85. Angus Wilson - Hemlock and After

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Joining Andy and John on this episode of Backlisted is Dickon Edwards, a London-based writer, dandy, occasional DJ, and erstwhile musician. In the 1990s and 2000s he toured and released albums with the bands Orlando and Fosca. He has kept an online diary, The Diary at the Centre of the Earth, since 1997: in 2017 it was recognised as the longest running of its kind by the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King’s College London. He is currently balancing freelance arts journalism with researching for a PhD at Birkbeck, University of London. His PhD topic is 'Ronald Firbank and the Legacy of Camp Modernism' The book that Dickon is here to talk about Hemlock and After  the first novel by Angus Wilson, first published by Secker & Warburg in 1952. The discussion also considers the short but beautiful Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Léger and a Jane Austen novel (Northanger Abbey) that Andy can finally get on with.

Books mentioned:

Angus Wilson - Hemlock and After; The Wrong Set; Anglo-Saxon Attitudes; Such Darling Dodos; Late Call; No Laughing Matter
Nathalie Léger - Suite for Barbara Loden
Jane Austen - Northanger Abbey
Nicholas Mosley - Hopeful Monsters
Susan Sontag - Notes on Camp

Other links:

The Diary at the Centre of the Earth
Les Fugitives
Wanda by Barbara Loden
Angus Wilson, Meridian, BBC World Service interview, 1983
Angus Wilson: A Celebration, Royal Society of Literature (Nov, 2013)
An interview with Angus Wilson (The Iowa Review 1972)
Angus Wilson interviewed inThe Paris Review, 1957
Gay is the Word bookshop

84. Jilly Cooper - Imogen

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Joining Andy and John in this episode are Daisy Buchanan, writer, feminist, host of the brilliant You’re Booked podcast & regular contributor across TV and radio, from Woman's Hour BBC Breakfast to the GuardianTelegraphGrazia, and The Pool. Daisy’s latest book is How to Be a Grown Up is soon to be followed by The Sisterhood: A Love Letter to the Women Who Have Shaped Me, published by Headline in March. She is joined by Dr. Ian Patterson, a poet and retired academic who taught English for 20 years at Queens’ College, Cambridge. Ian’s latest poetry collection, Bound to Be, was published by Equipage in 2017. His poem ‘The Plenty of Nothing’ (an elegy for his late wife, the writer Jenny Diski) was the the winner of the 2017 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. The main book under discussion is is Imogen  by Jilly Cooper, first published by Arlington Books in 1978, the fifth in her now legendary series of 7 ‘romances’ published between 1975 and 1981.  Also in this episode, Andy overcomes his horror of football to praise J.L. Carr’s 1975 classic How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F.A. Cup while John toasts the memory of the great children’s author and illustrator, John Burningham.

Books mentioned:

Jilly Cooper - Imogen; Harriet: Octavia; Prudence; Rivals; Riders; The Common Years; Turn Right at the Spotted Dog (journalism)
Daisy Buchanan - How to Be a Grown Up; The Sisterhood: A Love Letter to the Women Who Have Shaped Me
Ian Patterson - Bound to Be
J.L. Carr - How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F.A. Cup
John Burningham - John Burningham; Champagne; Courtney; Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers; Oi! Get Off Our Train; John Norman Patrick MacHennessy: The Boy Who Was Always Late
John Williams - Stoner
Laurence Sterne - Tristram Shandy
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
Jane Austen - Mansfield Park
D.H. Lawrence - Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Other links:

You’re Booked podcast
Ian Patterson on Jilly Cooper in London Review of Books (18 May, 2017)
Jilly Cooper compared to Dickens & Trollope - Daily Telegraph (12 May 2017)
Jilly Cooper on The Late, Late Show (2016)
Jilly Cooper on Desert Island Discs (2016)
Andy Miller & Andrew Sean Greer in conversation - tickets
Sentimental Garbage podcast

83. D.H. Lawrence - The Rainbow

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Joining John & Andy for this episode are two returning guests: Rachael Kerr, publisher and editor, former Publicity Director of Jonathan Cape, Marketing Director of Picador and Harvill and now editor at large for Unbound, who joined us for the Charles Sprawson episode; and Catherine Taylor, writer and critic, who contributes regularly to the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Economist, the TLS, the New Statesmen & the Irish Times, and is a judge for the 2019 Republic of Consciouness Prize and commercial director for the brilliant Brixton Review of Books. Catherine last joined us to talk eloquently about Vladimir Nabokov’s The Gift. But the book they are here to talk about today is The Rainbow  by D.H. Lawrence, first published by Methuen in 1915, which with its sequel Women in Love, is widely to be considered to be Lawrence’s crowning achievement as a writer. As you would expect, the debate is vigorous: Lawrence is a writer who continues to divide readers and the four participants cover the ground from qualified enthusiasm to sympathetic scepticism.

