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    06 Profile : Little Boots
    08 This month:Xmas Down Under
    10 Travel:Meditating at Christmas
    11 Where are They Now?:Kirstie Alley
    12 The Modern World:The Pub Quiz
     
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  • Isn’t it amazing when things go even better that expected and we achieve a much anticipated result? A year ago Barack Obama gave his victory speech and started preparing for his administration. Thirty years ago a female rocker from Detroit started her career – and she’s still going strong. Several centuries earlier, Irish royals settled in Tara to govern their country. And a little more than two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was born to save humankind from our sins – and this is still celebrated both in Australian and Harlem styles.

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345 - Richard Harvell on Success

Richard Harvell is the author of the best-selling novel The Bells, which tells the story of an 18th century “castrato” opera singer called Moses. The book has already been translated into a dozen languages but, like many writers, Richard Harvell had to deal with rejection before he got published. Here he offers some advice:

Richard Harvell (Standard American accent)

When I was writing short stories and struggling to get those published, the best advice that I got was, “Make it a game to try to get rejections and try to get 100 rejections in a year” and… and I did manage to get 100 rejections in a year, at some point, and I think… and published three stories in that time, but those three stories, it was great that I got those three stories published!

We then asked him what he was working on at the moment:

Richard Harvell

I’ve been working on a… on a book now that’s set in Egypt in 1798, during Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt, which is a fascinating time because it’s the first time that… that… modern Europeans visited Egypt, visited the Islamic world and visited all of these sites of ancient Egypt. It’s got themes of the decipherment of the Rosetta Stone in it, but then also the… the place that opera plays in this book of… of… influencing the style and the stories is then played in that book by the… A Thousand and One Nights.

And in conclusion we asked him about the appeal of opera:

Richard Harvell

I always loved… loved… theatre, I loved Shakespeare or modern theatre and I always… I never really enjoyed going to classical music concerts, and then, when I first went to opera, it has something that theatre doesn’t have, this… this ability to… to tunnel to sort of the emotion… the emotional part of a person, without… somehow it bypasses the whole head… and yet it was… it’s still about people and there’s still a story that… that one can come away with, grasping onto. I was also inspired by… opera’s not afraid of being melodramatic, and it’s not afraid of… of… of having love and death… and I think, as a writer, and that was certainly the mistake of… of… or the… the thing that I had to learn with this book is… is to let myself go and… and to talk about and to write in a certain… allow myself to be melodramatic at times and… and to be able to speak through Moses, who was an opera singer, made that possible.

(Richard Harvell was talking to Mark Worden).

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