcasting executives and various illustrious bodies. You can tell I was attempting a “style”. It does make me cringe. I apologise for “Yanks” and rudeness about brains. Not ok. It was my own attempt at youthful macho swagger. But it is what it is. An attempt to capture a moment.

In Britain they fill Wembley Arena. In Los Angeles, preppie couples in the Viper Lounge were discussing whether to other staying on after the Zen Cowboys and Chickenhawk for Oasis. The intimate club was packed out with a mix of industry “decision maker”, a hybrid batch of Goths, and alarmingly convincing Damon Albarn lookalikes. They’d all heard the hype. But they all needed convincing.

After a soundcheck, with the velvet curtains jumping around on the stage, the ‘Sis got off to a cracking start. All credit to Liam for perfecting a rock god act which requires minimal physical movement; just holding the mic lead carefully in his mouth, like a rookie Lassie, and staring blankly with those limpid eyes.

A rollicking Hello, Roll With It, and Some Might Say were definitely the highlights of a twenty minute set. Americans looked blankly as Liam, in the way of band banter, bawled something about “this is fookin’ great” and Manchester. Translation hopefully provided by a small contingent of British tourists, who were bounding around, unable to believe their luck. Sadly the Brits were also nearly the only ones actually moving. The crowd actually managed to make Liam’s stage act look like Take That. Arms crossed, pained expressions. Oh dear. A lacklustre Live Forever didn’t help; Liam deciding to give up on actually moving his lips and consigned large chunks of singing to big brother.

Cigarettes and Alcohol finally got some movement out of the crowd. The playing was superb. All on excellent form, and to hear it belted out in the intimacy of a venue which, as a fellow listener commented, was smaller than the Kent University hall whe he last saw them in 1994, well, it was fabulous.

Whether overly packed out with insiders or not, it’s clear the gig served as a useful illustration of the uphill struggle the band faces in the ‘States. People had come expecting The Beatles. They saw and heard something rather more akin to Slade. Without the acoustic wonders of Noel’s gentler numbers, I Am The Walrus, even as beautifully as it as performed, couldn’t amuse this lot.

And Liam walking off even before the band had finished playing – muttering thanks under the din – thus totally inaudible – suggested little attempt to tackle the situation with professional politeness.

Aww, who cares what the Yanks think anyway? For the tourists who found themselves there, and hopefully for a handful of Americans with brains, it was a moment out of history – like seeing The Beatles last ever performance at the Cavern. It may not have been their greatest, but it was for anyone who was there.

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Art of Persia: Episode 3: Genghis Khan to 1979

Filming in Isfahan’s Half the World Square at the height of Nowruz 2019 (BBC/Craig Hastings)

The final part of Art of Persia ends where most programmes and news about Iran begin – in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. We feature the beautiful Shiraz-born poets Saadi and Hafez and their influence on Byron Goethe and the European Romantics. But the story of Persia is also dominated by notorious conquerors: Genghis Khan, Timur (or Tamburlaine – as he’s known in Christopher Marlowe’s play) and Nader Shah – the looter of Delhi and the Peacock Throne.

The citadel at Takt-e-Soleyman filmed by Craig’s drone camera (copyright BBC/Craig Hastings)

It also features perhaps my favourite location — Takt-E-Soleyman – King Solomon’s Throne. The UNESCO-listed citadel in northwestern Iran has the ruins of a magnificent Zoroastrian Fire Temple. built around a sulphurous lake in an extinct volcanic crater. Craig Hastings’ masterful drone camerawork really captures the magic of this place, surrounded by snowcapped peaks, when we went in June last year. It’s thought the priests created the legend that Solomon kept monsters imprisoned in the lake and another neaby mountain, to help protect the site from the Arab Muslim invaders. It seems to have worked.

With the Shahnameh in one of the priests’ corridors under the fire temple at Takt-E-Soleyman (copyright BBC/Craig Hastings)

But for episode 3 we focus on the palace that the thirteenth century Il Khanid dynasty – the descendants of Genghis Khan – built there, richly decorated with stories from the Shahnameh as they, too, like previous invaders, became seduced by the art of being Persian.

