Search: Penelope Lively

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The Cazalets

Elizabeth Jane Howard (Author) , Sarah Daniels (Author) , Lin Coghlan (Author) , Full Cast (Read by), Penelope Wilton (Read by)

Penelope Wilton narrates BBC Radio 4’s epic dramatisation of the treasured family saga

Elizabeth Jane Howard’s five book chronicle of the upper-middle class Cazalet family begins in 1938, as siblings Hugh, Edward, Rupert and Rachel join together for another family holiday at Home Place, their house in the Sussex countryside.

During the course of The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, Casting Off and All Change, the progress of their lives, and those of their children, will be charted. As their stories unfolds we gain a vivid insight into the lives, hopes and loves of three generations during the Second Word War and beyond.

Dramatised by Sarah Daniels and Lin Coghlan, and with a large cast of actors across all five books, this remarkable radio event adds a new dimension to Elizabeth Jane Howard’s extraordinary chronicles. The first four Cazalet novels sold over a million copies, with the fifth being published in 2013, shortly before the author’s death.

North by Northamptonshire: Series 2

Katherine Jakeways (Author) , Full Cast (Read by), Mackenzie Crook (Read by), Penelope Wilton (Read by), Sheila Hancock (Read by)

The complete second series of Katherine Jakeways' heartwarming BBC Radio 4 comedy, starring Sheila Hancock as the Narrator.

Wadenbrook is a small market town in a corner of Northamptonshire, whose inhabitants live quiet but by no means uneventful lives. In these six episodes, as they build up to a Dickensian Festival weekend complete with mob caps, cravats and shawls which are usually used as cat blankets, narrator Sheila Hancock shines a light on their loves, laughs and loneliness.

Jan has Helen back home, but is it what she really wants? Meanwhile, a visiting choir sets the local ladies' hearts aflutter and Mary's dad, Norman, has an adventure of his own. Esther has a big question to ask Ken and Keith, and Angela and Helen both have news to divulge. And as the dawn of the festival brings chaos to Wadenbrook, love blossoms for a most unlikely couple...

Sheila Hancock is the Narrator of this funny and touching comedy series, also starring Mackenzie Crook, Kevin Eldon, Geoffrey Palmer, Penelope Wilton and Felicity Montagu. Duration: 3 hours.

Offshore, Human Voices, The Beginning Of Spring

Penelope Fitzgerald (Author), John Oliver Bayley (Introducer)

Sixty-one when she published her first novel, Penelope Fitzgerald based many subsequent books on the experiences of a long and varied life.

Offshore, which won the Booker Prize in 1979, explores her time living on a barge at Battersea Reach.

Human Voices takes place in the BBC where she worked during World War II. Both are vivid, intimate pictures of ordinary life, startling, sad and funny by turns, conjuring up complex worlds with the economy of poetry.

The Beginning of Spring is an historical novel operating on a larger canvas. It presents a life unknown to the author through a story of English émigrés in pre-Revolutionary Russia and has been described by one critic as the best ‘Russian’ novel of the twentieth century.

Written with energy, passion and wit, and each quite different from the others, all three of these masterpieces reveal a lightness of touch with the most serious matters unlike anything else in contemporary fiction.

Talking Heads 2

Alan Bennett (Author) , David Haig (Read by), Eileen Atkins (Read by), Julie Walters (Read by), Patricia Routledge (Read by), Penelope Wilton (Read by), Thora Hird (Read by)

Darker and more intense than the first collection, these six stories uncover the secrets behind ordinary suburban lives. From Patricia Routledge's Miss Fozzard, whose new chiropodist turns out to be rather peculiar, to Eileen Atkins' portryal of an antiques dealer who lets a masterpiece slip through her fingers, the characters come alive through Bennett's writing. These tales of desperation and loneliness are handled with the lightness of touch, compassion and shrewdly observed detail that have made Alan Bennett one of the country's best-loved writers. The stories included are: 'Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet' read by Patricia Routledge; 'The Hand of God' read by Eileen Atkins; 'Playing Sandwiches' read by David Haig; 'The Outside Dog' read by Julie Walters; 'Nights in the Gardens of Spain' read by Penelope Wilton and 'Waiting for the Telegram' read by Thora Hird.

3 CDs. 3 hrs 22 mins.

Through the Window

Julian Barnes (Author)

In these seventeen essays (and one short story) the 2011 Man Booker Prize winner examines British, French and American writers who have meant most to him, as well as the cross-currents and overlappings of their different cultures. From the deceptiveness of Penelope Fitzgerald to the directness of Hemingway, from Kipling's view of France to the French view of Kipling, from the many translations of Madame Bovary to the fabulations of Ford Madox Ford, from the National Treasure Status of George Orwell to the despair of Michel Houellebecq, Julian Barnes considers what fiction is, and what it can do. As he writes in his preface, 'Novels tell us the most truth about life: what it is, how we live it, what it might be for, how we enjoy and value it, and how we lose it.'

When his Letters from London came out in 1995, the Financial Times called him 'our best essayist'. This wise and deft collection confirms that judgment.

The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer

The Pumpkin Eater is a semi-autobiographical black comedy about family and love in 1960...

Penelope Fitzgerald on A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr

Read an extract from Penelope Fitzgerald's introduction to one of the great modern ...

Releasing The Animals: bringing Christopher Isherwood's love life off the page

Katherine Bucknell, editor of Christopher Isherwood's diaries and love letters, on ...

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