Booker Prize Winners and Shortlisted Novels:
Radio Adaptations, part 2
Alistair Wyper

Booker Prize Winners and Shortlisted Novels Adapted for Radio

Part Two: 1997 to 2019 ......................................Back to Part 1

Shortlisted 1997: All Six Novels

An extract from each of the six books on the 1997 shortlist was read as Booker at Bedtime from Monday 14 October to Monday 21 October 1991 before the prize was awarded to Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things on Tuesday 14 October 1997.

Monday 6 October: 1: Quarantine by Jim Crace.
Reader: Rachel Atkins
Producer: Sara Benaim

Tuesday 7 October: 2: The Underground Man by Mick Jackson.

Producer Jocelyn Boxall

Wednesday 8 October: 3: Grace Notes by Bernard MacLaverty. Producer Lizzie Hart.

Thursday 9 October: 4: Europa by Tim Parks. Producer Lizzie Davies

Friday 10 October: 5: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Producer Debbie Waddell.

Monday 13 October: 6: The Essence of The Thing by Madeleine St John. Producer Louise Grealish.

Tuesday 14 October: A second extract from the winning novel The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

Winner 1997: Arundhati Roy The God of Small Things

The Woman's Hour drama from Monday 12 July to Friday 23 July 2004.

Adapted in 10 parts by Tanika Gupta, with original music by Nitin Sawhney. A tale of forbidden cross-caste love and what a community will do to protect the old ways.
When Rahel returns to Kerala to be reunited with her twin brother Estha, painful memories of the past come flooding back.
Music by Nitin Sawhney. Producer Nadia Molinari.

Rahel: Yasmin Wilde
Estha: Richard Sumttro
Young Rahel: Jatlnder Purewal
Young Estha: Shakeel Ahmed
Ammu: Thushanl Weerasekera
Velutha: Paul Bhattacharjee
Sophie Mol: Poppy Rush
Chacko: Vincent Ebrahim
Baby Kochamma: Josephine Welcome
Mammachi: Shaheen Khan
Insp: Matthew Raadrawl
Vellya: Badi Uzzaman
Kochu: Adlyn Ross
Margaret: Slobhan Finneran.

Shortlisted: 1997: Jim Crace Quarantine

BABT BBC Radio 4 from Monday 26 January to Friday 6 February 1998.

Read in ten parts by Sara Kestelman. Producer: Pat McLoughlin

This novel retells the Biblical story of Christ's forty days in the desert. In Crace's version, Jesus is one of a handful of people who have retreated to the Judean wilderness in search of enlightenment or purification.

Shortlisted: 1997: Bernard MacLaverty Grace Notes

Drama on 3 BBC Radio 3 Sunday 16 February 2003

Adapted by Lou Stein with the author.
The story of a young Northern Irish composer who returns home to an embattled Northern Ireland for her father's funeral, after creating two of her life's masterpieces: her first major orchestral work and her first child.
With music by real-life Belfast composer Deirdre Gribbin.
Director Lou Stein

Catherine Anne McKenna: Amanda Burton
Narrator: Bernard MacLaverty
Father: James Greene
Father Ferry: James Greene
Kirkpatrick: James Greene
Mother/Granny Boyd: Eileen Pollock
Miss Bingham: Brid Brennan
Dave/Wang Shao Gang: David Yip
Olga/Midwife/Liz: Maureen Beattie

Winner 1998: Ian McEwan Amsterdam

BBC Radio 4 The Late Book from Thursday 28 September to Saturday 9 October 1999.

The plot centres on newspaper revelations about the private life of the foreign secretary. Read by Michael Kitchen, abridged in ten parts by Penny Leicester. Producer: Julia Butt.

Shortlisted 1998: Beryl Bainbridge Master Georgie

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 8 June to Friday 19 June 1998

The story is organised as an account of the taking of six photographs. 

Abridged in ten parts by Pauline Wallis. Read by Samantha Morton. Producer: Chris Wallis.

Shortlisted 1998: Magnus Mills The Restraint of Beasts

BBC Radio 4 The Late Book from Monday 28 December 1998 to Friday 8 January 1999.

A comedy about the world of fence-building. Abridged in ten parts by Andrew Simpson and read by Gavin Muir. Producer: Duncan Minshull.

Shortlisted 1999: Anita Desai Fasting, Feasting

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 6 December to 1999.

A tale of two families, two cultures and inescapable destiny. Read by Sudha Bhudhar. Abridged in ten parts by Elizabeth Bradbury. Producer: Di Speirs.