The 19th century Pink Mosque in Shiraz features churches and roses in the tile work (copyright BBC/Craig Hastings)

Remarkably Timur’s descendants spawned the Timurid Renaissance with a magnificent flourishing of miniature painting – something very recognisable in India’s Mughal tradition, too. One of the first places we filmed for Art of Persia was in the workshop in Isfahan, where as you’ll see the tradition lives on with recognisable schools of Afghan (Herat) and Mongolian style. It’s a group of French tourists you’ll glimpse walking into the shop; proof that a number of tour groups of curious travellers continue to come to Iran, despite sanctions and political tensions.

The Timurid Shahnameh we examine at the Golestan Palace Archive is one of the highlights of the series. You may have been it featured in my news report for the News At Ten on June 12th. The fact that it was brought out at all is, we think, a significant gesture, and one that has excited scholars, who have been waiting years to see some of these treasures. You can tell how thrilled scholar Gity Nourouzian and I are to be able to turn its pages.

With restorers including Mohammed (left) at work on the Soltaniyeh Mausoleum (copyright BBC/Craig Hastings)

I have a fascination with subjunctive history. And Solteniyah – the fourteenth century Il Khanid capital of the Mongols northwest of Tehran – is one of history’s great what if..s. Like so many of old Persia’s capital cities, it’s all but disappeared. One building stands out though: Our focus in the film is the magnificent blue domed mausoleum. Just as medieval Christians thought of the pilgrimage potential of holy relics and cathedrals, Sultan Oljaitu had grand plans: He was going to bring the remains of the martyred Imam Ali from Karbala here, to turn it into the greatest Shia pilgrimage site outside of Mecca.

Inside, it was moving to talk to Mohammad, leading a team of restorers, painstakingly painting and reviving this beautiful building. We filmed so much more, but you’ll get a tantalising glimpse of the work going on and what it means to Iranians.

In the brutalist 1950s Nader Shah Mausoleum modelled on a tent – every concrete detail was symbolic of his life and reign (copyright BBC/Craig Hastings)

Nader Shah – the soldier of Afghan heritage-turned ruler has been compared to Napoleon, and it’s a useful not merely Western-centric comparison. It was also a strange experience for me, raised with stories of the barbarians who destroyed Delhi, to visit his brutalist 1950s built mausoleum in Mashad, where he is regarded with reverence. To be honest I felt the same about Napoleon’s mausoleum at Les Invalides in Paris. We filmed in Mashad exactly a year ago, and the mausoleum is a perfect example of the current debate about how problematic statues and memorials can be. Among the tourists I had a great chat with one American Iranian dad who’d brought his children from California to learn about their heritage. He said Nader Shah was a boyhood hero. In the same way Nelson or Napoleon or Julius Caesar might be to British or French or Italian schoolchildren.

Experiencing the enduring power of the
bazaar in Isfahan (copyright BBC/Craig Hastings)

The episode and the series end exactly where we pointedly did not start – in 1979. By exploring the link between the last Shah’s grand celebration at Persepolis to connect himself to the ancient Kings such as Cyrus, and his fall.

Busstop in Nishapur (copyright BBC/Craig Hastings)

It’s been thrilling to see how this series, has made a connection with British audiences of all backgrounds. Of Iranian heritage as well. I really hope it will be bought and shown by international broadcasters, especially in Europe and North America and south Asia. Understanding history can only be a good thing in trying to make sense of our difficult present relations as nation states, and forge a more hopeful future.

My thanks as ever to the entire international team in Iran and the UK who worked so hard to make this happen.

Episode 3 of ART OF PERSIA is on BBC4 on June 29th 9pm with repeats and all previous episodes on BBC iplayer

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Behind the scenes of Art of Persia – episode 2

On the Tower of Silence overlooking Yazd

We’ve had such amazing audience praise and enthusiasm for Episode 1 so I thought I’d give some more insights and answer a question.

A number of viewers asked why we described the Cyrus Cylinder -with its declaration of tolerance for all his conquered peoples – as “propaganda”. I asked Professor Lloyd Llewellyn Jones of Cardiff University (one of the experts in the series) about this.

