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Annie Nightingale: Books that changed my life

Annie Nightingale: Books that changed my life

Annie Nightingale, MBE, was Radio 1’s first female DJ and is celebrating five decades in broadcasting. She’s still championing new music and has recently curated an album for the Ministry of Sound’s “Masterpiece” series.

The Princess and the Goblin

By George MacDonald

The Princess and the Goblin

This classic was my mother’s favourite. She read it to me when I was about five and it became my first favourite book.

I was enchanted by the stark, scary, black-and-white illustrations and I identified with the gutsy princess—an only child like me. It’s about bravery and loyalty, and it’s full of symbolism.

When I was waiting to film an eclipse on a mountain in Chile, it took me back to Princess Irene waiting for her great-great-grandmother to appear in the moonlight.


You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again

By Julia Phillips

You'll never eat lunch in this town again

This is the hair-raising, hilarious autobiography by Julia Phillips, the first female producer to win an Oscar, for The Sting in 1974.

She had a very wild life, hanging out with Hollywood movie stars. I’ve read it so many times, the pages have almost fallen out. It shows how hard it is for a woman to be taken seriously in an all-male industry, and that chimed with me.

I’d have loved to meet her, but she died young. (Maybe we wouldn’t have got on; she could be very scathing.) I’m hoping to make a documentary about her with Radio 4.


Lean In

By Sheryl Sandberg

Lean in Sheryl Sandberg

This is another book by an amazing woman who broke through the glass ceiling.

The author is chief operating officer at Facebook, and I empathised with her descriptions of her failures and struggles to get to the top in a very aggressive, male world.

Her message is to believe in yourself and give it your all.