My short story ‘Algebra’ on BBC Radio 4 Extra

Last year, out of the blue, I received an email from the BBC’s Rights, Legal and Business Affairs department to ask permission to repeat my radio work, a play and a short story, on BBC Radio 4 Extra.  Naturally I said yes!  My play The Songs that Houses Sing was broadcast on February 13 and has now disappeared from iPlayer.  My short story Algebra was broadcast on March 11 and 12 and is available on iPlayer for another 25 days.

Algebra is a short story I wrote as a mature student when I was studying for a degree in English at Chichester University (then West Sussex Institute of Higher Education).   I think the module I took was called Writing Short Stories and it was taught by John Saunders.  I was pleased with the story and submitted it to the Ian St James Awards that year.  Amazingly it won First Prize.  I sent it in the BBC and they liked it enough to broadcast it.  It’s published in Snapshots: 10 Years of the Ian St James Awards available at and Amazon.

Algebra is the story of a lumberjack and his wife, who lead a simple life – until their angelic child starts senior school.  The story is read by William Hootkins.

I had a truly wonderful time at Chichester, by the way.  All the staff who taught me, John, Vicki Feaver, Alison MacLeod, Hugh Dunkerley, Hugo Donnelly, and others, were fantastic; encouraging, interested in their students, knowledgeable, and talented writers in their own right.  Some of them are still teaching at Chichester University. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Chichester if you or anyone you know is considering studying Creative Writing.  The uni is spread over two beautiful campuses in West Sussex;  one a stone’s throw from the elegant city of Chichester, the other by the sea in Bognor Regis.

Anyway, let me know if you have a chance to listen to Algebra!

6 thoughts on “My short story ‘Algebra’ on BBC Radio 4 Extra”

  1. I can honestly say this is the best short story I have ‘read’ for a long time. There is something disturbingly reminiscent of Conrad’s Secret Sharer about it, with regard to the language and the way the reader is enticingly let into ‘the secret’, but also because of the way it deals with one who does not fit in with the requirements of a certain time. Were Conrad of our time, I would not be unduly surprised to find a similar tale of exception with his name on the cover.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Josephine, I managed to listen to The Houses that Sing before it disappeared. I really enjoyed it and feel as if I’ve seen a movie! I hope that’s a compliment! Thank you for letting us know it was on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ann, Yes, it’s a wonderful compliment and I’m incredibly grateful for it! It has been fantastic that so many people have been in touch to say they heard my play or my story (or both) and enjoyed them. What a treat for me that the BBC repeat some of their back catalogue of work. Thank you very much. 🙂 x


  3. Thanks, Josephine. I really enjoyed The Stories that Houses Sing for its interweaving of past and present and the canon of voices. Good to hear your short story is still available on iPlayer; I’ll save it to My Radio 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

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