Cyrus the Great is held up as this champion of human rights, because of the wording on the famous carved Cyrus cylinder, now in the British Museum, supposedly declaring a conquest that allowed freedom of belief to his subject peoples. It’s now understood to be more a symbol of propaganda than fact. Cyrus carried out massacres too. But Llewellyn Jones has witnessed students chanting his name it late at night in Shiraz; and crowds have gathered at Pasargarde on October 29th –  now Cyrus Day – as a figurehead of a civil resistance to the regime.

Even the Nobel Laureate, human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, cited it in her Peace Prize acceptance speech, in which she declared, echoing the rhythms of those cuneiform statements of pride: ”I am an Iranian. A descendant of Cyrus The Great”. She was later reportedly mortified to learn of her error.    

Some of that identification is based on a lack of knowledge. It doesn’t help, believes Llewellyn Jones that Iranians aren’t taught much about their early history at school; just a few pages in text books on the Achaemenids and Xerxes. “Iranian history begins with the Arab conquest in the 7th century. So straight away there’s this paradox set up even in the teaching [of it].”

With Zoroastrian guide Farahnaz Chehelmard

So on to episode 2. This is an episode where we go into people’s homes. We focus on the remarkable religion of Zoroastrianism. There is still a sizeable Zoroastrian community around the desert city of Yazd and you’ll see Farharnaz Chehelmard, show me round one of the holiest sites of their religion — the fire temple at Chak Chak. We were incredibly privileged to be allowed to stand right in the holiest part of it, where the mountain spring flows out of the barren desert rocks.

Filming in a Zoroastrian village near Yazd

Thanks to Farzaneh, we spent a morning meeting many other Zoroastrians in the home of a local council leader, a woman incidentally, with worshippers who recited prayers in their ancient language Avesta. The story of how this religion survived despite the Arab invasion is one of the most moving of our series.

With street art of Rostam from the Shahnameh in central Tehran

We look in more detail at the story of Abolqasim Ferdowsi, the author of the Shahnameh, with a wonderful couple who’ve devoted their lives to educating Iranian schoolchildren, including their own sons. about the chivalry and heroism of these stories and characters. They also cooked us the most delicious meal, which you’ll see me enjoying.

And what could summarise the untold Iran better than the fact that that street art of Rostam was in the shadow of a building you often seen on the news – with the old revolutionary mural of a US Flag made of skulls and falling bomb trails instead of stars and stripes, saying “Down with the USA”.

Shooting the “Arabian Nights” sequence In the teahouse at Isfahan

My thanks as ever to the remarkable team in Iran and the UK who worked on this for 4 years and the generosity of all the Iranian people we met during our filming.

Art of Persia episode 2 is on BBC4 on Monday June 22nd 2020 and iplayer after

Episode 1

Further reading

The Art of being Persian (Financial Times June 13th 2020)

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The art of making Art of Persia

It was 2016 when I was first approached about the possibility of going to Iran to make a major series about the history and art of Persia.

Teahouse in Isfahan, where we filmed the Arabian Nights vizier story (copyright BBC/Craig Hastings)

It took 3 years to get the visas and we filmed exactly a year ago. I’d last visited in 2002 for a Channel 4 Series Islam Unveiled that focussed on Islam and feminism around the world and always wanted to go back. It seems to me exactly what the BBC should be doing: informing, educating and entertaining.

Fixers Naser Safarzadeh, Meisam Jebelli while filming at the frieze of Shapur’s victory over 3 Roman emperors in the Chogan Gorge (copyright Meisam Jebelli)

Going beneath the news headlines to help us meet the Iranian people and get an insight into how they see themselves and their place in the world. I cannot thank the ordinary people of Iran who welcomed us enough, and hope these films do their rich heritage and resilience justice. Thanks to the UK based-academics you’ll see in the programmes who helped provide context and insight and spoke with passion and expert knowledge about how to interpret these sites and objects.

Not quite sure what producer
Richard Downes and I are looking at in Shiraz, but it was clearly hilarious (copyright Meisam Jebelli)

And there is obviously a real poignancy in seeing the films shot before the Covid 19 pandemic. Some of these photos capture ideas we filmed, like the roses sequence below, but sadly couldn’t fit into the final programmes. 7000 years in just 3 hours!

