Woman's Hour - 27/07/2009

With Sheila McClennon. Kathryn Stockett's debut novel The Help is set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960s where two black maids and a white woman conspire on a clandestine project that could put their lives at risk. It has become a bestseller in America, been praised by critics and is already a firm favourite among book groups. Kathryn talks to Sheila McClennon about how her own childhood inspired the narrative and the challenges she faced as a white author giving a voice to black characters. Approximately a quarter of a million children in the UK have an allergy to peanuts. It is a condition which can cause great anxiety as the sufferers and their parents try to ensure total avoidance of the nuts, which can be present in tiny amounts in many everyday foods. Now doctors in Cambridge who have been working on de-sensitising those with the allergy have reported favourable results from their latest trial. Sheila hears more about the project, its results and the implications. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the formation of the modern Commonwealth. In celebration, a special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace will evoke some of the most important Commonwealth Tours undertaken by the Queen during her reign. The exhibition brings together 28 dresses worn by Her Majesty on Commonwealth Tours over the past six decades and includes over 100 gifts presented to the Queen, ranging from Aboriginal carvings to a whale's tooth and traditional Maori feather cloaks. Sheila visits the exhibition. Widows in Nepal are protesting against a government plan to offer a cash incentive to men for marrying them. The 50,000 rupee grant - about 388pounds - was announced in the government's annual budget. There are large numbers of widows in the country, created by the recent 10-year bloody conflict and critics say that a re-marriage 'bounty' is contrary to human rights laws, and supports forced marriage, rape, and the view that women are mere chattels. Sheila hears more about how widows in Nepal are treated and how their status might be improved.


  • 2009-07-27 10:00:00 - 2009-07-27 11:00:00 on Radio 4 FM, Radio 4 LW,