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Desert Island Books

In the Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine there’s an interesting feature, suggested to me by member David Bowmore. It’s called ‘Desert Island Books’ and it’s based on something from the BBC.

On 29 January 1942, the BBC Forces Programme first broadcast a radio show called 'Desert Island Discs'. There have since been over 3,000 episodes of the programme, which is still running on BBC Radio 4, 77 years later.

Its successful format is based on the idea of a guest, called a ‘castaway’, imagining themselves alone on a desert island. The guest chooses a number recordings to take with him or her, and it is the discussion of these which enables a review of his or her life. At the end of the programme one piece is chosen from the number as a favourite, which the castaway is allowed to keep on this imaginary island. They are also automatically given the Complete Works of Shakespeare and either the Bible or another appropriate religious or philosophical work but are then prompted to select a third item to accompany them, as well as one luxury. Items chosen as luxuries so far have included a monocle and an iPod.

Obviously, it’s been a successful format for the BBC, and will probably be for the magazine too. The magazine brings its own flavour to it, replacing the recordings with four favourite books. Interviewees - or ‘castaways’ - are asked questions about their lives and place the significance of each chosen book into their own unfolding story. The result is not just an interview, but a kind of three dimensional portrait of a person.

It’s open to anyone in the Inner Circle Writers’ Group. If you’d like to participate, please drop a line:

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