Piece to camera in the city bazaar from a lost sequence about the importance of roses to the legend of Shiraz
l-r Doug Dreger, Richard Downes (copyright Meisam Jebelli)

You’ll see amazing imagery (including some remarkable drone shots) thanks to cameraman Craig Hastings and hear memorable sounds and insights thanks to Doug Dreger our BAFTA nominated soundman.

Ray Harryhausen moment at the Cave of Shapur (copyright Meisam Jebelli)

I am hugely grateful to producer Richard Downes for his stamina, patience and care, who brought the benefit of his experience on his earlier Silk Road documentary series to work so hard on this and is the shaping force behind it all.

In the desert by the fire temple of Chak Chak. That’s my English
translation of the Shahnameh on my lap (copyright Meisam Jebelli)

Special thanks to Mark Hedgecoe for recommending me for this. And to everyone at BBC Studios and BBC Arts and in post production and publicity for editing and the gorgeous graphics and the promotional work with a trailer and interviews to raise awareness of the series..

Art of Persia: on tour at Pasargarde (left Naser Safarzadeh, Meisam Jebelli, Craig Hastings behind me, driver Ali, Richard Downes to my right) (copyright Meisam Jebelli)

The series wouldn’t have happened without the longterm work and daily support of our colleagues in Iran. Meisam Jebelli and Naser Safarzadeh were on the road with us every day; Meisam translating as well as organising filming access and interviews. Senior Producer Reza Ganji got the whole show off the ground. It was an honour to work with them.

All photographs are copyright of Meisam Jebelli and Craig Hastings.

Further Reading/viewing

Art of Persia starts on BBC4 on Monday Jun 15th 9pm and iplayer

The Art of Being Persian (Financial Times Jun 13th) – my feature on the making of Art of Persia

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Broadcasting Press Guild award speech 2020

This is the text of the speech I gave on winning Audio Presenter of the Year at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards 2020 at the Guildhall, London. I’d like to add my thanks to producers and editors Jon Tolansky and Simon Pitts, who’ve both supported me and made such wonderful programmes with me.

Thankyou – I didn’t think anything could top meeting Hartley Hare at the Writers’ Guild Awards. But I think this does.

It’s an honour to be nominated alongside such great presenters.  And especially to be recognised by journalists and critics. All I’ve ever asked is to be judged on my own abilities and to be given equal opportunities. Thankyou so much to the broadcasting press guild and to all my interviewees for coming on.

As a little kid I used to make my own radio shows with a tape recorder. So this will mean a lot to that child. I was seriously going to apply for the job of Director General but I think I might wait till next time on that. My heart is in broadcasting.

Thanks to my great school teachers Miss Charlton, Frau Harris, Mrs Kirman and Mrs Wilson, to all my tutors at St Edmund Hall, Oxford Reggie Alton, Bruce Mitchell and Lucy Newlyn who inspired me, valued me, and taught me the importance of critical thinking. To my teachers on the BBC news trainee scheme: Phil Ashworth, Sarah Bulling, Rona Christie, Peter Dorling and Simon Lloyd – who gave me an absolutely amazing entry into broadcasting.

My agent Sue Ayton and the team at Knight Ayton management.

BPG’s Kate Bulkley and HIFMV producer Farah Jassat

Thanks to producer Farah Jassat who’s here and Intelligence Squared who developed HIFMV and thought of me to present it. I love working with you.

Thomas and Simon Guerrier at Elizabeth Cromwell’s grave for The Fundamentalist Queen (Radio 3 Sunday Feature)

Simon Guerrier who’s here – with whom I’ve tackled Oliver Cromwell’s wife, HG Wells and the H Bomb, John Ruskin’s dancing girls and Victorian lesbian tomb raiders. You and Thomas Guerrier your brother and fellow producer stretch me creatively every time we work together. You also forced me to wear a corset.

Simon Guerrier (left) and Big Issue TV writer Adrian Lobb

All those who’ve supported me at Front Row and BBC radio. Mohit Bakaya, Philip Sellars the editor who brought me on board at Front Row. All the production team, especially Ekene Awalawu, Tim Prosser and Hannah Robins who produced the Germaine Greer special. Thanks to the amazing studio managers who’ve been so creative. And the broadcasting assistants.

