« Desert Island Discs

Kate Atkinson, novelist

2018-11-25 | 🔗
Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for her 1995 debut novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and has won the Costa Novel Award twice, for Life After Life in 2013 and for A God in Ruins two years later. Born in York in 1951, she was the only child of a couple who ran a medical and surgical supplies shop. She began to write after she had failed her doctorate at Dundee University and had given birth to two daughters. She took on a wide range of jobs while writing short stories for women's magazines, and did not publish her first book until she was in her early 40s. Her mid-career reinvention as a writer of detective fiction has seen her publish four novels starring her sleuth Jackson Brodie, with another one in the pipeline. She lives in Edinburgh, has two grown-up daughters, and two grandchildren. BOOK CHOICE: The Collected Poems and Letters of Emily Dickenson LUXURY ITEM: A 500 year old, mature oak tree FAVOURITE TRACK: Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
BBC sounds music. Radio podcasts, I'm Lauren Laverne, and this is the desert island discs podcast. Every week I ask my guests to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they'd want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island. This is an extended version of the original radio four broadcast and for rights reasons. The music is shorter than the original broadcast. I hope you enjoy listening the
my customary this week is Kate atkinson and also who thrills funds and critics alike at best selling novels are distinguished by their inventive narrative structures and intricate masterfully wrote plots. Her. Korea began on a high per day, interval behind the scenes at the museum won the whitbread book of the year in nineteen. Ninety five since then, she's won the costa novel prize twice for life. The life and a goat in ruins and had jackson, brody detective series was adapted for tv born and brought up in york. Her parents run a medical and surgical supplies shop, an only child she was
if voracious reader so much so that her local library gave her an adult card, so she could take out more books. She began writing her short stories in her thirties publishing her first novel in her early forties time, secrets, memory, family and loss are recurring motifs in her work. She describes the writing process as very mysterious. I don't question it any more. I just, I'll start and we'll get somewhere, kate atkinson welcome to die to the lovely. So tell me little more about that unconscious process at work. Apparently, if we see you starting to clear out, you draws anymore, it happening well, I do consulting incredibly therapeutic, because it's it's mindless it. It's purposeful, I send very puritanical, but actually it helps me think, and act is just a funny said that, because Starting to think about writing you on- and I am a great Thirdly, so she got my drawers at this moment in time. So, yes, there's something about me,
interest nus as opposed to mindfulness. That I think, is very creative. It's it allows your brain some space to start doing a lot of unconscious thinking, and then you have very tidy drawers at the end of it. That sounds like a double win. So what happens after that? Then, when the story starts to take shape, you've often described. Writing is quite a feast go process? I do. I do feel it's a bit late, weaving and none of my fingers already starting to move as if I'm trying to knit something, but I think it sir it's obviously not a physical process, and yet it's very structured thing. So I think that's why I will think of it in this physical terms, because you putting something together, you're making something I don't think roger might be for some people, but writing isn't some
that is for those out of you in this strange stream of consciousness it something that you have to make its fabricated is, through all intents and purposes, its work of art. You work is no ought by graphical, but you ve also said that everything that happened to you goes into your writing. Tell better well by necessity, because it comes out of my brain. So I too think it has to I used to be very insulted in the old one and sought is maybe the wrong word: People were was saying to me? Oh you know, it behind the scenes. That must be autobiographical enough. I know I am capable of writing fiction, but now I'm more likely to hold up my hand and say yes that sort of happened to me or that happened to people. I know because obviously you're taking it from your own experience and history and beliefs and everything. So everything about you goes into it.
