Free Thinking

As part of BBC Radio 3's festival of ideas, Free Thinking, The Essay plays host to writers reflecting on freedom.


0120071112Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie brandishes her writer's passport and asks if it's necessary for a writer to travel widely in order to unleash their imagination.

Or can they explore universal human experience, wherever it occurs?

0220071113Ben Markovits considers the freedom of the immigrant in Britain.

Half German, half American, part Christian, part Jewish, Ben has never felt fully rooted in a single culture or completely implicated in the society around him.

To many, this might sound like the crisis of modern immigration, but for Ben the writer, there is freedom in being rootless in a new place.

0320071114Ukrainian novelist Andrei Kourkov, acclaimed for his often surreal and blackly comic evocation of post-Soviet reality, reflects on the meaning of freedom in his home country, both before and after the collapse of Communism.
04 LAST20071115Richard Rai O'Neill reflects on the Romany philosophy of freedom, both the ideal, and the reality.

Richard's grandmother taught him that a Romany life was about Freedom in order to enjoy Health and Love.

Richard explores a more pragmatic aspect to Romany philosophy, which is if you're having a tough time financially, it's time to move on to a different place, as a new place brings new luck.