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The Disappearance of Émile Zola

Tuesday 28 March 2017

1 Hour


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Writer, poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen tells the little known story of French novelist Émile Zola’s year in exile in the suburbs of London following his famous intervention in the Dreyfus Affair.

Zola took on the highest powers in France with is open letter J’accuse. He was forced to flee Paris with no more than the clothes he was wearing. Rosen examines the time Zola spent living in the suburbs of South London. There was a novel to write about birth control and infanticide and the delicate matter of relationships with the two women in his life, one the mother of his child and the other his wife. Rosen also explains how Zola’s intervention brought the fundamental nature of the French state into question and is still an issue for the country today.

Rosen is a former Children’s Laureate and a recipient of the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He is best known for his children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, which has sold over 8,000,000. He presents BBC Radio 4’s Word of Mouth and his programme, Zola in Norwood, was broadcast on Radio 3.