And the kind security staff and the cleaners and cafe staff who all have been so supportive of me over the last few months. These are the people who make up the backbone of the BBC.

The brilliant creative Luke Doran at Radio 4 Extra with whom I’ve tackled the faces on the Sergeant Pepper album, why Carry on Films are better than Shakespeare and what I’d give James Bond for Christmas. And Belinda Naylor who produced our Sisters in Satire special on women in radio comedy for Radio 4 Extra.

Sandi Toksvig, Lyndsey Fenner and Jeremy Hardy who welcomed me into the family on the News Quiz. Jeremy would have had so much fun at my employment tribunal. I miss you my friend.

But there are a couple of BBC names that stand out. The biggest in my career is Tony Phillips who is here and who as commissioner of Radio 4 and World Service Arts encouraged me and championed me within the BBC and recommended me for Front Row. You’ve always been a champion of new voices, too. You’d be an amazing DG, and if you aren’t then whoever the new DG is should be doing all they can to get you back. 

And there’s my friend and fellow BBC broadcaster Matthew Sweet whose friendship has been one of the best things in my life since we and Simon Guerrier first crossed paths at that screening of Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD with the Bernard Cribbins Q&A. Bernard Cribbins, I thank you too.

My dad and mum taught me the value of hard work and fair play. And my mother never to be afraid. My mother who used to take me to Bush House and Pebble Mill with her as a small child and showed me the camaraderie of the staff who made the programmes who believe in public service.

Who juggled her own life as an actress and broadcaster with motherhood. And Like so many other mothers of broadcasters, took care of my children so I could work. Thankyou to all the mothers and the unpaid labour that gets radio and television made.

My parents remember the days when there were signs in windows that said no blacks no Irish no dogs.

The BBC had a ban on broadcasting the fascist Oswald Mosley till 1968. I’m not talking about banning. But after the end of the nonsense of false equivalence over climate change it’s time all broadcasters thought long and hard about the right to hold the moral line on not normalising racism and prejudice. It doesn’t compromise our journalistic balance. I know it’s not easy in the current climate when the enemies of the BBC are on the attack again. But the BBC belongs to all of us and has a responsibility to protect all of us, including the most vulnerable. We need to stand against normalising such views.

Last year I was privileged to spend several weeks travelling around Iran making a BBC4 TV documentary series about understanding modern Iranians through the history of Persian Culture. It took 2 years to get the visas. It goes out in June. It’s exactly the kind of cultural diplomacy and programming that only the BBC could do and persevered in doing. Thankyou Mark Hedgecoe for getting me to present it and to everyone who’s worked with me on it through BBC Studios. We need to stand up for the best of the BBC and reform the areas that need reforming. I think listeners and viewers understand that.

So finally and more than anyone I’d like to thank all the listeners and viewers, especially Radio 4 listeners, who care passionately about culture, about the truth, about standing up to power. It’s an honour and a privilege to present the shows I do. I never take you for granted. And I always think about you every time I write a script or ask a question.

And I’d like to accept this award on behalf of all the immigrants who raised children like me. To all our mums and dads who helped make this country great. Thankyou.

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Why the 90s was a bloody brilliant decade to be a young woman (despite the backlash)

Wrote this 2 years ago. It inspired 3 bonus questions on University Challenge in August 2018. (A lot has happened, like #MeToo) But posting it here Marcel Proust- style after finally seeing kd lang on her Ingenue at 25 tour last night…

It was the best of times it was the worst of times. I mean the 90s of course. Stumbling across Liam Gallagher’s face on the new GQ cover with the fawning headline claiming 72 “extraordinary” hours” with the Oasis singer got me thinking about the deluded praise heaped on Lad culture’s pinups 20 years on.

A few days later seeing a 25th anniversary edition of KD Lang’s album Ingenue and it hit me: Actually the 90s–the decade when I left university and started work as a BBC journalist–was a bloody brilliant decade to be a young woman. Released in 1992 Ingenue was a flawless songcycle–all about lust and unrequited love. In the golden age of the CD we had it on constant repeat.

