The Belgian Nurse

This 60-minute play traces the growing friendship, partnership and love between Kathryn Hulme, author of  the 1950s bestseller The Nun’s Story, and Marie Louise Habets, the real ex-nun upon whose life it was based. Starting with their first meeting, it follows them through the hardships of post World War II refugee relief work, to the very different struggles that go with seeing your hitherto private life story turned into a Hollywood blockbuster

First Transmission: Saturday January 13 2007, BBC Radio Four, 2.30-3.30pm GMT.

Click here for The Nun’s True Story.

Short Stories

The de Montfort Essay Cup

First published in “The Man Who Loved Presents”
edited by Alison Campbell et al (London, The Women’s Press, 1991)
Broadcast on BBC Radio Four, Christmas 1995,
Repeated Christmas 1996

Read by Sara Coward

“There’s one thing I wish people wouldn’t do at Christmas. By people I mean old lovers who have gone off and married someone else. This happens to me over and over again. I don’t mean that I have all that many lovers, but the ones I do have invariably leave me after a few months and marry someone else.

“I don’t think I’m unduly bitter about this. I’m certainly not surprised…”

The Rules

Broadcast on BBC Radio Four in 1998, part of “Tales We Tell”, a series of short stories commissioned to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of the short story collection “Tales I Tell My Mother”
Repeated 1999

Read by Gwen Taylor

“She tosses her head. ‘Oh, he said something about you and him respecting each other’s freedom. I thought he meant, you know, that he does the washing up. I never dreamed it was something as sick and sad and seedy as what you’re talking about. Why are you and he so scared of commitment?’

‘If you’re so keen on commitment,’ I ask her, ‘What were you doing with my man?’…”

Stop in the City

Broadcast on BBC Radio Four in 2003, as part of “The Double Helix”, a series of short stories specially commissioned to mark the anniversary of the discovery of DNA.

Read by Jenny Coverack

“There might be a genetic predisposition in some people to drive their cars recklessly, but it can’t be in a pedestrian’s DNA that they’re going to place themselves in that motorist’s path.

Or can it? Maybe everything is predestined. One thing that was predestined was that if I didn’t get to work, I would be fired. On my way in, I happened to run into one of our technical support guys, and asked him whether it was possible to do DNA tests online by licking a VDU. Not that I’m planning to do it at work, I added hastily (they’re rather protective of their equipment), I just wondered. He said he hadn’t heard of it but if there was one thing he had learned from a career in IT, it was “never say never”, and he guessed the same applied to molecular biology.”

Daffodil Dell

Broadcast on BBC Radio Four as part “Last Night I Dreamt…”, a series of stories to mark the centenary of the birth of Daphne du Maruier. Repeated 2008.

Read by Jenny Coverack