James Joyce Ulysses Bloomsday marked by Radio 4

Niamh Cusack, Henry Goodman and Andrew Scott in Ulysses
Image caption The dramatisation of Ulysses, one of the most lauded novels in the western literary canon, spans five and a half hours

A dramatisation of James Joyce's Ulysses is being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 to mark this year's Bloomsday, the day when the book's events take place.

Listeners can hear it in seven parts on Saturday, following the story of Leopold Bloom's journey through Dublin.

The five and a half hour dramatisation, by Robin Brooks, features Henry Goodman as Leopold Bloom.

On "Bloomsday" fans celebrate the landmark modernist novel and all things Joycean on 16 June.

Many of the locations mentioned in the book still stand in Dublin, the writer's home city.

For many enthusiasts, the day is mostly about getting dressed up and going on their own odyssey around the Irish capital, retracing the footsteps of the book's main characters Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedalus and enjoying a pint or two of Dublin's most popular stout.

Named after lead character Leopold Bloom, the day usually includes walking tours, street theatre, period dress, music and traditional Joycean food.

But there are also many organised events, such as musical performances, street theatre, cycle rides, tours, museum exhibitions.

The BBC dramatisation features Andrew Scott as Stephen Dedalus, Niamh Cusack as Molly Bloom and Stephen Rea as the Narrator.

Some 25 actors have taken part and the music includes new recordings of songs by Irish soprano Daire Halpin.

Ulysses is regarded in some literary circles as the greatest modernist novel of the 20th century.

Producer Jeremy Mortimer said the Radio 4 dramatisation was "a delight" and had given him a new insight into the book.

"I had read the book but when I came back to it I realised that I had skimmed over the surface of it and I had no idea of the depth of this book," he said.

Mark Lawson is broadcasting live from various Joycean landmarks in Dublin to set the book in its local and historical context.

The scheduling of the drama throughout the day roughly corresponds with the order of events in the book.

Each part of the dramatisation will be made available as a free download for two weeks from the time of broadcast.

Irish radio station RTE broadcast every word of Joyce's novel in 1982 over a period of 29 and a half hours.

More on this story

Around the BBC