It comes out in a different form. I love Mary mccarthy's line on the idea, which is I'm putting real plums in an imaginary kate. That's very good description. So what misa common. How important is that to you? How was it choosing you ate discs today? It was relatively easy, but then I could. Is well choose another completely different. Eight I realise when I got to the end of my list, that it's actually more that achieving me up than anything, because I thought I mean I know don't be on my own in a desert island. I dont want to be feed the melancholy the whole time so a lot of its about just being able to put myself in a good place. I think well, let's see at your first piece of music care accords and tell me why I chose disk one. I just denver because
partly is in my childhood. I was born in fifty one and Glenn Miller was still being played a lot, but also, I think, from that sense of jaunty. As you hear, the first notes have been made and that's it. You just think you want to be on your feet. You know you just think fantastic. I feel great and I think that's really one of the reasons that I've chosen is built it. I probably first heard it when I watched as a child on a sunday afternoon, the old film about your grandmother- and the Glenn miller story made such an impression because it's so packed with emotion and june allyson at the end, the little brown jug and it was so sad- and I think I had a very powerful effect- film- has great power people
at the the the the
Glenn miller and in the mood kate, I can send your novels are hugely evocative immersing read as in the atmosphere of particular era, postwar britain in transcription, for example, how do you go about doing that? Creating a kind of atmosphere, but even from a child? I enjoyed thinking about whether it be like to live in path times, and I come from europe, which is a very historic town and my father used to want me through the streets in the centre of town a lot. We go on various airlines from the shop and he would also take me to the castle museum, which is a vote it is the first those living museums, and I think that particularly spout something in me that that somehow his chief is all around you, because it is in europe and I think some you with a wartime books. I definitely didn't immersion, I mean I listen to only listen to music from the period, including those of glamour, but a lot of that music his terrible, but just
watching films in the period watching dutch mention fit it. Was it a real immersion music as well? in the thing and speech- is one thing but puts smells and sights and sounds: are they harder to create? I was interested to read that one of your very early memories is the smell of jam from the Roundtree, in branches, factory opposite and chocolate. He has the smell of cocoa. To me. It says fe resident and also my father used to take me to the pub across the road stone gate the punchbowl, and so I was brought up on the stale smell of beer in cigarettes and its Strangely, a smile, I frequently epic, I dont have a strong sense of real smell, but I have a kind of imaginary sense of smell firefighting. Conjure up smells without I now turn to some wanna go. You can. You spoke in a cup of coffee no go no fat guy just mean, and so I think that helps to because the past is oversee. Smell is completely different to the present, which I think is a fascinating idea in a new. Is the vikings
when they pump out smell, so I dont know rotting garbage things that they think you don't have fish. And all the things they imagined I think that been smelly. Yes, many a school trip, back in the day as still smells exactly the same. I hear and see if you dont need notes, but apparently you do need to title. Where did it come from? No, I don't know that's the mystery they sometimes I just things that you ve read, ooh heard, and you think that would make a great title for something and those are often the ones I forget cause. I have a terrible memory really, but once he got his title, it's very hard to get rid of it, and sometimes I have had to look for novels to hang onto a title that if I have a title then that unconscious bit of that in that, does that kind of creative thinking has got something to work on its? It's not a blank pages. It's an idea, but when you hear raise a reader phrased in having started early took. My dog is Emily dickinson poetry, for example. Do they justly
I also you do you instantly know that it's that or that pawn that's the type. I wanted to write a novel that that the title of which was first line of Emily dickinson poem and for a while it was. I heard a few but when I die- and I thought no people would not want to repeat what I said then started eddie to my dog. You can formulate your own thinking around it anyway, but that's why, ex Brady got a dog and that's why he developed very uncharacteristic liking for Emily dickinson poetry, which he the discovered before so in a way he was forced into that title, but it where did in the world. I think it did you like it reality to hold more than one book in mind, a time to a chickens ability to lay eggs. I need to know more about. This is not a very elegant. Massive overtly they kind of backup in awaited the chickens eggs do so that the one this close
to me at the moment will be the one I'm going to write cause. It's formulated itself more and then fell in the background, is more like ideas for books. So it's five or six eggs away there's the germ of an idea for a book and if they forward they become more fully formed, and is there always another one coming at the end, always several times to music K? Atkinson tell me about your second disk today. Well, I think catherine ferry was probably one of the first musical voices I ever heard, because my father had this record and he was very fond of kathleen Ferrier and she was a northern girl and I think that particularly made him fond of her, but this one I liked the keyword, I flight, the idea of this great operatic what singing about the keel men,
in coal across the time to the big ships, and I think it was a very unusual thing at the time to be hearing. Northern voices amino you didn't hear them on the bbc of that will for pickles would win the only northern voiced at anyone heard, and yet he is this woman who has very strong northern roots, whose singing the most amazing music was lying, When was the last sitting, monday waiting again with a game Where did john he'll wrote some by kathleen farrier kate actions in europe.
