Front Row

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture

Live magazine programme on the worlds of arts, literature, film, media and music


The Last Kingdom; Guillermo del Toro; West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song; haiku master Buson poems rediscovered

October 16th, 2015

Episode 1020 of 1502 episodes

In Front Row tonight: The Last Kingdom, the BBC's epic new drama series about the Vikings' invasion of Anglo-Saxon England. Nina Ramirez reviews. Kirsty Lang visits a huge exhibition at the British Library of literature and music from West Africa - from the great African empires of the Middle Ages to the cultural dynamism of the region today. The director Guillermo del Toro, who has made films in many genres - fairy tale, horror, monsters - embraces the Gothic in his latest, Crimson Peak, and tells Kirsty how, for a Mexican such as he, ghosts are an every day reality. More than 200 poems by the great 18th century haiku author and painter Yosa Buson have just been discovered in a library near Kyoto. Stephen Gill, a poet and translator who lives nearby reports on the significance of this find. Kirsty speaks to Robert Seethaler whose A Whole Life describes the world of a man of few words in the Austrian Alps. A slim novel, it condenses the story of Andreas Egger into the episodes that shaped his life, amid the magnificent and dangerous mountains that take the lives of those he loves. His novel is part of the Radio 4 series, Reading Europe and can be heard next week every night at 22.45pm.

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