Troubador Darling Alicia

Steve Merrett and Alicia Kaner talk to Emma Britton at BBC Somerset

Released: 05/10/2009

ISBN: 9781848761643

Format: Paperback

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Darling Alicia

The Love Letters of Alicia Kaner and Stephen Merrett


This is an edited collection of love letters written in 1966-67 between Stephen Merrett, a young British academic based in Delhi and Alicia Kaner, an Argentinian student. The couple begin corresponding as friends and the reader is swept along as they flirt, fight and fall in love on the page. The tension of whether their romance will succeed is maintained until the final pages and their letters are a delight to read; witty and perceptive about politics, culture and family life in India, Argentina and Britain.

Book News

Darling Alicia was originally adapted as an Afternoon Play for BBC Radio Four. The play was broadcast twice, in July 2006 and October 2007 and many listeners wrote in to express their admiration.

“A wonderful love story – real life is always more interesting than fiction.”

“What I loved in the play was the natural backdrop of history and politics, your decision making based on reason and intellect and your humour and wooing in your letters.”

“The joy of anticipation, waiting for letters and poring over every word to interpret them. So very different today with instant email.”

Popular Patchwork Magazine
(December 2009)

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Alicia Kaner and Stephen Merrett


Stephen Merrett was born in the East End of London in 1939 and attended Leyton County High School where his best friend was Derek Jacobi. He was the first member of his family to go to university, studying economics at Bristol and Oxford. In 1964 he accepted a research post in the economics of education in Buenos Aires and since that time has worked as a research economist in many parts of the world.

Alicia Kaner was born into a close-knit, extended Jewish family in Argentina. She grew up in a wealthy middle-class area of Buenos Aires, looked after by nannies, maids and cooks. She went to school when Evita and Juan Peron were in power and met the dictator in person. Alicia studied Sociology at university but her real loves were photography and textiles, subjects which she pursued in later life.

Vernee Samuel was born in London and studied law at Oxford University and UCL. She joined the BBC in 1994, specialising in making radio documentaries and drama. In 2006, she adapted and co-produced Darling Alicia, a Radio 4 Afternoon Play which dramatised the love letters of Stephen Merrett and Alicia Kaner. She is now a freelance editor and producer.

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