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tv   Meet the Author  BBC News  December 31, 2016 7:45pm-8:01pm GMT

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squad on january 20th, they will begin the defence of that title at home to france. andy murray has been given a knighthood in the new year's honours list. he's in abu dhabi at the moment where he has just finished third at the world tennis championship. it's a rather grand title for little more than a six man exhibition event. he suffered a shock defeat to david goffin in his first match yesterday, but beat milos raonic in straight sets in todays consolation game so he finishes the year with a win and also the title sir andy. it sounds strange, obviously. it's a big honour obviously to be asked. great recognition for my results over the last few years. that's obviously a very nice way to finish 2016, or start 2017. i'm more than happyjust being known as andy, that's fine by me. it has been the best year
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of andy murray's career, but 2016 has been brilliant across the board for sport, revolving around the european football championship, the olympic and paralympic games. adam wild looks back at some of the highlights. 2016 was a sporting year quite unlike any other. brazil welcomes the world with open arms! 0lympic years are always special, but rio was truly spectacular. from the ultimate in individual performances like that of adam peaty... he's obliterated the world record! and mo farah, to the collective glory of the team effort, surpassing their 2012 medal total in some style. for the paralympians, those fantastic achievements followed one after the other. human endeavour, human achievement, has rarely been bettered. still, some of those performances had surprised, it was perhaps nothing compared
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of the premier league. leicester city's triumph will go down as one of sport's greatest upsets. that was before football's summer holiday in france. wales journey to the semifinal euro 2016 will live long in the memory. something special is happening here tonight! northern ireland enjoyed their moment in the sign as well, but england, defeat that was as humbling and humiliating as anything in living memory. for england's rugby union side it was a different story. starting with the six nations. they had been a side in crisis but a new coach, a new captain and suddenly they were looking like a new team. in this tournament, no one could compete. the grand slam beginning was for them a flawless year. reaching the very top of the sport is now their aim. but there is one brit already there.
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olympic champion, wimbledon champion andy murray begins 2017 as the world's's best. the bbc sports personality of the year 2016 is andy murray. for him and the sport, a year like no other. that's all from sportsday. there'll be more sport here on bbc news throughout the evening. now it's time for meet the author. for her latest novel, different class, joanne harris is back in school, st 0swald's grammar school, where she set two previous books. and although she says that she thinks of it as comic, the comedy is darker than ever. from one of our most prolific and well read authors, chocolat was of course an international bestseller and memorable film. the classrooms and corridors are the setting for a story of sexualjealousy, sometimes hate, deception and some violence, and an exploration of some of the most troubling relationships between teachers and pupils, and the havoc that they
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can sometimes wreak. welcome. joanne, despite what happens to some of the pupils and teachers in this story, it strikes me that schools attract you. you like them, don't you? i'm very fond of schools. i taught in them for 15 years, and they're wonderful observations of community. the observation here is, as i said at the beginning, pretty dark. it's funny, it's touching, but it goes to some very dark places, both in terms of the staff and their charges. it does. i've found that schools are a perpetual stage for tragedy, farce and everything in between. so many things can happen, it's such an unpredictable environment. and that unpredictability isn'tjust because of the setting,
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it's because of the age of those involved. we're talking about adolescents, people going through all kinds of crises, some imagined, some real. and relationships with teachers, which are inevitably very delicate things. i think so, yes. it's a very intense stage, adolescence. you feel things very strongly. you can experience things for the first time and they are so powerful that they create an upheaval in your life. i found it a very interesting thing to be part of, but it's daunting as well, because later i realised that as a teacher, you can influence somebody‘s life and people rember things and if they remember something as unfair, they can resent it in a way an adult would not. some bad things happen in this book. i won't say what they are, but i think it's safe to say you're led into territory that has become much more familiar to us — allegations of sexual impropriety and misconduct and so on, and terrible emotional trauma between staff and pupils — did you know that was what you were
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getting into when you started? not entirely, no. what happened was that i started off with the germ of an idea and then in real life 0peration yewtree started to unfold, and i found that there was an uncomfortable crossover between what i was writing about and what was happening in the world, and it became much darker and more topical than i thought it would. you touch on the whole question in this book of atmospheres that can develop, rather hysterical ones, leading to, in some cases, a witchhunt atmosphere, or territory where there are false accusations and great damage done as a consequence. it's something that clearly fascinates you, the unfairness that's lurking under the surface. yes, i think so. and also the past and how the past affects the present, and how memory is not inherently a reliable tool, particularly when dealing with experiences of trauma, how memory can be affected by all kinds of things that are happening in the present day, and how memory can therefore
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sometimes be both unreliable and frightening. the principal character, straightly, has been a teacher for a very long time, so this has happened to him again and again. there's that interesting sense of having seen generations of pupils coming through, in his case, to learn classics or not. first of all, you clearly adore him. i'm very fond of straightly. we're not same person, but i might have grown into him if i'd stayed at the school where i taught for long enough. he's flawed in a lot of ways, but ultimately has a good heart. he's warm and affectionate. he loves hisjob. he's aware that he is affecting young lives, and he has a strong sense of duty. i also like the fact that he is a bit of a subversive. he has various prejudices he's completely unaware of. he's a bit bad with technology, he likes the odd sneaky fag
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outside when he shouldn't. one of the interesting things about the way you construct the narrative here is that you have an older man talking, but you have youngsters as well, so they're inhabiting completely different milieu although they're in the same place, in the school. that's right, but i think i had the benefit of being in that environment for long enough to pick up a lot of voices, to remember the way teenage boys talked, the way older members of staff talked, and so i've borrowed from colleagues, from pupils who are now ex—pupils and who watch the whole process with joy from twitter and facebook. you're a great twitter user, i gather. i do like twitter, yes. do you find old pupils coming on and saying, "it wasn't like that with you?" very often, they turn up to readings, and of course they all think i'm writing about them, which isn't quite true, but there are certainly little vignettes.
