Episode 17: Margaret Drabble: A Writer’s Life

Share this

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.


Comments & Reviews

If you enjoy the podcast, why not leave us a review? You can scroll down the page or click here to jump to the comments section.

How to Listen

There are several ways to listen to the podcast. Please choose from the following options

– LISTEN ONLINE. Press the play button on the image above to listen on this page

– SUBSCRIBE for free via:

DOWNLOAD an mp3 file of this episode to your device. NB The file will download automatically on click. Please check your downloads folder

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

Share this

Comments & Reviews

  1. Pauline Beaton says:

    I am relatively new to Slightly Foxed but can honestly say it is the best discovery I have made for many, many years. My daughter has bought me a year’s subscription to the quarterly magazine but because I live in a very isolated place in Kenya it is being sent to another daughter in London until I can get to England and collect them, but I know I am going to enjoy them. In the meantime I am just loving your podcasts, and have particularly enjoyed this one with Margaret Drabble, she does sound lovely!

    Thank you so much for the books, the quarterly and the podcasts. Kind regards to you all, Pauline

  2. Margaret Minière says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful podcasts. I love Margaret Drabble’s attitude and writing.
    Slightly Foxed is generously cheering us up. Stay safe. Margaret

  3. Julie, via Instagram says:

    With all routines gone topsy turvy here in the States, I had forgotten today was a podcast day! The podcast is my favorite programme in the car while doing school runs, but since we are all stuck at home it will be lovely to listen while starting the first of what could be many jigsaw puzzles.

Leave a comment

Customise this page for easy reading

Distraction-free
reading mode