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Front Row

BBC Radio 4

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Emile Zola Special: JR, Michel Houellebecq

November 20th, 2015

Episode 1047 of 1333 episodes

Kirsty Lang is in Paris seeking out the 21st Century French artists, writers and performers who are keeping the spirit of Zola alive in their work today. Author Edouard Louis grew up in shocking poverty not unlike the conditions Zola observed in the 19th Century. His childhood is the subject of his first literary work Getting Rid of Eddy Bellegueule. Zola's ability to shock is not unlike that of Michel Houellebecq - probably the most internationally famous novelist to come out of France in recent times and certainly the most controversial. Abd al Malik is an award winning rapper and spoken word artist. He sees his work as a protest against racism and islamophobia in France. JR - often described as the French Banksy - exhibits freely in the streets by gluing or pasting giant, blown up photographs onto buildings or entire streets in the council estates that surround Paris. Florence Aubenas is best known for her immersive journalism. As the recession hit France, she posed as an unskilled worker and for 6 months cleaned toilets on a cross channel ferry. Presenter: Kirsty Lang Producer: Sarah Shebbeare.

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