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and although it's a dark story, you're clearly having fun. you're an immensely successful author, very widely read. are you irritated when people say "you're the chocolat woman"? i know you're not irritated by its success, but does it sometimes hang round your neck? inevitably, a little. i'm very grateful for the response to chocolat and the fact that people loved it. i love it, too, and i'm still writing about those characters. what i find irksome, if anything, is the assumption that i will always do the same thing. most of my readers don't make that assumption, because they know i can go in any kind of direction and have done, and i'm lucky in that sense. you take the authorial responsibility very seriously. you speak up for authors. recently, you talked about not going to one nameless literary festival because they were expecting all kinds of things,
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exclusive contracts and a puny fee, and you said, hang on, authors deserve to be treated in a better way. it's notjust about me wanting money or special treatment. it's the opposite. i would like people to see writing as a job, a profession, and to treat authors professionally. this is particularly important for young authors who have difficulty in getting to festivals because of what it costs. they don't make much money writing, contrary to public opinion. absolutely. the average salary of a professional author is £11,000 a year, according to the society of authors. this isn't much. not many of us get to write for a living and make a reasonable living out of it. and you're an author who conforms, i think, to one of the wonderful stereotypes — you work in a shed at the bottom of the garden, like roald dahl. do you disappear and enter a different world when you're there? shed world is a specific space, and i think it's psychologically important for an author to have a work space, particularly someone like me, who's on a timetable for so long.
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it's difficult to manage your time and get into the psychological headspace of writing, so i think it's important to create a place where you work and nothing else happens, whether it's a shed or a desk. when i started off, i had no desk, so i had two objects i would put in front of my laptop when i wanted to write, and that created my work space, wherever it was. sometimes, i'm working on two at once, almost always, in fact. i have books that i write on sunny days and ones that i write on dark days, of which different class was one. and this was a dark day book. it is, although there are glimpses of sunshine as well. i should say it's fun as well. joanne harris, thank you. thank you. good evening.
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the final day of 2016 has been relatively mild. here been relatively mild. was a scene taken in norfolk. we've here was a scene taken in norfolk. we've had mist and fog lingering in the last few days. still quite cloudy particularly across england and wales. scotland and northern ireland seeing colder, clearer air moving in. a soggy end to 2016th some of us. rain across southern scotla nd some of us. rain across southern scotland and northern ireland. at midnight that will move towards the south. clearing skies but wintry showers pushing in could bring icy conditions on roads across parts of northern scotland and northern ireland. heading south, mostly dry at midnight, there could be cloud around. misty patches, too. rain moving in later on in the night. at midnight we've got the rain draped through central parts of the country. colder conditions moving in
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from the north and through new year's day, that colder air will move further south across the country. a different feel to the weather during new year's day. rain across much of the southwest, wales, the midlands, east anglia. the southeast may start off dry but we will see the arrival of that rain later in the morning. sunny skies across northern england, northern ireland and southern scotland with further showers moving in across the north of scotland. at least it's a return to the sunshine across northern parts of the country. further south all that cloud continuing to bring outbreaks of rain and perhaps a bit of snow on the highest ground. temperatures cooler than we've seen over recent days, around 5—10. 0vernight eventually we will move the rain from the south than the southeast and then we are in colder, clearer conditions. northerly wind bringing
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wintry flurries across the north of scotla nd wintry flurries across the north of scotland and perhaps north—east england as well. quite a sharp frost first thing monday morning. a cold start on monday but for the most pa rt start on monday but for the most part a start on monday but for the most parta dry start on monday but for the most part a dry and bright day. a great day if you've got plans to head out for a walk on monday. but breezed bringing a feed of wintry showers to parts of scotland. most places dry, pre—6 degrees. things turning colder and some of us will see rain particular across parts of northern england tonight. this is bbc news. the headlines at 8pm: fireworks and festivities welcome in 2017. in australia, there was a spectacular display of fireworks over the sydney harbour bridge. this is the scene in dubai. security is stepped up for new year celebrations in major
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cities around the world. in london, thousands of extra police are deployed. the un security council unanimously endorses the ceasefire in syria brokered by russia and turkey. britain's olympic and paralympic stars are recognised in the new year's honours, with a knighthood for andy murray. i feel more still like andy murray. feels obviously more normal to me but it's obviously, you know, a big honour and happy with that.

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