And while at first glance it couldn’t be more different to the brash pop of Madonna’s stadium-filling Blonde Ambition tour, both, together with Annie Lennox’s Diva had a key thing in common: They put female desire (lesbian desire in the case of Ingenue) at the heart of mass popular entertainment.

On TV’s X Files Gillian Anderson’s Agent Scully was the calm rational skeptic, and the bloke was the superstitious, emotional one. In her brightly coloured pantsuits, flashing her FBI pass, Scully was my generation’s role model, entering the bastions of government and civic power.

Our manual was Susan Faludi’s Backlash (1991)–a book that changed the way we read and watched the news. It exposed the dodgy stories getting coverage in mainstream outlets, designed to induce panic just as women were really making inroads in the workplace; most notoriously a spurious “study” that single female graduates over 30 were more likely to be killed in a terrorist attack than marry. It equipped my generation of women journalists to consciously challenge sexist editorial attitudes.

That same year millions via TV watched Anita Hill –an African American lawyer and academic testify before a Congressional committee about the sexual harassment she’d endured from Clarence Thomas –the first black man to be appointed to the US Supreme Court.The wretched details, and the double discrimination she endured -accused of being a race traitor -shocked us and actually helped change the gender balance of governments. Many women who are now in Congress and the Senate say they were inspired to run for elected office BECAUSE of her.

We felt it here too. Some papers may have patronizingly labelled them “Blair’s Babes” but the huge influx of women into Parliament in the 1997 election changed the way it operates now. In 1992 one of the first events I covered as a new BBC network news reporter was the General Synod vote to allow women priests. I remember female deacons cheering and hugging around Church House in Westminster. Hell, even in the Church sexism felt like it was for squares.

In the cinema our star was Geena Davis: Thelma and Louise, The Long Kiss Goodnight, the ground breaking Cutthroat Island and A League of their Own. Now her Geena Davis Institute campaigns on changing the way Hollywood makes films to better represent women and girls. In Britain female led groups such as Lush,Elastica and Skunk Anansie were liberating pop from the zombie grip of Stock Aitken and Waterman. Anyone could join in. One of my mates –a BBC secretary to the reporter pool where I worked –was in her big sister’s riot grrrl group The Voodoo Queens. Her sister had taught her the essential keyboard chords. “I’m going to be on the Word tomorrow!” she announced one day. And she was, performing their new single Supermodel Superficial. Those heady days didn’t last but they were glorious.

And then the Lad thing happened. I can actually remember sitting watching TV one day and thinking hang on, they only just stopped showing Benny Hill and all those stupid sexist shows. Backlash o clock! Suddenly there were these invisible ironic quotation marks around all the same stuff. Blokey bands strutted around on shows like TFI Friday. Even supposedly more cerebral Blur made a Benny Hill style video for Country House with Page 3 girls, directed by Damien Hirst. Porn-y mags such as Loaded created a corrosive sexual culture that exploited a lot of young women. We should reflect on the contradictory currents under the progressive surface of the 90s that haunt the present :President Clinton’s predatory treatment of the White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clarence Thomas becoming the judge who officiated the oath at President Trump’s inauguration. The enduring pay gap in institutions including the BBC. Why it’s taken more than 20 years for women bishops to be appointed. The awful things Joss Whedon’s ex wife Kai Cole has revealed about the unfeminist stuff going on during the making of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. But those of us who were there in the 90s can tell you, we did make progress. We learned there’s always a backlash. So don’t fall for the attempt to glorify and revive Lad culture. It’s just for squares.

A version of this article first appeared on The Pool in September 2017

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The story behind How I Found My Voice

The podcast is the idea of Intelligence Squared’s Matt McAllester and was developed by producer Farah Jassat – one of the brightest young talents in broadcasting – who recently joined Intelligence Squared after several years at the BBC as a production trainee and producer in current affairs and culture notably on BBC2’s Newsnight. Intelligence Squared is well known in the US and Canada as well as the UK for its live discussions and debates around culture and politics. Both Farah and I have always enjoyed that intersection of politics, culture and news. I believe in thorough research, listening, and digging around behind the obvious to find out something new. And it was delightful to be approached by Intelligence Squared as the perfect match to host it, so here’s a podcast devoted to how we all like to approach the world. Listen via ACAST or SPOTIFY or iTUNES . And rating and recommending it would be great.