Shortlisted 1999: Michael Frayn Headlong

BBC Radio 4 Saturday Drama 19 January 2013

Martin is asked to value some paintings and, though he's no expert, he is immediately sure one of them is a priceless missing masterpiece. With over-reaching ambition, he sets about acquiring it without telling the owner what he thinks he has found and rapidly gets in so deep that he puts everything at risk - even his marriage, even the painting itself.

Toby Jones, Gina McKee, Tim McInnerny and Denise Gough in Robin Brooks' adaptation of the novel.

Directed by Clive Brill

Produced by Ann Scott

A Greenpoint production for BBC Radio 4.

Shortlisted 2000: Trezza Azzopardi The Hiding Place

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 13 November to Friday 24 November 2000. A haunting story of daughters and debt. Read by Sian Thomas and abridged in ten parts by Elizabeth Bradbury.

Producer: Di Speirs.

Shortlisted 2000: Kazuo Ishiguro When We Were Orphans

BBC Radio 4 The Late Book from Tuesday 4 April to Saturday 14 April 2000

Read by Anton Lesser. Abridged in ten parts by Chris Wallis. It is 1930 and Christopher Banks is the country's most celebrated detective. But one unsolved crime still haunts him -the disappearance of his parents in Shanghai when he was a small boy. Producer Jill Waters.

Shortlisted 2001: Ian McEwan Atonement

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 18 February to Friday 8 March 2002.

On the hottest day of the summer in 1935, 13-year-old Briony witnesses a moment by a fountain - and the lives of three people are changed for ever. Sian Thomas reads the first part of Ian McEwan 's Booker short-listed novel about love, truth and the difficulty of absolution. Abridged in 15 parts by Sally Marmion. Producer Di Speirs.

Shortlisted 2001: Andrew Miller Oxygen

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 19 August to Friday 30 August 2002.

David Rintoul reads Andrew Miller 's contemporary novel, shortlisted for last year's Booker Prize, about a group of characters in the West Country, Paris and San Francisco who reach a crossroads in their lives.
Abridged in ten parts by Brian McCabe. Producer Bruce Young.

Shortlisted 2002: Carol Shields Unless

The Woman's Hour drama from Monday 28 June to Friday 23 July 2004

Adapted by Deborah Levy. "I am supposed to be that sunny woman, Reta Winters , but something happened when my back was turned." When 19-year-old Norah drops out to sit on a Toronto sidewalk, her mother learns that happiness is not what she thought. Producer Di Speirs.

Reta: Barbara Bames
Norah: Laurel Lefkow
Natalie: Vicki Simon
Danielle: Sara Kestelman
Tom: Rick Bland
Chris/Sylvia: Teresa Gallagher
Gwen/Lois: Liza Ross
Young Norah: Josephine Kook-Clark

Shortlisted 2002: William Trevor The Story of Lucy Gault

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 4 November to Friday 15 November 2002.

When during the summer of 1921 three men come to fire the Big House in County Cork, they ignite a chain of events which has tragic consequences for the mother, father and child who live there. Dermot Crowley reads William Trevor 's haunting new masterpiece. Abridged in ten parts by Sally Marmion.
Producer Di Speirs.

Shortlisted 2003: Damon Galgut The Good Doctor

BBC World Service World Drama Saturday 27 November 2010

The story of an idealistic medical graduate who arrives at an isolated South African hospital to take up a year's community service.

Cast: Graham Weir, Andrew Laubscher, Faniswa Yisa, Chi Mhende, Cindy Mkaza, Mdu Kweyama, Erica Wessels, Wiseman Sithole, Deon Lotz.

Recorded on location in Cape Town and directed by Marion Nancarrow.

Shortlisted 2003: Zoë Heller Notes on a Scandal

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 13 June to 24 June 2005.

When Sheba first arrives at St George's, her colleague Barbara senses a bond with her. But Sheba crosses a line when she becomes involved in a friendship with 15-year-old student Steven. Abridged by Lauris Morgan-Griffiths . Read by Barbara Flynn. Producer Mary Ward Lowery.

Winner 2005: John Banville The Sea

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 30 January to Friday 3 February 2006.

Art historian Max Morden returns to the seaside village where he spent a memorable childhood holiday, both to escape a recent loss and to confront a distant trauma. Read by Jim Norton Abridged by Tamsin Collison. Producer Joanna Green.

Shortlisted 2005: Julian Barnes Arthur and George

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 30 January to Friday 3 February 2006.

The true story of how Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of one of literature's most enduring detectives, became the champion of a young solicitor, George Edalji , who was the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Read by Clive Merrison and abridged by Katrin Williams. Producer Jill Waters.

