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tv   Meet the Author  BBC News  June 29, 2017 8:45pm-9:00pm BST

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the office of the presidency. the trump administration has pushed back, saying he is fighting fire with fire and responding to criticisms and he is a fighter and thatis criticisms and he is a fighter and that is what the american voters chose in the recent election. never a dull moment. thank you, anthony. the headlines on bbc news: a meeting of kensington and chelsea council about the grenfell tower tragedy is scrapped as journalists enter the room. a retired appeal courtjudge will lead the public inquiry into the fire — he says it may not be as wide—ranging as some residents hope. mps have voted in favour of the queen's speech, by a majority of 1a votes. an update on the market numbers for you — here's how london's and frankfurt ended the day. thousands of revellers have been attending a wine
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festival in northern spain — nothing unusual there, you might say. except this one has a rather unusual twist. it's called la battalla del vino, or the battle of the wine, in which visitors hurl the good stuff at each other. according to local legend, it has been taking place since the 13th century, and was originally to demarcate the border between two towns. the organisers say a range of weapons are allowed including buckets, wineskins, hose sprays or anything else which can launch thousands of litres of wine over the crowd. now it's time for this week's meet the author. the irish writer paula mcgrath‘s novel, a history of running away, is about three women separated by time and place, who are all trying to escape the circumstances of their lives. they're all connected,
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although we don't know how at the start of the book, and their stories are about a society that seems to thwart them at every turn, but then perhaps begins to offer something different, and something hopeful. welcome. what fascinated you about these three women who are apart but connected 7 i began with jasmine, who's our 1980s character who decides that she wants to box. which wasn't allowed at that time for women. that's right, yes, which i didn't realise initially. i had an image of a character, which is unusual for me because usually, i forget to write what they look like at all. but this character was
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extremely vivid to me. she had... she was the 1980s rural only goth in the village, so i knew my setting would be ‘80s, and i knew it was rural ireland to begin with. she runs away from home because she wants to join legs & co initially, but the bbc gave her short shrift and she ends up back in dublin and discovers boxing. at the time that i was starting to think about this novel in the beginning, i was fascinated by katie taylor, the irish boxer. she was fighting for olympic gold, and there was something about the fact that boxing had been illegal and now she was winning a gold medal. did you have any feelings about women's boxing? not really, it wasn't something i wanted to do. i had one attempt at kickboxing and fell out of the gym. it was very strenuous, so i had no objection, but no real interest myself. so let's talk about the other two principal characters, since we have started off with jasmine. jasmine led me back to her mother's
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story, and through her to ali, who is a recently orphaned teenager who was running away from her grandparents — grandparents that she didn't know until recently that she has. she's in maryland in the states, and it's not clear what the connection is between the characters to the reader at this point. the other narrator is a gynaecologist in present—day dublin, and she's increasingly frustrated with her working conditions. so they are all imprisoned in different ways? yes, you could say that. they feel the need to run. in any case, they all run, and injasmine's case she runs away twice. i suppose we have our fight or flight options, and they go for flight each time. the gynaecologist is on the brink, she is trying to decide whether to stay. they have all got great difficulties either because of intimate relationships, work, family or by the social pressures around them, and they seem to be trying to escape.
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but there's a feeling in the book that things in that respect may be getting better. is that how you feel? i did feel that from looking at the boxing story, certainly, things were getting better. obviously, katie taylor is a shining example of why women should be allowed to decide whether or not they want to box. it's not for everybody, but there were and still are other things that women can't do, that they're not allowed to decide for themselves. and i don't feel that that's getting better. it needs to change, but there was an anger underlying the writing of the book. it was inescapable for me, and i think for many, to think that you are living at home in ireland in a society which has changed radically, really, in the last, even the last decade. the country has gone through an economic crash, a recovery, and now seems to be booming again. it has a sort of irrepressible self—confidence about it. you've lived through a very dramatic period in the history
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of ireland, haven't you? yes, starting from the ‘80s, i came to dublin to college in the ‘80s and it feels to me that we have come, in a way, almost a full circle, a second recession. going back to the abortion referendum again, it happened in the early ‘80s and yet we're back again in 2014, 2016, 2017, and there's fresh new scandals. so although ireland has come a long way, the hold of the catholic church has been broken to some extent, i think the effects of that have yet to be felt, for women at any rate. for anybody who talks to people about these events, you realise how profound the change has been, how profound the questioning is of the kinds of assumptions there were in the generation before yours. i mean, the society is a much more
