On BBC Radio 4 Front Row with Kirsty Lang


front row 1At 6’3″ and 16 stone, I was always going to be a forward. I’m talking rugby football here, of course. But appearing in the front row was always for shorter, stockier lads. I was always second row, sometimes at No.8.

So, when a call came through about appearing on Front Row, I was a little slow on the uptake. But I twigged and, after some logistic arrangements, soon found myself heading down to Cardiff BBC studios to be set up on a link to record a session on ‘The Cathartic effect of writing‘ with Kirsty Lang and fellow author Johana Gustawsson.

As a fan of ‘The Archers’ I’ve often listened to Front Row as it is transmitted just afterwards. But I had never imagined the presenters would want to talk to me.

front row 2

The photo on the left includes Mark Billingham – an author I very much admire – and some other faces you may well recognise. Kirsty is at the front, on the left as you look at the photograph.


A 6 -7 minute transmission took about 40 mins to record, and included a short reading from Wicked Game and from Johana’s new book Block 46. Sadly, time limits meant the readings weren’t transmitted.

It was pretty surreal, to realise that we were being recorded and transmitted through a medium that had seen the likes of David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Val McDermid, PD James and many other ‘proper’ celebrities.

I listened in to the live transmission last night, slightly apprehensive at how I would sound and what the edited version would produce. In the event, it was ok. Johana, luckily for me, possibly, has a lovely engaging voice with a soft French accent, and she made some good points about writing things down in a way that not only helps yourself but also informs family in a way that you may not have been able to do face-to-face. Kirsty was professional and friendly and, no doubt realising we were relatively new to this experience, took time to put us at ease.

And when it had finished? I chatted to my partner and then my mum. And then I got on with the washing up, like any author should.

Normal life resumed.

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