On in york in nineteen fifty one to John atkinson and my iraqi. Each tell me about them, starting with you doubt what we see like he was self taught. He was an auto died act and he came for am a poet from a mining family. His father was killed in the bank, he pits explosion and he went down to bentley pit to work, and then he went join the merchant navy and his mother tell them to get out when the war came and went back down the pit and finally got out and got a job as an assistant manager in a shop and then from there you move to another, so he was very aspirational. I mean his mother was a cruel woman. She wasn't a nice woman, she stopped him going to grammar school, he got a scholarship and she said he couldn't go. You know he liked to patents. He liked a fag. He liked talking to people. He liked women not in a salacious way, but he enjoyed the company of women and my mother, unfortunately, was another
the things she was really quite a social. You know- and I think of my father, I think of him in an expansive way. I think of my mother and I think of her in a constrained way that the opposite said they were very poor match and because it was a shotgun wedding because they had to get married, because I was fifteen months sold by the time that she got married said sitting were married when you, when you know my my my mother and she would never talk about it, during the war. She must have been very young at the time and she took an immediate disliked him. He was posted abroad. So when he came back, she would have nothing to do with him, but she couldn't get a divorce. I think that had to be a lot more mutual in a corporation over divorces in those days and then finally, he wanted to emigrate to australia and he couldn't do it without spousal permission and said they sort of. Paid off. She got her divorcing. He went to australia, I didn't know. I was some well into my thirties when I
clyde for long, that's difficult. I don't ever had a short on, which is what you get when you are legitimate, and I didn't know that and dumb. I got this back saying them mother had this other name in it before she married my father, and I was working for a solicitor at the time. Netteke s it what it. What does this mean? I don't understand, is that she was she was married before so I did this whole detective thing where I went to the and I got the marriage, the marriage certificate in the divorce, to focus on all these things and and there it is the legitimate and I had great moment with her that, if you put in a novel, you would never ever believe, because I was sitting watching the vote weighting. The first row- wedding, dining child with my own small child on my lap and I to introduce subjects. My mother, this as soon as is all that marriage, the sunset. He said that you are married before and she said going to tell
if he left the room say that you have it saved, I didn't know I was illegitimate until I was thirty six and didn't give you a new perspective on what your early life had been like. I think it did explain some things about my mother cause. She was very aware of what people thought and I think it must have been an incredible strain for her to be pretending to be married to someone and pretending that everything was fine, when in fact she knew that isn't submit. So I cant imagine what that was like and what about the shop? They ran a a medical edit, the article supplies shop, which was everything from electric wheelchairs to camp causes to direct to nail clippers. It was an extraordinary range of incredibly embarrassing goods that a carrot. So I often used to think oh. Why couldn't they just have sells something like perfume. Some big lovely there. If, with an odd, very odd shop which is long gone now and it kind of came back to life,
friend in behind the scenes in behind it is it is it. I do remember right through martinez thinking in some odd abstract way, I'll make use of this one day. This won't just being advertisement that I carry with me. This will be something I can use in a fruitful way and so yeah it was, and what about your early life and the things that you did together as a family with a days out and holidays and that kind of thing we had holidays seaside holidays, as you did in the fifties in a week in bridlington and so on, and my father had a fan for the business, so they the earliest times we'd be going in the van, but we could have sundays out, so we would go for a drive, but in those days you just drove you don't wanna getting up to that is such a novelty. So we did. We do eat no sandwiches by the time we were out of the drive and then there is a real. Sometimes it was
we went to harvard house who end up on the moors, but it was such a traditional thing for people with cars in the fifties to just go for a drive tanks. Mood music. Tell me about your third disc today. Well, this is the first record. I have a book I love the heavenly bugs even now, and until then my parents had bobby record. So I have things I bimbo and davy crockett and I'm a pink toothbrush. You were blue tooth brush. So this was my entry into grown up music at the age of six. I mean my parents, lesser physical borders for me, and I think It's always been such a risque edge to this. They probably never listened to the earth.
