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Episode 17: Margaret Drabble: A Writer’s Life

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Dame Margaret Drabble joins us at the Slightly Foxed table as we celebrate her life in writing. From taking up her pen in the 1960s as a young mother alone in her kitchen to feeling part of a movement with Nell Dunn, Margaret Forster and Edna O’Brien, to editing The Oxford Companion to English Literature without the help of a computer and eschewing the Booker Prize, Margaret Drabble sees writing as both an illness and a trade, finding black humour in ageing and joy in jigsaw puzzles along the way. And we uncover whatever happened to the elusive novelist Elizabeth Jenkins in this month’s reading from the magazine’s archives.

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Show Notes

Please find links to books, articles, and further reading listed below. The digits in brackets following each listing refer to the minute and second they are mentioned. (Episode duration: 44 minutes; 23 seconds)

Books Mentioned

We may be able to get hold of second-hand copies of the out-of-print titles listed below. Please get in touch with Anna in the Slightly Foxed office for more information.

Margaret Drabble Books Mentioned

Out of print

– A Summer Bird-Cage (5:41)

– Arnold Bennett: A Biography (8:58)

– Angus Wilson: A Biography (9:54)

– The Oxford Companion to English Literature, (ed.) Fifth & Sixth editions (11:13)

– The Radiant Way (15:20)

– A Natural Curiosity (15:20)

In print

– The Millstone (14:10)

– The Needle’s Eye (17:37)

– The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws NB Published 7 May 2020 (21:35)

– The Dark Flood Rises (36:48)

Other Books

Anglo-Saxon Attitudes, Angus Wilson is out of print (10:28)

– The Tortoise and the Hare and Harriet, Elizabeth Jenkins (28:17)

– The Custom of the Country, Edith Wharton (39:08)

– The Unwomanly Face of War, Svetlana Alexievich (40:26)

– To War with Whitaker, Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly: Slightly Foxed Edition No. 50 (41:55)

Related Slightly Foxed Articles

Whatever Happened to Elizabeth Jenkins?, Nigel Andrew on the novels of Elizabeth Jenkins in Issue 60 (28:17)

– Joyce to the Life, Margaret Drabble on Richard Ellman, James Joyce in Issue 49

– Trollope’s Ireland, Margaret Drabble on the Irish novels of Anthony Trollope in Issue 59

Opening music: Preludio from Violin Partita No.3 in E Major by Bach
The Slightly Foxed Podcast is hosted by Philippa Lamb and produced by Podcastable

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