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Desert Island Books

I need more people willing to participate in the feature known in the Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine as ‘Desert Island Books’. It’s fun to do and won’t take you long.

What’s it all about?

On 29 January 1942, the BBC Forces Programme first broadcast a radio show called Desert Island Discs. Originally presented by its creator, Roy Plomley, 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 eight 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 eight 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 book to accompany them, as well as one luxury, which must be inanimate and is not to be used to escape the island or allow communication with the outside world.

Member David Bowmore thought that this would be a good feature for the magazine, and suggested that I adapt it to fit books rather than recordings. So ‘Desert Island Books’ was born — in this case, the guest chooses four books to take to an imaginary island, and includes a write up for me explaining something about his or her life and how these books fit into it. The participant is then encouraged to select an appropriate religious or philosophical work and a luxury item. I usually end off the mock interview by asking about future plans. Links can be included at the end.

In practical terms, if anyone wants to do this, all they have to do is the above — a write up of about 1,000 to 1,500 words — and send it to me at

along with a few good pictures of themselves and their lives so far. I can do the rest — though it helps if they also send screenshots of their favourite books' covers, just to save time.

Anyone interested? Please email me at the above address.

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