Where Were You

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? That was the starting point for this series in which five writers are asked to build a story around a significant historical event and explore it in fiction. As well as the assassination of JFK, the writers explore the meltdown of Chernobyl, the Tottenham riots, Columbine and the splitting of the lithium atom.

People often ask the "Kennedy Question" to highlight the magnitude of the event itself. And occasionally we find ourselves in the thick of the moment. But just as interesting are the polarities, disjunctions and weird connections between the moment that shakes the world and the life of the everyday.

Episodes

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01The Electric Box2012090920161024 (BBC7)

By Louise Stern. Passions come to a head at a Fourth of July barbecue.

Read by Nathan Nolan.

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? That was the starting point for this series in which five writers are asked to build a story around a significant historical event and explore it in fiction. As well as the assassination of JFK, the writers explore the meltdown of Chernobyl, the Tottenham riots, Columbine and the splitting of the lithium atom.

People often ask the "Kennedy Question" to highlight the magnitude of the event itself. And occasionally we find ourselves in the thick of the moment. But just as interesting are the polarities, disjunctions and weird connections between the moment that shakes the world and the life of the everyday.

Episode One: The Electric Box by Louise Stern.

In the late 1980s teenager Ricky looks on with detachment as his family host a Fourth of July barbecue for their immediate neighbourhood. Passions come to a head, until the sight of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on television rescues an awkward social situation.

Louise Stern grew up in Fremont California and is the fourth generation of her family to be born deaf. She now lives and works in London as an artist and writer. She is also the founder and publisher of "Maurice", a contemporary art magazine for children. "Chattering", her first collection of short stories, was published in 2010.

The Electric Box is Louise's first commissioned story for Radio 4.

Producer: Jeremy Osborne

A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

Passions come to a head at a Fourth of July barbecue.

Read by Nathan Nolan.

Episode One: The Electric Box by Louise Stern.

In the late 1980s teenager Ricky looks on with detachment as his family host a Fourth of July barbecue for their immediate neighbourhood. Passions come to a head, until the sight of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on television rescues an awkward social situation.

Louise Stern grew up in Fremont California and is the fourth generation of her family to be born deaf. She now lives and works in London as an artist and writer. She is also the founder and publisher of "Maurice", a contemporary art magazine for children. "Chattering", her first collection of short stories, was published in 2010.

The Electric Box is Louise's first commissioned story for Radio 4.

Producer: Jeremy Osborne

A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

By Louise Stern. Passions come to a head at a Fourth of July barbecue.

02Chernobyl2012091620161025 (BBC7)

Read by David Carlyle.

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? That was the starting point for this series in which five writers are asked to build a story around a significant historical event and explore it in fiction. As well as the assassination of JFK, the writers explore the meltdown of Chernobyl, the Tottenham riots, Columbine and the splitting of the lithium atom.

People often ask the "Kennedy Question" to highlight the magnitude of the event itself. And occasionally we find ourselves in the thick of the moment. But just as interesting are the polarities, disjunctions and weird connections between the moment that shakes the world and the life of the everyday.

Episode Two: Chernobyl by Simon Stephenson.

Fort William is a long way from the Ukraine. But for a long time now a thirteen-year-old boy and his sister have been obsessed with the Cold War - both to escape from, and also to understand, the escalating cold war between their parents.

Simon Stephenson is a writer and doctor who lives in London. Previous writing honours include being a runner-up in the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Competition judged by John Burnside and selection for BBC Scotland's Tartan Shorts scheme. For several years he earned his living as a television screenwriter and received numerous commissions from all the major broadcasters. Let Not The Waves Of The Sea, a memoir about his journey following the loss of his brother Dominic in the Indian Ocean tsunami, was Book of the Week on Radio 4 in July 2011.

Read by David Carlyle.

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? That was the starting point for this series in which five writers are asked to build a story around a significant historical event and explore it in fiction. As well as the assassination of JFK, the writers explore the meltdown of Chernobyl, the Tottenham riots, Columbine and the splitting of the lithium atom.

People often ask the "Kennedy Question" to highlight the magnitude of the event itself. And occasionally we find ourselves in the thick of the moment. But just as interesting are the polarities, disjunctions and weird connections between the moment that shakes the world and the life of the everyday.

Episode Two: Chernobyl by Simon Stephenson.

Fort William is a long way from the Ukraine. But for a long time now a thirteen-year-old boy and his sister have been obsessed with the Cold War - both to escape from, and also to understand, the escalating cold war between their parents.

Simon Stephenson is a writer and doctor who lives in London. Previous writing honours include being a runner-up in the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Competition judged by John Burnside and selection for BBC Scotland's Tartan Shorts scheme. For several years he earned his living as a television screenwriter and received numerous commissions from all the major broadcasters. Let Not The Waves Of The Sea, a memoir about his journey following the loss of his brother Dominic in the Indian Ocean tsunami, was Book of the Week on Radio 4 in July 2011.

