Capturing America

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The BBC Radio 4 series on modern American literature is now being replayed on Radio 4 extra and you can listen to it during the next month:

Mark Lawson tells the story of how American writing became the literary superpower of the 20th century, telling the nation’s stories of money, power, sex, religion and war.

Mark traces the way a group of young Americans returning from WWII turned the US into a literary superpower.

Contributors include Philip Roth, Toni Morrison and Edward Albee as well as Norman Mailer, John Updike and Kurt Vonnegut, the last three recorded in the final major interviews of their lives.

Drawing on interviews with dozens of key writers and critics, Mark Lawson examines the role of authors in capturing the nature of the US and explores the successes and controversies of America’s literary output. He shows how differences of race, region and gender informed and expanded the stories being told. And he nominates his candidate for the title of the most unfairly neglected great American novelist.