On New Year’s Day we asked our Twitter followers for any outstanding ‘old’ books they had read in 2018 and would like to recommend. We were overwhelmed by the response: 137 titles were recommended - many of which we had never heard of before - so we’ve decided to publish the full list (title, author and the Twitter handle of the person who recommended it) as useful reference. It’s pasted directly below the Soundcloud link.

Books mentioned:

Henry Green - Doting
Sarah Perry - Melmoth
John Higgs - Watling Street
Eric Karpeles - Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to ‘In Search of Lost Time’
Michael Diamond & Adam Horowitz - Beastie Boys Book
Robert Burton - The Anatomy of Melancholy
D.H. Lawrence - The Rainbow; Women in Love; Lady Chatterley’s Lover; Studies in Classic American Literature; The Complete Poems
Geoff Dyer - Out of Sheer Rage
Helen Dunmore - Zennor in Darkness
F.R. Leavis - D.H. Lawrence, Novelist
Raymond Williams - The English Novel from Dickens to Lawrence
Kate Millett - Sexual Politics
John Carey - The Intellectuals & the Masses
Philip Larkin - Selected Letters 1940-1985

Other links:

Jack Nicholson’s toast to D.H. Lawrence in Easy Rider
Anthony Burgess on The South Bank Show (1985)
Aldous Huxley on his friendship with Lawrence in 196

‘Old’ Books Recommended by Backlisted’s Twitter Followers in 2018:

Gone to Earth- Mary Webb @davidjamesevans
National Velvet- Enid Bagnold @camdenksb
Family Lexicon- Natalia Ginzburg @tiziana_z
A Jest of God- Margaret Laurence @smithben
The Queen of the Tambourine- Jane Gardam @smithben @blogmywiki
Slipstream: A Memoir- Elizabeth Jane Howard @nerichardson
Palladian- Elizabeth Taylor @LizBasile6
That They May Face the Rising Sun- John McGahern @clarehuggett
Narrow Boat– L.T.C. Rolt @HisSingingViola
Angel- Elizabeth Taylor @cindyfried
A Portrait of a Lady- Henry James @cindyfried
My Àntonia- Willa Cather @cindyfried
Bid Me to Live- H.D. @Lokster71
They Were Sisters- Dorothy Whipple @marytmulligan1 @A_CherryWriter
True Grit- Charles Portis @Vitrarius
The House of Broken Angels- Luís Alberto Urrea @trottthoughts
Cassandra at the Wedding- Dorothy Baker @stuck_inabook
Stoner- John Edward Williams @MarkVent
The Wall- Marlen Haushofer (tr. Shaun Whiteside) @ClaireFuller2
Anna Kavan @ANMudd
The Spare Room- Helen Garner @lizinwales
Kingdoms of Elfin- Sylvia Townsend Warner @desperatereader
Mythago Wood- Robert Holdstock @GreenCorrie
Excellent Women- Barbara Pym @mllesrot
Patricia Brent, Spinster- Herbert Jenkins @stuck_inabook
Rogue Male- Geoffrey Household @mrstrfusis
The End of the Affair- Graham Greene  @mrstrfusis
The Far Pavilions- M.M.Kaye  @mrstrfusis
Middlemarch- George Eliot  @mrstrfusis
Zuleika Dobson- Max Beerbohm  @mrstrfusis
Train Dreams- Denis Johnson @WillGore
So the Wind Won't Blow it All Away– Richard Brautigan @WillGore
The Dragon Slayer- Rosemary Sutcliff @SimonGuy64
Precious Bane- Mary Webb @JoBrowningWroe
Stig of the Dump- Clive King @piedwarbler1
A Quartet in Autumn- Barbara Pym @Steviebab @Jacquiek111
A Burnt-Out Case- Graham Greene @Steviebab
The Little Madeleine- Mrs Robert Henry @FoodwiseWomen
The Loved One- Evelyn Waugh @Schoolbookclubs
The Ice Palace- Tarjei Vesaas (tr. Elizabeth Rokkan) @squarecorners
Ice- Anna Kavan @FarSouthProject
School For Love- Olivia Manning @janefd
Theatre - W. Somerset Maugham @MsPGraceMiles
The L-Shaped Room- Lynne Reid Banks @urban_formation
Just William- Richmal Crompton @RyeLimit
William Trevor @BrabazonColin
Thunder and Lightnings- Jan Mark @BrabazonColin
South Riding- Winifred Holtby @moonlight_reads
Living Alone- Stella Benson @lgc27
A Short History of a Small Place- T. R. Pearson @andrewlake
The Devil's Candy- Julie Salamon @will_leitch
The Long Ships- Frans G. Bengtsson @WolfandRhys
In a Summer Season- Elizabeth Taylor @lgc27
Sleepless Nights- Elizabeth Hardwick @MizJoanna
The Boarding-House- William Trevor @JacquiWine
The Grass- Claude Simon @DentataHeritage
L'Assommoir- Emile Zola @Helannsta
Cosmicomics- Italo Calvino @For_the_Wynn
The Bastable Novels- E. Nesbit @oddbohemian
The Journal of a Disappointed Man- W.N.P. Barbellion @Matthew__Adams
Persuasion- Jane Austen @JanetEmson
The Man with the Golden Arm- Nelson Algren @ian_peddie
The Diary of a Provincial Lady- E.M. Delafield @LevParikian
The Bridge of Beyond- Simone Schwarz-Bart @JoelPinckney
Of Human Bondage- W.Someset Maugham @TheHumanKakapo
Act One- Moss Hart @tottaylor1
Act Two- Kitty Carlisle Hart @tottaylor1
I Capture the Castle- Dodie Smith @RobinMuir1
Mrs Eckdorf in O’Neill’s Hotel- William Trevor @mumthrax
Wise Blood- Flannery O'Connor @thegiddygambler
Eleven Kinds of Loneliness- Richard Yates @paulslr70
Reunion- Fred Uhlman  @BenMyers1
Hard Rain Falling- Don Carpenter @BenMyers1
Swords and Crowns and Rings- Ruth Park @JudyAuthor
The Levant Trilogy- Olivia Manning @Whyjay99
Lobsters on the Agenda- Naomi Mitchison @citizenveurm
Memento Mori- Muriel Spark @BeerRover
Consider The Lilies- Iain Crichton-Smith @SteveHimmer
The Humbler Creation- Pamela Hansford Johnson @CSRaphael1
A Handful of Dust- Evelyn Waugh @LondonLee62
The Kon-Tiki Expedition- Thor Heyerdahl @JillHopper1
Naples 44- Norman Lewis @ashley1thomas
Clinging to the Wreckage- John Mortimer @rcscribbler
The Hours Before Dawn- Celia Fremlin @darrenmjones
Fair Stood the Wind for France- H.E. Bates @WoodgatePaul
A Place of Greater Safety- Hilary Mantel @barbflipflop29
The War Between the Tates- Alison Lurie @nphegarty
A Confederacy of Dunces- John Kennedy Toole @cornishop
Jamaica Inn- Daphne Du Maurier @SimonOHagan
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie- Muriel Spark @boucher_clare
The Leopard - Lampedusa @RachelGrunert
My Cousin Rachel-Daphne de Maurier @ginafordthomas
What’s Not Yours is Not Yours- Helen Oyeyemi @catfarmUK
The Fashion in Shrouds- Margery Allingham @KateRLTB
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day- Winifred Watson @StephClayton5
The Eyes of the Overworld - Jack Vance @ReneKita
Titus GroanGormenghast- Mervyn Peake @colyerh
The Vet’s Daughter- Barbara Comyns   @liz_lizanderson
A Certain Smile- Françoise Sagan @MaxCairnduff
A Time of Gifts- Patrick Leigh Fermor @MrsColvey
Capital - Maureen Duffy @kerstanmac
Good Behaviour- Molly Keane @BrigidRodgers
The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald @lucindapreston
The Private Sector- Joseph Hone @lordcroquer
Thérèse Raquin- Emile Zola @AlwaysLearnWeb
Wives and Daughters- Elizabeth Gaskell @Karen_BooksChoc
Lud-In-The-Mist- Hope Mirrlees @lucyfishwife
Birdsong- Sebastian Faulks @KeeveMusic
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley @MargoJMilne
Collected Short Stories (Vol. 1)– W. Somerset Maugham @MatLee
The Black Prince- Iris Murdoch @Tiny_Camels
1982, Janine- Alasdair Gray @audlaza69
A Brief History Of Seven Killings- Marlon James @audlaza69
The Invention of Morel -Adolfo Casares @audlaza69
A Legacy of Spies- John le Carré @andyinfinity
Mr Norris Changes Trains- Christopher Isherwood @tann1812
Gone With the Wind- Margaret Mitchell @ThamesJackie
We Who Are About To...- Joanna Russ @annawillis101
The Door- Magda Szabó (tr.Len Rox) @Stirlingwriter
Plainsong- Kent Haruf @JulieRandles4
The Dark Is Rising- Susan Cooper  @JulieRandles4
The Go-Between- L.P. Hartley @RachelMalik99
The Quest for Corvo - A.J.A. Symons @dancall
The Bloody Chamber- Angela Carter @Gargarin
Death and the Penguin- Andrey Kurkov ( tr. George Bird) @RobinMuir1
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall- Anne Bronte @v_dodd
Sunlight on a Broken Column- Attia Hosain @Sharonmx5
The Snows of Yesteryear- Gregor von Rezzori @Sarah_Woolford
Gantenbein- Max Frisch @Navifax
Mrs Bridge- Evan S. Connell @jamesdoeser
Gaudy Night- Dorothy L. Sayers @Sarah_Woolford
The Bottle Factory Outing- Beryl Bainbridge @bookworm_north
Border Districts- Gerald Murnane @irnewton
The Priory- Dorothy Whipple @A_CherryWriter
The Haunting of Hill House- Shirley Jackson @aoifemrtn
Told by an Idiot- Rose Macaulay @ManiPillai1886
Return to Yesterday- Ford Madox Ford @blogmywik