Producer Farah Jassat with Philip Pullman recording How I Found my Voice
in his library. Reading from the yellow folder manuscript to The Secret Commonwealth. His (red) first edition of Paradise Lost

We’ve tried to choose a range of people – comedians, writers, actors, artists, but potentially politicians and non arts figures too – to get inside that sense of awakening power. What people did as children and when and how their influences shaped them finding their voice as professionals.

In my case it was imbibing the news from my earliest years, writing school compositions drawn on real news events like terrorism, making my own radio shows with a tape recorder and microphone and my own newspapers and magazines.

Rose McGowan was an obvious choice for episode 1. I’d loved her film and TV performances, and after reading her powerful and thoughtful memoir Brave, was struck how the activist and actress has been slandered in news and online since she came forward to speak up about sexual exploitation (that Adam Sandler casting call) and then Harvey Weinstein. There was also something my teenage daughter said about watching old episodes of her show Charmed – how you could tell she was always pushing at the boundaries and subverting things. Rose McGowan’s beautiful, articulate and good humoured interview is peppered with shocking experiences – her abusive childhood in the Children of God cult in Italy and then later in the US , and the way she was treated in Hollywood as her career took off in the 90s. (A fascinating counterhistory to the jolly 90s indie scene version of that decade on film). But it’s also full of great fun – how she got the studio to write in her hair colour change when she came back to shoot the next series of Charmed. Her directing and music career are significant moves. I want to see what she does next. And above all it’s an inspiring reminder of someone who has chosen to be in the resistance not a collaborator.

If Rose is a newly adopted Londoner, then Katherine Ryan is very much an old established city sister now, having moved here some years ago. She intrigues me, especially for how she’s forged her own space in the macho arena of standup and panel shows which have seemed to problematic for women. She is a formidable feminist combination of intelligence, beauty and fearlessness.

We talked about the importance of performance taught in our Catholic schools – hers French Canadian and mine Irish – where we both learned to recite poetry before audiences. But it’s Katherine’s experience working as a waitress in Hooters that revealed the most unexpected lessons – in female solidarity, pushing the boundaries on humour and male expectations. Her new Netflix sitcom The Duchess, drawing inspiration from her own experiences as a single parent will be unmissable.

Philip Pullman and his wife Judith Speller’s generosity was touching. They invited us to do the interview at their home in Oxford and made us a beautiful lunch with home made bread and soup. We recorded in the library and if you like the word “exclusive” you’ll get your very first listen to Philip reading the opening of his long awaited Book of Dust 2 – The Secret Commonwealth.

Philip Pullman’s childhood seems to have come from a postwar British children’s novel – an RAF father who died when he was a young boy, a beloved older relative who shared the joy of books with him, and a peripatetic childhood of journeys by ship to live in Africa, Australia and then Wales. How Philip regards it is fascinating and honest.

Our conversation is peppered with the poetry and rhythms that shaped his confident, absorbing style – Longfellow’s Hiawatha, Kipling’s The Jungle Book and Just So Stories. But also the visuals he draws that are such a strong part of his books and his style – those Edgar Allen Poe inspired images of ravens, and beetles. For those who don’t know his career, Philip Pullman’s story of finding his voice is refreshing self-made: His English degree at Oxford was not a happy experience, but teaching in schools and discovering the joy of story telling was transformative. His is a model of a career based on stamina, diligence and passion.

It was also good to talk about the moral steel I love in his work. From his committment to humanism (we have fun discussing why he loves Milton’s Paradise Lost) to the powerful evocation of a Stasi/Stalinist style purge in the school in La Belle Sauvage, where children are enlisted by the authoritarian church regime to report on teachers who defy the new orthodoxy. Philip Pullman is definitely another member of the resistance.

Adam Buxton defies categorisation, but he’s such a huge star I was delighted he was up for taking part. And as someone of almost exactly the same age I enjoyed seeing how we shared many of the same influences – Kenny Everett, a fascination with the idea of being on TV, the possibilities of pop videos – but he’d transformed his passion into a new hybrid artform.

