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Dr Laura Varnam on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book

People at a radio station

L to R in this photo: Olivia Laing, Octavia Bright, Dr Laura Varnam, Wyl Menmuir in the studio at Broadcasting House

As part of the “Daphne du Maurier: Double Exposure” series of programmes on BBC Radio 4, Univ’s lecturer in English Literature Dr Laura Varnam was invited to be one of the panellists on Open Book on Sunday 10 March. Presented by Octavia Bright, Laura joined writers Olivia Laing and Wyl Menmuir in a wide-ranging discussion of Du Maurier’s novels, from Rebecca to My Cousin Rachel, and Laura’s favourite, the medieval time-travel novel, The House on the Strand.

Laura said, “It was a pleasure to join such a brilliant panel to discuss Du Maurier’s works and to dig deeper into her skills as a writer. Du Maurier is a much more versatile and experimental author than is often recognised and I hope that the programme inspires listeners to revisit her most popular novels, such as Frenchman’s Creek and Jamaica Inn, with fresh eyes but also to venture into her lesser-known works such as The Parasites or her biography of Branwell Brontë.”

The programme is available to listen to online and via BBC Sounds.

Earlier in the year, Laura also contributed a new introduction to a special collectors edition of Rebecca, which is being published by Suntup Editions in the US. This edition, which has already sold out, features specially commissioned artwork by Iva Troj and an introduction by Laura.

Laura said, “It was a dream come true to be asked to write an introduction to Rebecca, a novel that has fascinated me since I was a teenager. It’s quite surreal to see my name below Daphne’s on the title page — I hope I’ve done her work justice!”

Photo: Suntup editions website

If you’d like to find out more about Laura’s work on Du Maurier, you can visit her website.

Published: 3 April 2024

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