Whether it the going brothers, wake up, little susie, Kate, atkinson Take me back to the time, then, when you were still catherine, I know you like to keep it to yourself, but I'm going to describe what kind of girl were you when I think I was formed by the fact I was an only child and only children, I think, tend to agree with each other about that.
Eight because you you long to have brothers and sisters, but when you go when two families with siblings. You recoil in horror because they just seemed to fight all the time constantly at each other's throats. My mother, Kate, was one of six, and my father was one of eight, but there were a lot of them, didn't speak to each other, so I didn't know their cousins so well, but my mother's side. There were lot of cousins and I was the only only child, so I was spoiled I this. Regularly, catherine, your spoiled and as also told ups posh, because I went to a private primary school just in an effort to get me through the eleven plus I think my father not haven't. We denied in education realise how important education was, and so he paid me to go to this bizarre. Ought we edge primary school? So
think in a way I had that fed back to me lot. So I used to think I'm spoilt. Am I how exactly get my sport it is to do with stuff? Basically, you get your own stuff. You don't have to fight over it. You get more money spent on you and I are just it's a resent terribly being told of a spoiled. So you know I'm going to have to ask you to tell us about this bizarre, weird, strange school that you just described. It was in a terraced house on Clifton green and it had four classrooms and we'd go down to the lounge, which was the headmistress as the head mrs lived in this house. So this was also her personal edge. Every morning we would watch school's broadcasting while miss nether would.
A tray butcher of coffee and biscuits. Then, every afternoon we would warn schools for enhancing tv one ass though it had a tribe tee in biscuit and she's about throughout so unconventional. Today, only marginal I've taught french, but without the accident it was designed to get you through the eleven plus. We did nothing but passed papers for the last two years and school life because it was so important not to be relegated to I can remain in those days extraordinary and I was life at home. I mean you said that your parents want a perfect match. What was atmosphere like, I think, the thing about being only How did you really wish there was some one else there that you could turn to and you could go really. Is that what they are doing? Is that what they thinking, because you sort of overwhelmed by the adult world, but I was very self sufficient child. I think I read a huge amount. I had a very active imagination, I played schools. Enormous amount with teddy and lobby
the back doll on, and I was very fierce headmistress. So I think I think I info order on devising odor on the world. I think I was it Jimmy contends that since cause, I'm I'm very good at entertaining myself, and I think if you, if I wasn't than it, would have been a very difficult taunted early access to their adult library card. What we read in what we do I don't know anything and everything and I loved reduced. I just condense, no was my father had a whole library of that my thought they were wonderful in those days you look at children's books and there were just a million amazing children's books. There were very few and they were the classics when I was a child and so the books you actually own that you weren't getting at the library and devouring the books, you own a precious and the few who say it was. It was wind in the willows and alice in wonderland and e nesbit, and you would. You would read them again and again, because no I told you that you're not supposed to didn't you read
Alice in wonderland every week, a pretty much yes. I think you said that the Alice structure you know was inspirational for the first three books, you a training taluses voice, which is the voice of the child who doesn't understand the outer world. Who is mystified by idols? I think, I was very much in behind the scenes that was really lennox his voice and my voice in a way. It is that child who's going look at these, but what are they doing their own mad? Tell me about your fourth piece of music care why you ve chosen this. My fourth basic music is peter. Poland merit this land is your land. I started listening to beat pulling I married when I was about thirteen and I was very politicized as a as a thirteen year old, I was very wary of cnd and I had watched the great war which the BBC broadcast in sixty four. All of that document tat. I felt so horrified, and I think that kind of sent me out of the way this song was the one that peat sega embrace Springsteen
at obama's inauguration, and it was a moment of great hope and version, which is of life version in tokyo and people as you substitute the names of japanese towns, because what the saying is this is true. Wherever you live in flanders, yolanda fond of my life- and this again is if turkey up be version say Antoine, keep myself very, very cheerful, my island peace
Paul and marry this land. Is your land recorded live in japan in nineteen sixty seven kate atkinson after passing year, eleven plus he went to grammar school and you became katy, then kate at university. How did the evolution come about? Well, I are used and catherine with quite a long name and just didn't feel very modern. So I thought katy and I've been, influenced by what katy did at school and all about katy books are located there. It's a much more sixties, name, and I can be a new person because nobody knows I was Chris. I didn't move up with anyone from my primary school. I was the only person who went from that schools with my grammar school, so I had to reinventing yourself is quite good and and I did it can at university research will kate, is beginning to sound a bit childish but cates. That's that's a grown up named fellow reinvent myself. Again and now I don't know where to go. Really I thought I could the cats birds