Shortlisted 2005: Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go

BBC Radio 4 BABT (under the rubric “Dangerous Visions”) from Monday 30 May to Friday 10 June 2016.

A dystopian tale of love, friendship and loss.

Reader Rachel Shelley

Abridger Lauris Morgan-Griffiths

Producer Mair Bosworth.

Winner 2006: Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss

BBC World Service Drama Sat 12 Dec 2009 and Sat 19 Dec 2009.

The story of a young orphaned girl, Sai, who is sent to live with her fierce grandfather when her astronaut parents are killed in a car crash in Russia. A retired Judge, he is living with his dog and cook in splendid isolation in Kalimpong, near the Himalayas, and has no need of the uncomfortable memories she stirs up. As Sai grows up – and falls in love – so the wider backdrop of political unrest begins to encroach on her future and her happiness.

Directed by Marion Nancarrow, the cast also includes Harvey Virdi; Pooja Ghai, Inam Mirza, Ronny Jhutti, Melissa Advani, Stephen Hogan, Kate Layden, Zubin Varla, Nickul Hathi, Ravi Aujla, Nicholas Khan, Antony Bunsee, Stephen Hogan, Rehan Sheikh and Badi Uzzaman.

Shortlisted 2006: Kate Grenville The Secret River

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 6 June to Friday 16 June 2006.

A novel about belonging and ownership tells the story of a London boatman, Will Thornhill, transported to New South Wales in 1806. In this strange, unfathomable land he carves out a new life for his family in a place that was once home to another people for thousands of years. 

Read By: Ron Cook
Abridged By: Sally Marmion.
Producer: Di Speirs

Shortlisted 2006: Sara Waters The Night Watch

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 10 April to Friday 28 April 2006.

The moving story of three women and their love affairs, set in 1940s
London. The war has ended but its aftershocks linger.
A riveting mystery story that unravels backwards from 1947 to 1944, and finally to 1941. Read by Rosalind Ayres. Abridger/Producer Martin Jarvis

Shortlisted 2007: Mohsin Hamid The Reluctant Fundamentalist

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 22 August to Friday 2 September 2011.

At a cafe table in Lahore a bearded Pakistani accosts an uneasy American stranger and tells him the story of his life. But as dusk deepens to night it becomes clear that this is no chance encounter.

Abridged by Lisa Osborne.

Produced by Lisa Osborne.

A Sweet Talk Production for BBC Radio 4.

Shortlisted 2007: Lloyd Jones Mister Pip

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 31 March to Friday 11 April 2008.

On a Pacific island threatened by uprising, Matilda and her classmates find their lives intertwined with those of Mr Dickens and a boy called Pip.

On a South Pacific island threatened by uprising, Matilda and her classmates find their lives intertwined with those of a boy called Pip and a man named Mr Dickens. Lloyd Jones's novel is read by Nikki Amuka-Bird . Abridged and produced by Jane Marshall.

Shortlisted 2007: Ian McEwan On Chesil Beach

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 2 April to Friday 6 April 2007.

The story of a couple looking forward to the night of their honeymoon on the Dorset coast.

Reader: Alex Jennings.
Abridged By: Sally Marmion.
Producer: Di Speirs.

Winner 2008: Aravind Adiga The White Tiger

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 23 February to Friday 6 March 2009

Aravind Adiga 's A biting satire on contemporary India. Balram Halwai, the son of a rickshaw puller, escapes the poverty of his village for the bright lights and corruption of the city. Read by Sagar Arya. Abridged by Lauris Morgan-Griffiths . Producer Paul Dodgson.

Shortlisted 2008: Sebastian Barry The Secret Scripture

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 28 April to Friday 9 May 2008.

Nearing her 100th birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future at the soon to be closed Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital. Her only solace is her psychiatrist Dr Grene, with whom she has an intense and increasingly complicated relationship.

Read by Doreen Keogh and Alex Jennings. Abridged by Neville Teller. Producer: Eoin O'Callaghan.

Shortlisted 2008: Simon Mawer The Glass Room

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 9 November to Friday 20 November 2009.

Greta Scacchi reads Simon Mawer 's novel about modernism, architecture and 20th-century Europe. At the beginning of the 1930s, Viktor and Liesel Landauer are honeymooning in Venice. Soon, they will return to newly created Czechoslovakia, where they will build an extraordinary family home. Abridged by Jeremy Osborne. Producer Rosalynd Ward.

Winner 2011: Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 8 August to Friday 12 August 2011.