His many fans will find something new in the backstory of the schoolboy friendship with Joe Cornish and Louis Theroux. Like Philip Pullman, Buxton is driven by the passion for making the best work he can. From his TV and radio shows, to his videos, to his live happenings, to his podcasts – he’s been years ahead of everyone else on finding art and joy in the internet. And most delightfully of all, as his art school tutors failed to understand, he is driven by a sense of fun. The latest series of his hugely popular Adam Buxton podcast starts this Friday (April 21st)

Meeting Mark Millar at the Kingsman junket (2015) That’s director Matthew Vaughn’s hand

Mark Millar was the first guest I knew I HAD to have on and suggested to Farah — the renowned comic book writer and creator of worlds at Millar World (recently bought by Netflix). He’s that rare thing — a celebrity guest I’d got to know, interviewing him at a junket (for the Kingsman film, based on his own comic) and ended up becoming friends with. We’d both been to see the same Sinbad/Spiderman double bill circa 1978 and grown up loving the same old films and TV; notably the original Christopher Reeve Superman. His life story is remarkable.

Mark Millar aged 6 (right) – photo copyright Mark Millar

A working class boy with five older siblings from Coatbridge near Glasgow, he seemed driven from an early age to work in comics and to head for NY and LA. His episode features his writing a letter of commiseration to British Prime Minister James Callaghan on losing the 1979 general election to Margaret Thatcher, dressing up as Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock and trying to solve crimes around his local housing estate, coming up with the idea of his acclaimed Superman Red Son comic series aged 6 (baby Kal-el crashing in Soviet Russia in the 1930s instead of the USA) and why Kick-Ass is based on him as a teenager and him as a dad. What is infectious about Mark is his endless curiosity, his ability to conjure up new stories, and his open mindedness. I should say we have a healthy disagreement about conspiracy theorists like David Icke. But you’ll come away with a real understanding of superheroes and villains and the new boundaries he’s pushing now with his latest creations such as Jupiter’s Legacy and Empress.

Still to come:

With Benjamin Zephaniah at Brunel University

I’ve been recommending the autobiography The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah to everyone over the past 6 months and buying it as birthday presents for all the men I know. So he was another obvious choice for me and Farah.

My personal fascination with his career and writing goes back decades. He wrote and starred in my favourite ever piece of British television – Dread Poets’ Society – a short BBC2 comedy drama film about him encountering the spirits of the Romantics – Byron, Keats, Shelley and Mary Shelley based on his own experience being demonised by the national press and literary establishment when he was under consideration for a poetry professorship at Cambridge University in the 1980s. Its now very famous and impressive cast also features Timothy Spall and a then unknown Alan Cumming.

Then when I worked at Channel 4 News I remember sitting in the studio watching him convince – on air – the writer and broadcaster Yasmin Alibai-Brown to give back her MBE and reject the whole British system of honours.

Benjamin Zephaniah’s life story is so complex and so inspiring. From the world of Birmingham in the 50s and 60s through to the exciting radical fringes of London in the 70s; from racism and violence in childhood, to crime and borstal in his youth, to finally getting recognition for his literary powers and becoming one of Britain’s most famous and respected poets. And vegans. We conducted the interview at Brunel University, where he’s Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing.

Elif Shafak after recording How I Found My Voice

Novelist and activist Elif Shafak‘s eloquent interviews about literature, freedom and Turkish politics have made her a regular fixture on news and current affairs shows such as Radio 4’s Today as well as in the book world. She’s another writer I first encountered through an earlier work interview, speaking to her about her novels. Writing in English and Turkish and embracing the history of both worlds as well as the present in her fiction, Elif Shafak is another of life’s resisters. And, with the ongoing turmoil in Turkey, an ever more essential voice challenging attempts to divide or diminish shared principles of human rights. Her episode has fascinating insights into her warm and creative childhood and way of seeing the world.

I hope you enjoy the series and do let us know what you think. Recommendations and ratings where you download it and all that stuff are really helpful for a new podcast, especially for me, if you’ve been following my work. as it’s my first.

Several episodes of How I Found My Voice are already available on acast, iTunes and Spotify. The others will drop every Monday.




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