This page: 1956 by Margaret Wilkinson Branch Lines Fiction Glee with a Blue Background by Liz Atkin What You Want by Joan Johnston Lip Reading by Fiona Ritchie Walker Broken Biscuits by June Portlock

Cover of 1956

1956 by Margaret Wilkinson,
ISBN 978-0-9539196-0-4


New York, 1956: subtly interconnected through characters from the same family, these stories build a picture of particular worlds within New York of the Fifties.

Three of these stories were broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 24 July 2002 under the collective title I Decided to Kill My Brother-in-law After Dinner. Reviewing the play for the BBC online website, John O'Byrne said: " ...what a great comedy writer is Margaret Wilkinson."

I Decided ... was The Radio Times Choice, and Pick of the Day in several broadsheets.

"In this assured debut radio play by Margaret Wilkinson, the cast, aided by some finely observed, often very funny, dialogue, get you right into their claustrophobic world from the start."

The Daily Mail Weekend Radio Choice

"Margaret Wilkinson's witty debut evokes beautifully summer in 1950's Brooklyn."

The Sunday Telegraph, Radio Choice

"A regular contributor to Mslexia, (she writes The Blank Page), Margaret Wilkinson's first collection of short stories, intense and noirish, will not disappoint."


What Margaret Did Next

Margaret Wilkinson

"1956 was like a calling card, a cv. It looked beautiful and was just the right size. I gave it to people. One of the people I gave it to was a producer who thought the stories would be great on radio. That was the start of something wonderful for me. Rather than present them as stories, I agreed to try and write script. Friends often told me I should write script. I'd always considered myself a short story writer. But I liked voice. And character. Other writers I knew said they saw the things they wrote about. I always heard the things I wrote about spoken aloud in my head. I had nagging voices and hot voices, voices re-possessing cars and falling in love, girlie voices, voices with pompadours, crew cuts...

"There wasn't much of a market for short stories. Increasingly frustrated, I struggled with novels. So I had a go. My first radio play, I Decided to Kill My Brother-in-law After Dinner, based on three stories in 1956 was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. It worked. I liked doing it. No, I loved doing it. I got a second radio commission. I wrote a film script. A television script. I started writing for the stage. I felt re-born."

Margaret Wilkinson lectures on the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Northumbria. She writes a regular column, The Blank Page, for the magazine Mslexia. Her radio play, I Married a Marxist, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday November 1 2003, with Maureen Lipman in the starring role.