Tony Webster met Adrian Finn in the 6th form of a boys school in London, it was the early sixties and the future glowed bright for the small group of friends, especially for Adrian who was the bright young academic star of the year. It was Adrian who quoted the crucial definition of history, and skewered it with an example of the death of a fellow student who had got his girlfriend pregnant:

Memories of their classroom debates and student friendship are triggered by an unexpected legacy forty years after Adrian's death. It is only then that the now retired Tony begins to look back and re-examine events in the light of new evidence.

Read by Julian Barnes.

Producer: Jill Waters.

A Waters Company production.

Shortlisted 2011: Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 27 June to Friday 8 July 2011.

Shortly after the fall of Paris in 1940, Hieronymus Falk - a brilliant young jazz trumpeter who made his name in Berlin - is arrested in a café and never seen nor heard from again.

Fifty years later, Sid and Chip return to Berlin - but Chip has received a mysterious letter which sets the pair of them on a new journey to uncover the secrets of past. But the heart of the story is set in those wartime days in Berlin and Paris. It's a jazzman's tale, with a language and preoccupations that give us a very fresh take on some well-known historical events.

Abridged by Jeremy Osborne.

Read by Ricky Fearon.

Produced by Rosalynd Ward.

A Sweet Talk Production .

Shortlisted 2011: Stephen Kelman Pigeon English

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 7 March to Friday 18 March 2011.

A first novel which tells the story of 11-year-old Harrison Opoku, who has moved from Ghana to live with his mother and older sister on a tough North London housing estate.

Shortly after he arrives he sees a boy he knows slightly, lying stabbed on the street and he realises he needs to learn the tricks of inner city survival fast. And as he tries to come to terms with his new surroundings he befriends a pigeon who visits the balcony of his ninth floor flat.

Read by Jojo Baidoo.

Other voices are provided by Adjoa Andoh, Madeline Appiah, Amelia Donkor, Daniel Green, David Holt, Osy Ikhile and Robert Sparks.

Produced and abridged by Jane Marshall.

A Jane Marshall production .

Shortlisted 2011: A D Miller Snowdrops

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 3 January to Friday 14 January 2011.

An early-flowering bulbous plant, having a white pendent flower. 2. Moscow slang. A corpse that lies buried or hidden in the winter snows, emerging only in the thaw.

Nick Platt is an English lawyer living in Moscow during the Russian oil boom. Riding the subway on a September day, he rescues two sisters, Masha and Katya, from a would-be bag thief. Their world soon becomes his world too, and as winter envelopes the city, the sisters introduce him to Tatiana Vladimirovna, their aged aunt, who needs some help from the English lawyer. Platt is drawn into a complex web of deception and before the snows melt in spring, he will travel down to the Black Sea and the Arctic circle, and make disturbing discoveries about his job, his lover and, most of all, himself. Snowdrops is a tale of erotic obsession, self-deception and moral freefall. It is set in a land of hedonism and desperation, corruption and kindness, magical hideaways and debauched nightclubs; a place where secrets and corpses come to light when the snows thaw.

"In Russia there are no business stories. And there are no political stories. There are no love stories. There are only crime stories."

Reader: Stephen Mangan.

Abridged by Jeremy Osborne.

Shortlisted 2012: Deborah Levy Swimming Home

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 27 Feb to Friday 2 March 2012.

'Life is only worth living because we hope it will get better and we'll all get home safely"

When beautiful Kitty Finch lands in the middle of what seems a conventional holiday set up - two couples, one teenage daughter and a villa in the south of France - no-one quite knows the effect she will have, though at once the ground shifts.

In the fierce heat of July, fissures yawn open, prised apart by Kitty's unsettling presence. Is she benign? What does she want? Is she an admiring fan or a darker foe? And who is keeping secrets, most of all from themselves?

Deborah Levy's first novel in fifteen years has garnered much praise. Witty and acute by turn, its deceptively simple setting belies the fractured relationships and the sense of imminent chaos that threatens all the characters

Abridged by Sally Marmion

Produced by Di Speirs

Directed by Elizabeth Allard

The Reader is Juliet Aubrey

Shortlisted 2013: Jhumpa Lahiri The Lowland

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 11 November to Friday 22 November 2013.

Indira Varma reads Man Booker-listed new novel, The Lowland, spanning India and America, and exploring the price of idealism and the enduring power of love.

It is the 1960s, and violent revolution has come to India and America. Two brothers, Subhash and Udayan, born in Calcutta just fifteen months apart, have been inseparable since birth, but their paths are diverging. Udayan - charismatic and impulsive - finds himself drawn to the Communist movement sweeping Bengal. He will risk all for what he believes. But Subhash, the dutiful son, doesn't share his brother's political passion, and leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet corner of America. But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family's home, he returns to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind.

