Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture, Personal Journals

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Personal Journals 34

Desert Island Discs was created by Roy Plomley in 1942, and the format is simple: a guest is invited by Kirsty Young to choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island


Sebastian Faulks

March 29th, 2009

Episode 43 of 566 episodes

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer Sebastian Faulks. He is best known for his novel Birdsong, which told in shocking detail the misery of life in the Flanders trenches. It was published with little fanfare or glossy advertising and failed to win any major awards - but it became a literary phenomenon and a huge best-seller. He was inspired to write it after visiting the battlefields of the Western Front with some veterans of World War I. One old soldier held onto Sebastian's hand and recalled seeing his friend killed next to him and, for the first time for him, Sebastian says, the war emerged from the history books into real, tangible human experience. He concedes that he still struggles to get to grips with much of life. Writers, he says, are often trying to impose a structure on a world that they find generally baffling. Favourite track: Miles by Miles Davis Book: Remembrance of Things Past (Proust) by CK Scott Moncrieff (transl.) Luxury: A wicket, cricket bat, net, an endless supply of balls and a bowling machine that can be set to replicate the style of any bowler