The 9 - 11 Letters

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01Caryl Phillips20110905

Five internationally acclaimed writers consider the impact of the momentous events of September 11th 2001.

Ten years on, these authors use imaginative letters to reflect on the consequences for Britain, America and the world.

The first letter is from novelist and essayist Caryl Phillips, who was born in St Kitts, grew up in Leeds and is now Professor of English at Yale University.

In his letter, Phillips imagines that his young nephew might have to answer a history exam question about how the crisis of September 11th, 2001 determined American foreign and domestic policy.

He gives an eye-witness account of the day and those following, reflecting how the events changed him, and his identity as a Resident Alien, someone who can live and work in the United States, but is not an American citizen.

Producer: Julian May.

New York-based novelist Caryl Phillips reflect on the events of 9/11 ten years on.

02Naomi Alderman20110906

Five internationally acclaimed writers consider the impact of the momentous events of September 11th, 2001.

Ten years on, these authors use imaginative letters to reflect on the consequences for Britain, America and the world.

Today's letter is from Naomi Alderman who was working for a Manhattan law firm in an office overlooking the World Trade Centre when the planes struck the twin towers.

Her experience that day led her to give up her career and become a writer.

But the character she imagines in her letter reflects an even more profound change.

Producer: Julian May.

Naomi Alderman reflects on the events of 9/11 ten years on.

03Joseph O'neill20110907

Five internationally acclaimed authors write letters to consider the consequences of the events of September 11th, 2001 for Britain, America and the world.

Today's 9/11 Letter is by the Irish-Turkish writer Joseph O'Neill, who lives in Manhattan and whose award-winning novel, "Netherland", has been described as the "angriest, most exacting and most desolate work of fiction we've yet had about life in New York and London after the World Trade Center fell".

Rather than creating a character writing to an imagined recipient, as the other authors of The 9/11 Letters have, O'Neill remains steadfastly himself, and addresses his letter directly to Radio 4 listeners.

He reflects on the way that, because of the mass coverage of the attack on the World Trade Centre, the distance between those who were there as eye witnesses and the rest of us collapsed with the Twin Towers.

We were all 'there'.

And so America's response to the attacks had profound implications for us all.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Joseph O'Neill reflects on the implications of the mass coverage of the attack.

04Lionel Shriver20110908

Five internationally acclaimed writers consider the impact of the momentous events of September 11th, 2001.

Ten years on, these authors use imaginative letters to reflect on the consequences for Britain, America and the world.

Today's 9/11 Letter is by the American novelist Lionel Shriver whose book 'We Need to Talk about Kevin' is now a modern classic.

Shriver has given her letter the title 'Prepositions' and it delineates precisely the meanings of little words such as 'in', 'on','at' and 'near'.

Her letter is to a woman whose husband died in 9/11, from a woman whose husband died on 9/11.

Ten years on the consequences of those little differences on the lives of these friends are huge, and vastly different.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Lionel Shriver reflects on the consequences of September 11 2001.

05 LASTMichael Morpurgo20110909

Five internationally acclaimed writers consider the impact of the momentous events of September 11th, 2001.

Ten years on, these authors use imaginative letters to reflect on the consequences for Britain, America and the world.

The final 9/11 Letter is by the former Children's Laureate, Michael Morpurgo.

Among the more than one hundred books he has written is 'War Horse', the stage version of which this year won a Tony Award on Broadway, and is being made into a film by Stephen Spielberg.

The imagined writer of Michael Morpurgo's letter is Ginny, who, when the first plane smashed into the North tower was waiting on a bench in Central Park for her husband to return from breakfast with their son, their first meeting since a rift seven years previously.

What happened on 11th September, 2001 rent many families - including Ginny's - asunder, yet it also brought people together.

Michael Morpurgo's letter, which he has titled 'A Proper Family' movingly explores this ambiguity.

Producer: Julian May.

Michael Morpurgo's letter-writer Ginny was waiting in Central Park for her husband and son