Reader: Indira Varma

Abridger: Sally Marmion

Producer: Justine Willett.

Shortlisted 2016: Deborah Levy Hot Milk

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 21 Mar to Friday 1 April 2016.

Set in Southern Spain it explores female rage and sexuality and the stubborn primal bond that exists between a hypochondriac mother and her daughter.

Sophia, a young anthropologist, has 'been sleuthing her mother's symptoms' for as long as she can remember as Rose, the older woman, is suffering from a form of paralysis that might or might not be imagined. Driven to find a cure beyond the realms of conventional medicine, they have come to Almeria in Southern Spain to visit the clinic of Dr Gomez. His methods appear to have little to do with physical medicine and he prompts both women to confront the true nature of their relationship. Why is Sophia unable to escape her mother's constant complaints? Are Rose's symptoms psychosomatic?

The oppressive desert heat pushes both to examine the root of Rose's illness and the cause of Sofia's fractured identity. And Sofia discovers the sting of desire, and the need to be vital and alive.

Reader Indira Varma

Abridger Sally Marmion

Producer Julian Wilkinson

Shortlisted 2017: Mohsin Hamid Exit West

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 2O November to Friday 24 November 2017.

Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people falling in love, but their world is about to be turned upside down. Theirs is a story of a world in crisis and two humans travelling through it. Read by Nikesh Patel.

Mohsin Hamid is the author of four novels: Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia and now Exit West.

Reader: Nikesh Patel

Abridger: Penny Leicester

Producer: Elizabeth Allard.

Shortlisted 2018: Esi Edugyan Washington Black

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 14 January to Friday 25 January 2019.

Set in the 1830s, Washington Black is an epic, historical novel. It begins on a slave plantation in Barbados and, by the most unexpected and inventive means, transports its young protagonist, Wash, off the island and on a journey that takes him around the world - in pursuit of freedom and the man whose approval he so desperately seeks.

The novel explores the nature of evil, moral delusion, and the limits of responsibility. It's also a coming-of-age story where survival marks the transition from boy to man.

Underpinning the more sobering aspects of the novel is a glorious celebration of the creative spirit and the power of the imagination. Despite everything, Washington’s ability to connect with and inspire others, and to draw strength from his own inner life, is an inspiration and a joy that speaks to the contemporary world.

Abridger: Jeremy Osborne

Reader: Alex Lanipekun

Producer: Rosalynd Ward

A Sweet Talk production .

Joint Winner 2019: Margaret Atwood The Testaments

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 16 September to Friday 4 October 2019.

In The Testaments, set fifteen years after the events of her dystopian masterpiece, the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. Now the testimonies of three different women bring the story to a dramatic conclusion.

Readers: Sara Kestelman, Katherine Press

Abridger: Katrin Williams

Producer: Justine Willett

Joint Winner 2019: Bernardine Evaristo 'Girl, Woman, Other’

BBC Radio 4 BABT from Monday 1June to Friday 12 June 2020

'Girl, Woman, Other’ is a wonderfully vivid portrayal of a group of interconnecting characters – mostly women, black and British – that provides a picture of contemporary Britain and looks back at the impact of Britain’s involvement in the colonial history of Africa and the Caribbean.

Amma is a playwright, now in her fifties, whose new play ‘The Last Amazon of Dahomey’ is being premiered at The National Theatre in London. In attendance are her daughter Yazz and her old friends the rebellious Dominique and Shirley, a jaded teacher who has struggled for decades working in a funding-deprived London school. Carole is one of Shirley’s past students who almost threw away a bright future by mixing with wayward friends. Carole’s mother Bummi is a cleaner for a wealthy Camberwell lady and worries about her daughter’s lack of identity despite her obvious achievements. Penelope is a colleague of Shirley’s and Winsome is Shirley’s mother. La Tisha is a supermarket supervisor and Megan, who identifies as gender free, has changed their name to Morgan. Morgan is very close with their great grandmother Hattie. Her mother Grace was raised in a home for girls before going to work as a maid. She eventually met and married Joseph Ryendale and became the mistress of his family farm, which their daughter Hattie eventually inherits.

Writer ….. Bernardine Evaristo

Abridger ….. Patricia Cumper

Reader ….. Pippa Bennett-Warner

Producer ….. Celia de Wolff.

Footnote: P H Newby whose novel Something to Answer For won the first Booker Prize in 1969, began his career as a radio producer. He went on to become successively: Controller of the Third Programme and Radio 3, Director of Programmes (Radio), and finally Managing Director BBC Radio.

Compiled by Alistair Wyper, July 2020 (.....Many thanks - N.D.)


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