Cultural Life: Joanna Trollope, novelist

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Books: As usual, I have several books on the go. The current crop includes Kishwar Desai's 'Witness The Night', which won the Costa first novel prize; George Eliot's 'Daniel Deronda', which I'm re-reading skipping most of the ponderous faith/Jewish culture bits; and Colin Thubron's 'A Mountain in Tibet' – he's such a writer, and my late pa got halfway to Lhasa from Delhi in 1944, when he hadn't enough wartime leave to come home in.

Television: Well, I'm sorry 'Zen' is done for now, even if I could never quite follow the storylines, and I am eternally amazed by 'Human Planet' – the camera at its most miraculous. But I'm strangely upset by 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' and have stopped watching it. Crude and unspeakably patronising, or what?

Films: I did see 'Black Swan', mostly through my fingers – the bad ballet and the melodrama slightly redeemed by the wonderful Barbara Hershey. I also saw 'Never Let Me Go', which managed to be nothing like as chilling as its theme (or Ishiguro's novel), but was still a vehicle for the seriously talented Carey Mulligan.

Theatre: I loved Rebecca Hall as Viola in her pa's production of 'Twelfth Night' at the Lyttleton – rather a relief just to see a straightforward, impeccable production of Shakespeare. And another treat – 'Becky Shaw' at the Almeida, as disconcerting as it is funny, and simply beautifully acted.

Music: I'm having a distinctly folk moment. I presented Album of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 British Folk Awards. The music was terrific, never mind actually being in the same room as Donovan and Joan Armatrading, Barbara Dickson and Roger Daltrey. Swoon.

'Daughters-in-Law' by Joanna Trollope (Doubleday, £18.99)