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? That was the starting point for this series in which five writers are asked to build a story around a significant historical event and explore it in fiction. As well as the assassination of JFK, the writers explore the meltdown of Chernobyl, the Tottenham riots, Columbine and the splitting of the lithium atom.

People often ask the "Kennedy Question" to highlight the magnitude of the event itself. And occasionally we find ourselves in the thick of the moment. But just as interesting are the polarities, disjunctions and weird connections between the moment that shakes the world and the life of the everyday.

The Cold War helps a boy and his sister understand the feud between their parents.

Read by David Carlyle.

Episode Two: Chernobyl by Simon Stephenson.

Fort William is a long way from the Ukraine. But for a long time now a thirteen-year-old boy and his sister have been obsessed with the Cold War - both to escape from, and also to understand, the escalating cold war between their parents.

Simon Stephenson is a writer and doctor who lives in London. Previous writing honours include being a runner-up in the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Competition judged by John Burnside and selection for BBC Scotland's Tartan Shorts scheme. For several years he earned his living as a television screenwriter and received numerous commissions from all the major broadcasters. Let Not The Waves Of The Sea, a memoir about his journey following the loss of his brother Dominic in the Indian Ocean tsunami, was Book of the Week on Radio 4 in July 2011.

03The Indivisible2012092320161026 (BBC7)

Read by Hattie Morahan

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? That was the starting point for this series in which five writers are asked to build a story around a significant historical event and explore it in fiction. As well as the assassination of JFK, the writers explore the meltdown of Chernobyl, the Tottenham riots, Columbine and the splitting of the lithium atom.

People often ask the "Kennedy Question" to highlight the magnitude of the event itself. And occasionally we find ourselves in the thick of the moment. But just as interesting are the polarities, disjunctions and weird connections between the moment that shakes the world and the life of the everyday.

Episode Three: The Indivisible by Nick Walker.

It's 14 April 1932. In Rutherford's laboratory in Cambridge, Cockroft and Walton fire a proton beam to split a lithium atom and make a breakthrough in the science of nuclear fission. But elsewhere, on a station platform, a mother says goodbye to her son and feels her own world splitting apart.

Nick Walker is part of the Coventry-based mixed media experimentalists Talking Birds whose work has been presented extensively in the UK as well as in Sweden, Ireland and the USA. He has worked with some of the country's leading new work theatre companies including Stan's Cafe, Insomniac, and Theatre Instituut Nederlands. He is the author of two critically-acclaimed novels, Blackbox and Helloland. His plays and short stories have often been featured on BBC Radio 4, including Arnold In A Purple Haze (2009), the First King of Mars stories (2007 - 2010), Life Coach (2010) and Dig Yourself (2011) - all of them Sweet Talk productions.

Produced by: Jeremy Osborne

A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

Read by Hattie Morahan

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? That was the starting point for this series in which five writers are asked to build a story around a significant historical event and explore it in fiction. As well as the assassination of JFK, the writers explore the meltdown of Chernobyl, the Tottenham riots, Columbine and the splitting of the lithium atom.

People often ask the "Kennedy Question" to highlight the magnitude of the event itself. And occasionally we find ourselves in the thick of the moment. But just as interesting are the polarities, disjunctions and weird connections between the moment that shakes the world and the life of the everyday.

Episode Three: The Indivisible by Nick Walker.

It's 14 April 1932. In Rutherford's laboratory in Cambridge, Cockroft and Walton fire a proton beam to split a lithium atom and make a breakthrough in the science of nuclear fission. But elsewhere, on a station platform, a mother says goodbye to her son and feels her own world splitting apart.

Nick Walker is part of the Coventry-based mixed media experimentalists Talking Birds whose work has been presented extensively in the UK as well as in Sweden, Ireland and the USA. He has worked with some of the country's leading new work theatre companies including Stan's Cafe, Insomniac, and Theatre Instituut Nederlands. He is the author of two critically-acclaimed novels, Blackbox and Helloland. His plays and short stories have often been featured on BBC Radio 4, including Arnold In A Purple Haze (2009), the First King of Mars stories (2007 - 2010), Life Coach (2010) and Dig Yourself (2011) - all of them Sweet Talk productions.

Produced by: Jeremy Osborne

A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

Cockroft and Walton split an atom. But elsewhere, a mother's own world is splitting apart.

Read by Hattie Morahan

Episode Three: The Indivisible by Nick Walker.

It's 14 April 1932. In Rutherford's laboratory in Cambridge, Cockroft and Walton fire a proton beam to split a lithium atom and make a breakthrough in the science of nuclear fission. But elsewhere, on a station platform, a mother says goodbye to her son and feels her own world splitting apart.

