From The Ban To The Booker

Best-selling author Val Mcdermid examines the development of the lesbian novel and its transition from the margins to the mainstream.

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She looks at the furore surrounding Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness, the subject of an obscenity trial in 1928 and banned because of its lesbian content.

Virginia Woolf's Orlando was published in the same year but escaped the censor.

The programme includes a rare BBC recording of Vita Sackville-west, the inspiration behind Woolf's modernist masterpiece.

Contributors include Jeanette Winterson, Sarah Waters and Ali Smith

In 1928 The Well of Loneliness was tried for obscenity and banned because of its lesbian content.

Eighty years on and Sarah Waters and Ali Smith have, between them, been nominated five times for the Booker Prize.

With contributions from some of Britain's finest writers, including Jeanette Winterson, Sarah Waters and Ali Smith, this first programme looks at the furore surrounding The Well and the repercussions of the ban on subsequent novelists.

The programme includes a rare BBC recording of Vita Sackville-west, the inspiration for Woolf's modernist masterpiece.

Val Mcdermid on the furore over Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness, banned in 1928.

02 LAST2008081920100212

In 1950 a novel called Women's Barracks sparked an entire new genre of lesbian pulp fiction.

Maureen Duffy recalls the publication of her critically acclaimed Microcosm in 1966.

Val examines the influence of feminist publishing houses on the growth of novels with a lesbian theme.

Contributors include Jeanette Winterson, who explains why she hates the term 'lesbian novel', and Sarah Waters, who describes the importance of television drama in bringing lesbian fiction into the living rooms of the nation.

In 1950, a novel called Women's Barracks was published.

It sold in the millions and sparked an entire new lesbian pulp fiction.

Val Mcdermid samples Tender Torment, Warped Women and Satan Was a Lesbian.

These books weren't entirely positive in their portrayal of lesbian life; Patricia Highsmith's Carol was a rare, classic exception.

Maureen Duffy recalls the publication of her critically acclaimed Microcosm in 1966 and Val examines the influence of feminist publishing houses on the growth of novels with a lesbian theme.

Jeanette Winterson talks about why she hates the label 'lesbian novel' and Sarah Waters describes the importance of television drama in bringing lesbian fiction into the living rooms of the nation.

In 1950 a novel called Women's Barracks sparked a new genre of lesbian pulp fiction.