Letting Go

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As part of Radio 4's Character Invasion Day, Paul Allen meets a collection of well-known authors to explore the pleasures and pain of releasing their best loved characters.

For the writer, their characters can be akin to adored children, shaped and nurtured with deep bonds formed. But what happens when these characters are invited to leave the page and adapted for stage and screen or even killed off? What do writers feel when they let go of their creations?

We hear contributions from PD James, Michael Morpurgo, Joanne Harris, Louis De Bernieres, Mark Haddon, Judith Kerr and William Boyd. We also learn how their readers are affected by seeing characters such as Adam Dalgliesh, Captain Corelli and Logan Mount Stewart distorted and changed as they leave the page.

When an author undergoes the process of letting go, some are heavily involved in the production and casting while others have little control, simply hoping the new interpretation does justice to their creation. As Allen discovers this has sometimes caused resentment and reluctance to continue this practice.

He also examines how writers and readers emotions differ when a decision is made to kill off a character and explores how writers deal with inheriting and interpreting an already well-established figure such as James Bond.