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The joy of Beowulf

08/11/2007. Contributed by Jessica Martin

Buy Beowulf in the USA - or Buy Beowulf in the UK

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On Saturday 17th November 2007, BBC Two’s The Culture Show will be broadcasting an interview with Caitlin Kiernan, the writer whose novelisation of the new Robert Zemeckis’ film Beowulf has recently been published by Transworld Publishers.

The interview will be part of a film in which Tim Samuels examines the enduring power of the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. Meeting poets, translators, and stars of the new Robert Zemeckis film, he will also be interviewing dark fantasy writer Caitlin Kiernan, via the online society, Second Life.

Keen to have the US-based author involved in the programme but faced with the complication of organising a crew to fly out to film her at home in Atlanta, The Culture Show came up with the idea of interviewing ‘Second Life’ veteran Kiernan in the 3-D virtual world.

Caitlin Kiernan told, “Frankly, I rather dislike doing face-to-face interviews, and so I was surprised to find the Beowulf interview within Second Life was actually a lot of fun. Rather than merely sitting somewhere dull answering a lot of questions or, worse yet, answering questions over the phone, I was able to sit in the virtual world of New Babbage, in the laboratory of my alternate-history 19th-Century time-travelling alien alter-ego, typing out my answers on a portable difference engine! The mundane was made extraordinary, allowing the interview itself to take on many of the dynamic aspects of storytelling. For the first time ever, I think I was actually disappointed when an interview was finished.”

The Culture Show is on BBC TWO at 7.00pm on Saturday.

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