Nick Walker is part of the Coventry-based mixed media experimentalists Talking Birds whose work has been presented extensively in the UK as well as in Sweden, Ireland and the USA. He has worked with some of the country's leading new work theatre companies including Stan's Cafe, Insomniac, and Theatre Instituut Nederlands. He is the author of two critically-acclaimed novels, Blackbox and Helloland. His plays and short stories have often been featured on BBC Radio 4, including Arnold In A Purple Haze (2009), the First King of Mars stories (2007 - 2010), Life Coach (2010) and Dig Yourself (2011) - all of them Sweet Talk productions.

Produced by: Jeremy Osborne

A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

04The Sandy2012093020161027 (BBC7)

A beach bum hears about the shooting at his sister's school - Columbine.

Read by Ryan McCluskey

Episode Four: The Sandy by Toby Litt

In April 1999, a young beach bum in California gets word from his family in Colorado about a shooting at his sister's school - Columbine. But how will he react to the news?

Toby Litt was born in 1968 and grew up in Bedfordshire. In 2003, he was named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His most recent novel, King Death,was published in 2010. His stories, The Melancholy (2010) and People Carry Roses (2011) featured in previous Sweet Talk series for BBC Radio 4.

Produced by Jeremy Osborne

A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

04The Sandy20120930

Read by Ryan McCluskey

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? That was the starting point for this series in which five writers are asked to build a story around a significant historical event and explore it in fiction. As well as the assassination of JFK, the writers explore the meltdown of Chernobyl, the Tottenham riots, Columbine and the splitting of the lithium atom.

People often ask the "Kennedy Question" to highlight the magnitude of the event itself. And occasionally we find ourselves in the thick of the moment. But just as interesting are the polarities, disjunctions and weird connections between the moment that shakes the world and the life of the everyday.

Episode Four: The Sandy by Toby Litt

In April 1999, a young beach bum in California gets word from his family in Colorado about a shooting at his sister's school - Columbine. But how will he react to the news?

Toby Litt was born in 1968 and grew up in Bedfordshire. In 2003, he was named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His most recent novel, King Death,was published in 2010. His stories, The Melancholy (2010) and People Carry Roses (2011) featured in previous Sweet Talk series for BBC Radio 4.

Produced by Jeremy Osborne

A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

05 LASTSolo, A Cappella2012100720161028 (BBC7)

Read by: Daniel Kaluuya

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? That was the starting point for this series in which five writers are asked to build a story around a significant historical event and explore it in fiction. As well as the assassination of JFK, the writers explore the meltdown of Chernobyl, the Tottenham riots, Columbine and the splitting of the lithium atom.

People often ask the "Kennedy Question" to highlight the magnitude of the event itself. And occasionally we find ourselves in the thick of the moment. But just as interesting are the polarities, disjunctions and weird connections between the moment that shakes the world and the life of the everyday.

Episode Five: Solo, A Cappella by Alison MacLeod

Valentine is a sixteen-year-old African girl with a voice like an angel. So what is she doing in the eye of the storm in Tottenham on 7 August 2011?

Alison MacLeod's hard-hitting story and fictional characters take their inspiration from the alleged events, theories and rumours that circulated regarding the trigger for the riots in London that summer.

Alison MacLeod lives in Brighton. Her story "The Heart of Denis Noble" was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2011. Her next novel will be published in the autumn of 2012. Alison is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester.

Produced by: Jeremy Osborne

A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

Read by: Daniel Kaluuya

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? That was the starting point for this series in which five writers are asked to build a story around a significant historical event and explore it in fiction. As well as the assassination of JFK, the writers explore the meltdown of Chernobyl, the Tottenham riots, Columbine and the splitting of the lithium atom.

People often ask the "Kennedy Question" to highlight the magnitude of the event itself. And occasionally we find ourselves in the thick of the moment. But just as interesting are the polarities, disjunctions and weird connections between the moment that shakes the world and the life of the everyday.

Episode Five: Solo, A Cappella by Alison MacLeod

Valentine is a sixteen-year-old African girl with a voice like an angel. So what is she doing in the eye of the storm in Tottenham on 7 August 2011?

Alison MacLeod's hard-hitting story and fictional characters take their inspiration from the alleged events, theories and rumours that circulated regarding the trigger for the riots in London that summer.

Alison MacLeod lives in Brighton. Her story "The Heart of Denis Noble" was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2011. Her next novel will be published in the autumn of 2012. Alison is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester.

Produced by: Jeremy Osborne

A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

Read by: Daniel Kaluuya

Episode Five: Solo, A Cappella by Alison MacLeod

Valentine is a sixteen-year-old African girl with a voice like an angel. So what is she doing in the eye of the storm in Tottenham on 7 August 2011?

Alison MacLeod's hard-hitting story and fictional characters take their inspiration from the alleged events, theories and rumours that circulated regarding the trigger for the riots in London that summer.

Alison MacLeod lives in Brighton. Her story "The Heart of Denis Noble" was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2011. Her next novel will be published in the autumn of 2012. Alison is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester.

Produced by: Jeremy Osborne

A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

By Alison MacLeod. An African girl finds herself in the heart of the Tottenham riots.