Q&A with Bettany Hughes

Today marks the start of the second week of the BBC Woman’s Hour coverage of our 20th anniversary celebrations. This week kicks off with Bettany Hughes discussing 2011 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife – tune in from 10am on BBC Radio 4 or listen online here.

We caught up with Bettany before the interview to discuss life-changing books, fictional worlds and where Bettany gets her book recommendations.

Can you name a book written by a woman that has changed your life?

Mary Renault’s The King Must Die. This sensuous book – which I read on a freezing Kent beach as a teenager – made me want to be come a historian of the ancient world

Where and how do you pick up new books and recommendations?

Old books in Oxfam book shops. New books from my brilliant friend Jane Woolley.

If you could live in a fictional book, which would it be and why?

I tend to read quite upsetting books – a great way to keep your empathy muscle exercised – so I would NOT want to inhabit many of those ( Jane Eyre, The Black Prince, The Sea The Sea etc etc) but I wouldn’t mind having a go at just one day in Helen’s Palace in Sparta from The Odyssey.

Don’t miss out – tune in to BBC Woman’s Hour from 10am to hear Bettany discussing Téa Obreht’s wonderful debut The Tiger’s Wife.