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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 24 May 2016

The Write Songs: The Musical Tracks Behind Brighton Books Unearthed By RadioReverb

The Write Songs is a new series on RadioReverb which looks at the songs behind the books by some of Brighton's most successful authors.

In a spin on the Desert Island  Discs 'chat and play' formula, writer and academic, Gilly Smith explores with her guests the songs that made their books sing.

"It's about looking at the process of writing, listening to the songs my guests listen to while they're writing, the records that get us to smell their streets and feel their characters' pain. 

"It's also a great way of talking about books while listening to some fantastic tracks." 

Each writer chooses eight songs to tell the story of their story. 

William Shaw, whose new book Birdwatcher is riding high in the hardback charts, talks us through the songs that he hears in the gritty streets of his 1960s London in the Breen/Tozer trilogy.  

Julia Crouch tells us how PJ Harvey puts the flesh on the bones of Polly in her first book 'Cuckoo' and how the passion, darkness and female rivalry in 'Girl with One Eye' by Florence and the Machine underscores the relationship between the main protagonists. 


Mark Radcliffe takes us back to the 1980s of his book Stranger than Kindness with some melancholic Prefab Sprout, and Sally O'Reilly manifests her Dark Aemilia on to the big screen with some dark, epic Vaughan Williams. And Rebecca Whitney tells us how she developed the plot for "The Liar"s Chair" while listening to John Talabot"s "Destiny."

Gilly Smith is a (factual) writer and academic at the University of Brighton.  

She facilitates Dreamwriters, a creative writing group which meets in Brighton and Seaford which she describes as 'Weightwatchers with pens'.

This is her second series for RadioReverb; her first, Jaibli Salaam told the stories of Brighton's Syrian community through their memories of food and music from the old country.

The first transmission will be from 30th May at 10am, on 97.2FM on DAB, or on line at 

Further programmes will be aired on June 6th, 13th, 20th, & the 4th, 11th July Mondays 10 am, each repeated on the following Saturday at 3pm.

Listeners can read the books by visiting the Programme page on RadioReverb

by: Shani Struthers

Related links

Radio Reverb


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