Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01Post War2015120720171218 (BBC7)
20151208 (R4)

Diana Athill debunks the myth that Britain in the 1940s and 50s was dreary.

Stephanie Cole reads from the collection of essays by acclaimed writer Diana Athill.

Written from the vantage point of her late nineties, Athill's essays are wise, cheering and thought-provoking. They range from gentle (her love of beautiful clothes), heartbreaking (the miscarriage of a much-wanted child) to salutary (her difficult decision to relinquish her independence and move into a care home).

In this first essay, "Post-War", Athill delights in debunking the myth that Britain in the 1940s and 1950s was a mire of dreariness. A young woman when the war broke out, peace and its aftermath was a time of joy, freedom and optimism.

Photo credit: Mark Crick

Written by Diana Athill

Read by Stephanie Cole

Abridged and Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.

Stephanie Cole reads from the new collection of essays by acclaimed writer Diana Athill, which is being published to mark the author's 98th birthday later on this month.

Written from the vantage point of her late nineties, Athill's essays are wise, cheering and thought-provoking. They range from gentle (her love of beautiful clothes), heartbreaking (the miscarriage of a much-wanted child) to salutary (her difficult decision to relinquish her independence and move into a care home).

In this first essay, "Post-War", Athill delights in debunking the myth that Britain in the 1940s and 1950s was a mire of dreariness. A young woman when the war broke out, peace and its aftermath was a time of joy, freedom and optimism.

Photo credit: Mark Crick

Written by Diana Athill

Read by Stephanie Cole

Abridged and Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.

02Alive, Alive Oh!2015120820151209 (R4)

The new collection of essays by acclaimed editor and author Diana Athill, which is being published to mark the author's 98th birthday later on this month.

Written from the vantage point of her great age, Athill's writing is honest and thought-provoking. In this second essay, "Alive Alive Oh!", she describes with total candour her miscarriage in 1960, aged 43, when she nearly lost her life.

Diana Athill's books include Stet: An Editor's Life (2000) and Yesterday Morning (2002). For fifty years she was the editorial director of André Deutsch, where she worked with such authors as Jean Rhys, Gitta Sereny and V. S. Naipaul. Her Costa Award-winning memoir, Somewhere Towards the End, was published in January 2008.

Photo credit: Mark Crick

Written by Diana Athill

Read by Stephanie Cole

Abridged by Claire Simpson

Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.

Diana describes the miscarriage that almost killed her, aged 43, in the early 1960s.

03The Decision2015120920151210 (R4)

Stephanie Cole reads from the new collection of essays by the acclaimed editor and writer Diana Athill, which is being published to mark the author's ninety-eighth birthday later this month.

Written from the vantage point of her great age, Athill's writing is cheering and thought-provoking. In this third essay, "The Decision", she explains the process by which she relinquished her independence and moved into a residential care home in north London.

Photo credit: Mark Crick.

Written by Diana Athill

Read by Stephanie Cole

Abridged and Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.

Diana Athill explains how she relinquished her independence and moved into a care home.

04Dead Right2015121020151211 (R4)

Stephanie Cole reads from the new collection of essays by the acclaimed editor and writer Diana Athill, which is being published to mark the author's ninety-eighth birthday later this month.

Written from the vantage point of her great age, Athill's writing is honest, cheering and thought-provoking. In this fourth essay, "Dead Right", she examines her thoughts and feelings about death.

Photo credit: Mark Crick.

Read by Stephanie Cole

Written by Diana Athill

Abridged and Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.

Approaching her 98th birthday, Diana Athill examines her thoughts and feelings about death

05 LASTA Life Of Luxuries2015121120151212 (R4)

Stephanie Cole reads from Diana Athill's new essay collection, which is being published to mark the author's ninety-eighth birthday later this month.

Written from the vantage point of her great age, Athill's writing is honest, cheering and thought-provoking. In "A Life of Luxuries", she looks back on the things that have brought her simple pleasure through the different stages of her long life.

Photo credit: Mark Crick.

Read by Stephanie Cole

Written by Diana Athill

Abridged and Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.

Diana Athill looks back on the things that have brought her simple pleasure through life.