but now I find that I use my own name in my own private logo. I use katherine a lot more, so you didn't get the grades that you needed for oxbridge m c took a replay. It's reading english at Dundee and how was how was that when you got there? Well, I got through clearing, so it was not a place. I wanted. I didn't even know where it was on the map- and it was a culture shock to me, because Dundee's is different even from other scottish cities, but as he has his own very particular character. Took a while for me to understand the spears have done date, it's its town in many ways, because the women were was the ones who worked on the evening of the Jews, and I think I was just in shock. You had to do scottish system. You have to do five subjects in your first year, three in your second, so I was doing things like economics which to me was, as I had to just copy everyone else's essays, because I hadn't the first understanding what economics could possibly be. So it was a shock
So after most as he started a phd in american literature, he left university with I'm set. What happened? I think it was the maid King of me, I think I would say my success is predicated on failure, because I went to them it because I didn't get my grades in history, a levels and I became a writer because I couldn't do my academic writing any more, and I think that had been a very creative thing for me, and so I I went through as a kind of grieving period after I failed my doctorate, then I didn't understand what it was at all didn't understand what I was grieving for and then, when I started to to write just write little short pieces, I felt that come back. I felt that I had this out. It's for something and that it was actually much more fulfilling than academic writing. We've been offered and turned it down, so they did that Dundee offered me an honorary doctorate and I wrote an incredibly polite letter back saying the reasons I couldn't take it because
they owed me my real one and I got nothing back as a now is a sort of a moral stance. I refuse reductions when their offered me- and I always have to write this same- that's the thing. The reason for this- and I think it says, site you pathetic, but I won't be habitable david doctoral, my grave kate atkins and tell me about your fifth disk today. Why the two, as well as leonard Cohen, I've just susan from the first album. I love linda kind. I have always loved Leonard Cohen right from the very beginning when he was this brooding mysterious, develop poet, much better poet and Dylan. I would say: he's a man who had principles any risks it comes from. You listened suzanne. None, it still sounds is fresh in is coming like as the
very last ones. Do so. To me is, I think, is a kind of guru to me. I just think I would, if I could be the the kind of artist that cohen was, and I would be very happy suzanne takes you to the river, you can view the boats go by and spend the night beside, and you know she's crazy. That's why you want to be there and she featured tea and oranges that come all the way from china and just when you mean to tell her- yeah give. Then she gets leonard, cohen and season, so kate atkinson how and when
did the writing begin with short stories, but firstly, with those autobiographical fragments that you start with. I think, because my famously failed doktor had been on the market. Short story. I was very aware of the constructive stories. I also was aware that I needed to learn how to write. So I spent a long time just apprentices myself. We see a small pieces and the first story. I wrote that wasn't about me all my life was an autobiographical I sent off to women's own short story, competition, anything. Eighty, five, eighty six, one, and that was the first thing that I felt was proper fiction, and that was probably one of the great moments my life to have someone say back to me. Yes, you can write, and then I started writing for women's magazines and just two and a half thousand would stories about mostly romantic. That was my apprenticeship, and was it a good one? I think so, because you have to
be able to put everything in it. You got up current term you, but I'm sure you ve got to get new may Linda and an evil. So I think good for your invoice. Didn't in it. You have to give it some spirit. I think that's how I learned to ride you were single parent of two daughters and writing obviously and unpredictable, sometimes quite frustrating profession. To what extent did you feel under pressure? Will I had other jobs? I mean I have a right to see me out on everything. I was a home. How power that legal secretary, I taught a literature. I took the university it never struck me that I ought to be on a career path. I dont know why that thought never entered my head. I thought to my mind- I wish you all going to be right her and that I shouldn't be I misled by other things and that I shouldn't worry that I was bringing my children up in near poverty. I just had this feeling I was going to be success. Full out my lowest when I was owning the least because you got an alluring from magazine stories. I got an accountant, and he said what,
I said, I'm a writer. So really, yes, that's what I am and that's what I'm going to do and that's what I'm going to be successful at. I think it was forty at the time, and I just I thought this is going to happen. It was a very, very strong push that I had that. I gave myself that I felt I had to do this and it did happen very quickly that. Clearly, after my account, yes and I want to another short story: competition, instant james, shows where competition- and I got an agent out of the ceremony- and she said you have a novel as to three chapters that are more like stories and she show them to me and then she auction the thing, often that with it within the space of a year, I went really having nothing to having a contract for two books. You ve said that some
