Broadcasting English

Dr Sarah Dillon, University of Cambridge – On Ditching the Subclauses: General Reflections Drawn from Personal Experience

Dr Shahidha Bari, Queen Mary, University of London

Di Speirs, Books Editor, BBC Radio – Taking Literature to a New Audience: The Power, Influence and Thrill of Putting Books and Stories on Air

Dr Peter Mackay, University of St Andrews – The Difficulty of Difficulty: unacceptable languages, swearing and not treating people like idiots

On 1st October 2016 Ian McMillan launched a fifty part series on BBC Radio 3 – Three Scores and Ten – celebrating seventy years of Radio 3’s recording of poets and poetry since it was launched as the Third Programme in September 1946. BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime is one of its longest running programmes, beginning as A Book at Bedtime on 31st January 1949 with the first instalment of John Buchan’s novel The Three Hostages. There has always been a home for creative writing on the radio, but what about literary criticism? How does one broadcast English, as our discipline knows it? What freedoms and what constraints does writing literary criticism for the radio rather than for an academic audience present? This roundtable discussion brings together three academics who also work as radio broadcasters with Di Speirs, Head of Books at Radio 4, and overseer of Book at Bedtime, as well as of programmes such as Open Book and initiatives such as the BBC National Short Story Award. The panel will talk about their personal experiences of producing literary criticism for radio, address the practicalities and responsibilities of moving between academia and the media, and then widen out into a broader discussion of the importance and value of broadcasting English.

Friday 7th July, 11.00