The Millstone by Margaret Drabble

Novelist Linda Grant and critic and editor Lucy Scholes return to Backlisted for a discussion of Margaret Drabble’s third novel The Millstone, a book which has remained in print ever since it was first published in 1965, when Drabble was 26 years old; it was adapted for the screen by the author herself in 1969 as A Touch of Love, starring Sandy Dennis, Eleanor Bron and, making his film debut, Sir Ian McKellen. This story of a shy but determined young woman’s decision to keep her baby and raise the child alone remains as relevant as ever. But The Millstone also speaks volumes of the era in which it was written, during which Margaret Drabble was a rising star in the literary firmament; and Andy, John, Linda and Lucy were delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate both novel and author, who is now 84.

* To purchase any of the books mentioned in this episode please visit our bookshop at where all profits help to sustain this podcast and UK independent bookshops.

* For information about everything mentioned in this episode visit

*If you’d like to support the show, listen without adverts, receive the show early and with extra bonus fortnightly episodes, become a Patreon at

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Subscribe to Our Newsletter