else happened. When you have forty, there was a period when you suffered from agro phobia. I did it descended very quickly on me and was was a vast thing for me, but both my parents were phobic, my father but version, and then he went blind. She didn't have vertigo anymore remedies to make him go up places. He would never have gone. And he was cited and she had claustrophobia quite bad it. So I think that's probably where that came from. Was there a trigger? Well, the only thing I can think of I was forty and I wasn't a successful writer and I think perhaps that had an effect that I don't know and made myself garage all the time, because that's the worst thing that you have you never ever ever want to leave the house, and I knew that if I never left the house, I would never leave the house again. So I made myself go out, and so yes, not flame
but it was, it was very interesting as I'd never felt myself to be in such a weak and vulnerable position, and I think that as a great only experience to know what it feels like to be in a state of something that you can almost not fight against. I think filed away for future use again. Third way for future use. Tell me about your sixth disc today. Well, as I said, have I feel it necessary to cheer myself up a lot of receipt being on my own on an island. So this is one of my favorite gilbert and Sullivan works. I loved the mankind of it's, not just that it's madly english eccentric nonsense. It's just also full of this wonderful tune so, and I think particularly that the finance-
if I may, I just cannot but feel incredibly elated here the final chorister Lakota this summit, a menu of any kind. Mom, very good bargaining me, the the
in doing so. Gilbert and son for he's gone unmarried, yum yum from the final act of the mikado performed by the doily caught or broke chorus with the royal philharmonic orchestra conducted by Royston nash, K; atkins, and you won the wheat bread prize in nineteen. Ninety five, your debut novel behind the scenes at the museum. What do you remember about that time? I think
I will achieve a varied, my father the day before the the wheat bread for his property in a rather strange frame of mind. I didn't know anything about the little world or about writing or anything to do with prices or the white bread and it haven't quite soon after was published so discouraged paper back. I think so I wasn't. I had no expectations, but I also thought this. Those five categories. Hunting is five categories and I thought well. I then I have a one in five chance of winning, so why is it so extraordinary people are going around? Obviously, thinking I haven't got a hope of winning, so I was quite perky battle. I could win. Why not and then cos the headlines world about rushdie, not winning right about me with it. We did a lot of media after with and they were about it being a news item not about it being a literary item. So there was some very strange interviews, quite nastier, a lot of nasty stuff in
If the paper, the reaction was very revealing, I think, and in some ways so as you say, a lot of focus on the fact that salman rushdie hadn't won, but also you were the only second second woman in decades to win and a lot of the coverage focused on and described you as a chamberlain delight. I'd been asked at some point to write down all the jobs I had an unaudited without thinking I quit shaming me cause when I was a student of the chambermaid in the holidays and was picked up on. The fact I was nor than I was a woman. I was like this threat the barbarian at the gate scenario tying to getting? I was too far. North and beyond the wool it was I work, less woman makes good. I never really stood white with some nasty alot of it. I still don't. How do you assess that? Having had even greater success, of course, in the benefit of considerable hindsight, you're back about now. Well, I think I would have handled very differently. I wouldn't have given interviews, but then you know, if it wasn't too do envies a lot of it is to do the comment, I think
now. I would try to be more sanguine maps, but you know you do reach a point where people, not necessarily saying the same nasty things about you because you are given modesty. Whereas then I was an unknown. I thing now still unknown. Could I still don't live in the south? I still don't take part in europe literary part. Is I don't go to things I don't network review some still an outsider, but I think I'd like to think that are a bit more respectful. Well, I think, if certainly and appraisal, of those who can't stephen king described your next series of books, which began with case histories as the literary equivalent of a triple axel said
is there complexity and in the tv adaptation of case histories, Jackson brodie is played by jason. Isaacs understand that there is a fifth book on the way, but you struggled to get back to your version character well in his his face. Jackson's, never heard of faith. In fact, most of my characters I never describe, I might describe the clothes, but I very rarely describe what they look like. So to me he has to be this much more amorphous creature, so jason hunted die in my head as it were and get rid of his very handsome face so that I could put no face banqueting shanks sudden then, and it took a few years actually to expunge him. Tell me that you're seventh Today, wisely chosen the boat when I'm working, I do listen to music. I listen to a lot of classical music or less than a lot about certain basic. Remember into a knows of country, music, I've, innocent country, music, sense about nineteen,
to you, maybe earlier than that. Actually because Jackson also loves country music, and so he actually really has my playlists when he is is it, and this is my calamity right with you, think it's a brilliant artists. Nothing would I like that country music? Is that it tells a story? It's not just about divorce and dogs and whatever and guns it is about human emotion, says about the heart. Is that feeling this one of the few said sums have chosen my island in fact, because it it does, have a real strain of melancholic nostalgia about nothing. Its threats that some of the best of the new writing from women in country these days They say go home again. To combat one last time MA am. I know you don't know me for my knees and saw the first.
