Books on the Radio by Allison Symes

 Image Credit:  Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.

One of my favourite books on the radio is the reading of Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time. This slim novel about Richard III is often a repeated reading on Radio 4 Extra and is accompanied by The Princes in the Tower by William Walton. Well worth a listen when it comes up. What I love is it is just a straight reading of the original book.


I can see the point of adaptations but I want them to keep to the spirit of the original author’s intent. I don’t want adaptations “because we can”. That’s not a strong enough reason to meddle. I loved the Peter Jackson film adaptation of The Lord of The Rings, but there is no way The Hobbit has enough in it to justify being more than one movie.

Just as there should be a good reason for a story (and any character being in said tale), there should be a good reason for adapting a work. 


Every so often one of my flash fiction pieces is broadcast on an internet radio station. Flash works well on radio given it is short. No adaptation needed! A recent one of mine, The Natural Look, went out on North Manchester FM on Hannah’s Bookshelf show which is on air on a Saturday afternoon. 

I regularly listen to this as a radio show celebrating books, writers, and stories will obviously appeal.


So stories and audio/radio formats are an ideal match. Audio books and stories on the radio are newer ways of keeping the oral storytelling tradition alive. They can reach more people too. Stories matter. Spreading the word about them can only be a good thing. You never know when hearing a story may encourage to someone to buy the book. 

I remember watching the classic adaptation of Oliver Twist starring Alec Guinness as Fagin and Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes and then reading the book. (Both actors excellent and the menace was palpable). There is no reason why this can’t happen  as well when people take in their stories the “old school” way through audio.

My late mother used to love The Archers. Gave her an audio fix of continual storytelling, I guess, but I never got into it. I prefer the standalone books and stories. 


I listen to Just a Minute on Radio 4. What is interesting here is every now and then a contestant tries to tell a story as they are trying to speak on the given subject for sixty seconds but this rarely works. Why?

Because almost all stories have repetition, the contestant hesitates as they try to recall the  story, or they end up falling foul of the deviation rule as their tale takes them off on tangents.

Some audio formats work better for stories than others then!



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