Not Drowning But Waving

Poet Stevie Smith's most memorable poem ends with the words 'not waving but drowning.' In this series, five writers turn her bleak phrase on its head.


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Historian and novelist Stevie Davies evokes a memory of childhood which is part biography, part autobiography and entirely playful.

Read by Helen Sheals.

Produced by Christine Hall.


Ian Sansom reads his own short story.

Sammy and his new wife invest in a spa from America, but it's not a good day for a plumber.

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by Sophie Hannah.

When Anna's nesting instincts take over during her pregnancy, it's justice she most craves, not new decor and dimmer switches.

Read by Lisa Coleman.

Then Sailing By.

Produced by Sara Davies

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by Philip Gross Alec had always told stories - as in whoppers, porkies, lies.

But this time, there's something strangely compelling about his tale of the dolphinarium and the Official Secrets Act.

Read by Mark Meadows

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by Diana Hendry When a polite young man comes to the door announcing he's come to rescue her, there seems no reason why seventy-two year old Molly shouldn't go with him.

After all, she's always wanted to be rescued...

Read by Phyllida Nash