Thursday in lille, bad Where did my homework again? I learned to tell the house that bill. Some by miranda lumbered so K. Atkinson, you allowed yourself one sad song there, but either way you ve been focusing on keeping to live have years? Keeping cheerful is that it is not something that you have to do with us, a fellow miserable child. I think I was some and that again is partly to do the only child. I was ever an introverted child and I think I am grown into the light. As I got older, so I very rarely get miserable or pessimistic, and- and I try not to be sad- I think what happens is
As a writer, you've been awful out of your own emotions into writing and in a way, it's cathartic and sensitive, to be cliche to say that, but I think it's true so that you know all of your darkness can be rendered into an objective form as it were. So I think I'm not I'm not a sad person, and I if you'd asked me when I was you know ten thirteen do you think you're going to grow up to be sad, personal risotto, yet I am but now I don't. I don't feel that I managed to get sad it extraneous things like you know: animals dying or people being unhappy. You both things happening he would. But you would have been aware of your own and happiness in and thought that that was it when you were thirteen percent air or even younger than that. Maybe because maybe I think every thirteen year old thinks you know this set where they are in their raging unhappiness, but I think, maybe be used as a the child. I thought I was probably looking at her alone feature of not feeling but a key
in this world? I think so he felt quite set apart then I say I, I felt a lot of fear as a child, and I don't know where that came from the nuts. That too has been eradicated. I think so I don't. I often think something happened to me when I was very young that nobody would have ever told me that, because my family was so good at keeping secrets. So for a long time, I thought something bad happened, but I just think I think bad things happen to everyone all the time. So I don't think there's any one. Particular thing you've described is deeply antisocial. And what lengths do you go to to avoid other people? But I very rarely leave the house if I am thinking of getting a dog, because it would make me leave the house, apart from anything else, apart from being a wonderful thing to have but also in order to write you have to be anti social yukon towards people while europe
it's seems you can't even move around much while you're writing, it's a very solitary occupation and I think doing it makes you more solitary. So I do think it's a very unhealthy thing for the you know, if your mental health time for your final disc today, Kate Atkinson, what is it and why have you chosen it? Well, this is beethoven's fifth. I I toyed with a nine, I thought if I had to make a choice, would I listen to the fifth or the ninth for the rest of eternity on this desert island as of the fifth, because it's it's so I, resident with emotion that I dont understand, because I'm not a musical person and I dont understand music. I understand him,
music is written, but I know that this is communication at the very deepest and at the highest level, and that is the mystery of art, the the
the the part of the final movement of beethoven's fanny number five in sea, minor, performed by the vienna philharmonic conducted by Carlos kleiber, so kate atkins and how are you feeling about life on the island? Oh quite some quite happy actually cause. I am very good at being on my own and nothing I'm going to enjoy it quite a little. Probably more than I should, because as long as there's no peril and I'm not going to starve, I dont know how that's going to happen. But as long as I'm safe, I'm gonna make any attempt to escape and as I am sure you know I'll, give you the bible and the complete works of shakespeare, to read on the island, but you can take another book. What would you like to take? Well, I think I would like to take the collected poems of Emily Dickinson
possibly her letters in there, as well as to the sort of compendium, because I do really really love em litigants his, but it is a opaque and I think it will probably take me my the entire time, I'm on that island to untangle those bones a case of algae. Busy and you can have a luxury item two. Can I have an oak tree please while I have on, the squirrels until now luxuries, and to be inanimate, but people have been allowed to take scenes in the path of well. So I think, therefore there is a precedent for you to take a tree and I like it to be materials about five hundred years old, please so this big enough to hug and then its old enough to be a companion and hopefully will attract lots of them if he so bored with palm trees, that they will come thinking wow. This is exciting and I love trees. Though can't think of anything more wonderful than having an oak tree