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mobile, open one than it's ever been before in modern times. yes, and i tried with the book to show, and i think this is why i ended up with three different narrators and brought them together, just to show that the underlying theme that the irish state's relationship with women's bodies has been... difficult, i suppose, historically, and still is, but things have changed. so back in the ‘50s, we had mother—baby homes, then we had this abortion referendum, and now we have katie taylor winning gold, but we still have to go to the next stage. this is no coincidence that one of the main characters is a gynaecologist. no coincidence, no! and her mother is a boxer. obviously, there's a mystery involved in the story, a set of mysteries, but it's not a tease for the reader. i mean, it's really a story that's meant to have you thinking about their characters
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and their difficulties and how they cope with them, isn't it? that's really what drives you. yeah, it's the characters, each of them at their own stage, trying to figure out where they are in their lives and what they want and who they are in a way, as they also gradually come to discover or the reader comes to discover who they are. irish writing is in such a healthy state — there are young novelists, young poets, young storytellers in ireland which is, you know, is a small country. the rich literary tradition really is still alive, isn't it? very much so. yeah. are you conscious of that? i am conscious of it. there's a lot of support out there. tax breaks and vibrant literary journals. i think literature is something we take seriously. i'm not too sure why, whether it's economic or whatever — it's pretty cheap to sit down and write! i think these tax breaks don't really cost the government very much, but they do kind
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of foster a community. but when you say you don't know why, i think that if you talk to some of the sort of world—renowned irish writers of today, they all say, look, you know, if you come from the small country that produced joyce and beckett and flann o'brien, then you really are always conscious that you have got kind of an obligation to these great figures that are standing on your shoulders. yeah, they are quite intimidating and for a long time i think... i studied literature in college and that's probably why i found it so difficult to get started as a writer... because you were aware of what's behind you! exactly, yeah. where do you think — this is your second novel, generation was the first couple of years ago — where is your writing going to take you, do you think? well, i know where it's taking me at the moment.
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i'm working on a third novel. what kind of theme has that got? the theme of trauma, if that doesn't sound too off—putting! oh, it's not off—putting. multiple trauma... you can't have a novel where nothing happens, nothing exciting. no, and i'm conscious of all of what might have become cliches of irish writing. i don't want the child abuse story, i want multiple traumas that can be read that are palatable to the reader, so that's what i'm working on. and avoiding the irish cliche. trying hard! paula mcgrath, thank you very much indeed. thank you. today, the wettest weather has been in the south—east of scotland. we have had a couple of inches of rain and this is not a particularly summer and this is not a particularly summer looking scene at st andrews in fife, sent by one of our weather watchers. you can see the extent of the rain earlier across scotland,
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trying to push into northern ireland. patchy rain elsewhere and a lot of clout. we hang onto cloudy skies for most of the night. further rain across scotland and northern ireland. that rain could be happy for a while —— the rain could be heavy for a while. temperatures will not be gotten much from the highs we have had today. as we head into the rush hour on friday, we have reined in devon and cornwall, perhaps into west wales. not as weird by the morning. in the midlands, cloudy skies and maybe the odd shower. a bit misty and murky over the hills as you head further north, where we have this patchy rain. it is mostly light. it will not be the continuous, heavy rain that some place had earlier on, but not a pleasa nt start. place had earlier on, but not a pleasant start. we have this northerly wind as well which will be blowing down the chilly air. where we keep the rain, temperatures will
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be very slow to rise. it should dry off across northern ireland and western parts of scotland. the rain will push into england and wales. it should be a bit warmer across the midlands and the south—east. but that could be some sharp showers. ahead of that weather front, which ta kes ahead of that weather front, which takes the patchy rain south eastwards a cross takes the patchy rain south eastwards across the uk, there will not be as much rain for the weekend and with sunshine around, it should feel warmer. but it is all relative. it has been quite chilly under the rain recently. some early rain across the south—east corner of england will clear away. for most of england will clear away. for most of england and wales, a nice day. it should be dry. the winds will be lighter and it will feel warmer as well. we will get a bit of rain overnight. and we will get a few
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showers towards the north—west on sunday, but otherwise dry and bright. hello, i am ros atkins, this is outside source. next week, the world's most powerful leaders come together at the g20. angela merkel has added some spice to the build—up with these comments. since the united states‘ decision to leave the paris climate deal we are more determined than ever to make it a success. the paris climate deal is irreversible and cannot be renegotiated. she has also said people who see solutions in isolationism and protectionism are terribly wrong. i think donald trump will have a good idea who she is referring to. the third highest member of the catholic church is leaving the vatican and going back to australia to face sex abuse charges. we will report from rome. donald trump's travel ban starts later, but with some changes. we will explain what they are. meanwhile, donald trump has made personal and derogatory comments
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about two tv anchors in the us.
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