May 13, 2022
One People is a comic novel but Cousins Cove is a real village, and the stories Guy Kennaway tells were gathered during his first ten years as an idle British expat. We spoke about Jamaican culture, the legacy of slavery, and why he’s a passionate advocate for Patwa, the national language.
March 12, 2022
Turn-of-the-century Vienna was a cultural crucible where the air seethed with repressed desire. No artist captured this more vividly than Egon Schiele. Sophie Haydock imagines herself into his world in her debut novel The Flames.
February 20, 2022
W.G. Sebald has been described as “a writer of almost unclassifiable originality”. He wrote about the plight of emigrants, and in particular, emigrants from the Holocaust. His obsessions included survivor’s guilt, the nature of decline and fall, loss and decay, and the downward plunge of nature and history. I discussed Sebald's life and work with his biographer Carole Angier.
January 29, 2022
David Eimer is the author of the critically acclaimed The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China. We spoke about that country's tumultuous border regions, and how different ethnic minorities have tried to keep their culture alive beneath the Han yoke.
December 9, 2021
Dervla Murphy has been described as a ‘travel legend’ and ‘the first lady of Irish cycling’. For five decades she’s travelled the world in a series of truly remarkable journeys, mostly alone and mostly on foot. I had the great fortune to speak with her a week after her 90th birthday. We talked about the loss of traditional cultures, travel in the pre-internet age, and the general state of the world.
October 1, 2021
Nigel Barley wrote one of the funniest travel books I've ever read, and it nearly got him kicked out of his academic discipline. We spoke about the grim reality of fieldwork, his odd attraction for monkeys, and why fiction tells us more than anthropology about what it means to be human.
August 18, 2021
Jeremy Seal is the author of six books, including A Fez of the Heart. We spoke about the infinite courtesies of Turkish hospitality, cultural divides, and the legacy of the 1960 military coup.
August 5, 2021
John Gimlette is the author of five books, including The Gardens of Mars. We spoke about Madagascar, ‘walking the dead’, and writing about places on the margin of the map.
July 21, 2021
Sara Wheeler is the author of 10 books, including Mud and Stars. We spoke about her travels in Russia, living as writer-in-residence on an Antarctic research base, and the reciprocal relationship between story and memory.
July 2, 2021
Jerry Kobalenko is one of Canada’s most experienced High Arctic travelers, and the author of The Horizontal Everest and Arctic Eden. We spoke about the lure of Ellesmere, and searching for the traces of historic travelers.