a noble oak tree shall be yours and finally, which of your eight discs. Would you rush to save? If you could only keep one? I think it would have to be the beethoven kate atkinson. Thank you so much sharing your desire and thank you for asking me. I love the idea of kate hugging her five hundred year old tree on her island. Among the many novelists in our back catalog, you will find Margaret atwood, edinburgh, Brian Doris, lessing isabelle, I m day and Catherine Cookson, Kate, Atkinson, isn't the only novelist to change her name in twenty thirteen kirsty castaway zadie smith. I was going to tell me about the little z d smith, but you were little c d smith yeah. It was yeah. I hear you changed what what is you when you changed it? I was about fourteen. I never really did it by deed poll. I just wrote it everywhere is a stupid reason. I just there was a boy I really liked. His name began with.
I didn't. I didn't know what I was thinking. I thought that maybe it would help if I enter into my may. Maybe it has. It sounds great anyway. Tell me then about yourself as a little girl. What will you? I was very bookish of assume it's boring to say, but it's true, I was quite awkward, I think was very self conscious. I looked pretty funny. I had crazy teeth and I didn't know what to do my hair and guess some kind of a big kid and kind of made. A decision on the I wasn't gonna get involved in social things. We ve never had. I add little core of myself as well as data like me, away, if I'm just going to go to my room and read everything so the character pace was sort of the library, the ps and the, and what did you like reading? I guess roald dahl,
I was obsessive about nine year and there's a lot of humor in Lewis. I think too, and then my mom got me a lot of jamaican stories like a Nancy stories which are quite funny, but pretty early on, I started reading been a book books and started. Writing five. Is that correct? Yet when I was about five, I wrote a poem about mice and I showed it to my mum and my mum quickly, spotted it as a complete piece of
major risen from my conversion and, like a rose and gave you gave your prize, they give rise with that later in life. No, not for that, not for stealing his own poem but little, but I right with the framers about nine. So I really I was already had the instinctive reading other people's workin reworking it myself and you do face up about not quite openly and in the end, you more recent where you say well, yes, you know this is a tribute to the enforced and I'm very easily influenced. I think I always have been. I need books to kind of keep going and is to me it's the best bit of writing is being able to read and enjoy what you read. You said ones that, as a child to sing that you most wanted to be was middle class. He said I liked the big house. I liked the piano. I like the cats. I like the cello lessons. Was it what a vote that no there's an old kings names like that nice things, a nicer than nasty
it's obviously true, but it was a a childish obsession. You always think that the grass is greener next door and is it I don't think it is. I mean my mum and dad provided a lot of what we wanted. We she found an old piano. We had piano lessons we shared with another person. She got all kinds of second hand, violins that we did lessons in our school. They gave you free lessons. I was in brent orchestra, so I don't think I missed out on much the marvelous sadie smith. You can hear her desert island discs and more than two thousand others on BBC sands. Next week my guest will be the chef tom kerridge djs the. Why is it that some people pretend to support a football team? It's important questions like that I'll be looking to unravel, with the help of top experts, psychologists and some big sporting names in mind
new podcast. Don't tell me, the school will be dissecting sporting things like tribalism, the power of belief and the art of resilience to uncover important answers about life and the world around us forget the results tactics in cliches about two halves. This is a sports poker ass, the likes of which you ve never heard before subscribe. To, don't send me the score with me. Some on Monday on BBC sounds
Transcript generated on 2022-06-12.