Arts, Entertainment & Media

The Shooting of Joan Vollmer: Radio Feature

William Tell game

Burroughs was apparently attempting to shoot a glass off his wife’s head. Image: Seb Westbrook-Grubb

Joan Vollmer died in 1951 when her husband – the famous writer William Burroughs – shot her with a pistol, apparently while attempting to shoot a glass off her head.

In this radio poem, Burroughs and other witnesses tell an ever-changing story of what happened on that night. But the ghost of Joan also has a voice, and now she gets the chance to tell her version of events too.

Written and produced by Jade Wimbledon (@jadewimbledon)


Joan Vollmer: Candice Palladino
William Burroughs: Boima Blake
Eddie Woods, Lewis Marker and Lawyer: Michael Becker
Journalist and Coroner: Hannah Green
Judge: Sebastian Westbrook-Grubb


Fela Kuti: ‘Ginger Baker and Tony Allen Drum Solo (Live at the Berlin Jazz Festival)’
Paul Clarvis: ‘Jazz swing 5’
Oscar Peterson: ‘Night and Day’
Polar Bear: ‘Lost in Death, Pt. 1’

Music licensed under PRS Limited Online Licence


Pistol shot by Ethob (via FreeSFX
Silbato knife sharpener whistle by Dobroide (via under creative commons licence:
Party background by snakebarney (via

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