82. Anthony Powell - Books Do Furnish a Room

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Joining John and Andy for this live Christmas special recorded at the London Review Bookshop are Hilary Spurling, one of this country’s most respected biographers and literary editors, whose books have won multiple awards including the 2005 Whitbread Book of the Year for Matisse the Master, the second volume of her life of the artist. She is also the official biographer of the novelist Anthony Powell, and her Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time was published to universal acclaim last year. Hilary is also the author of Invitation to the Dance, a handbook for readers of the 12-volume novel sequence that the author himself described as a ‘master-key’. She is joined by Philip Hensher, the novelist and critic. Philip’s novel The Northern Clemency was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 and Scenes from Early Life won the Ondaatje Prize in 2013. Earlier this year Penguin released The Penguin Book of the Contemporary Book of the British Short Story edited by Philip and 4th Estate released his latest novel, The Friendly Ones, described by The Times as ‘the book you should give someone who thinks they don’t like novels.’ Hilary and Philip are here to talk to about Books Do Furnish a Room, the tenth novel in Anthony Powell’s magnificent roman fleuve A Dance to the Music of Time, this volume first published by Heinemann in 1971.

Books mentioned:

Hilary Spurling - Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time; An Invitation to the Dance: A Handbook to A Dance to the Music of Time; Matisse the Master; The Girl From the Fiction Department: A Portrait of Sonia Orwell
Philip Hensher - The Northern Clemency; Scenes from Early Life; The Penguin Book of the Contemporary Book of the British Short Story; The Friendly Ones.
Anthony Powell - Books Do Furnish A Room; A Dance to the Music of Time: Volume 4
Marcel Proust - In Search of Lost Time


Other links:

Anthony Powell on Desert Island Discs
Powell on The Anatomy of Melacholy discussed in the New Yorker
John Peel on Desert Island Discs
Anthony Powell’s house in The World of Interiors
The Anthony Powell Society on Twitter

 

81. Harpo Marx - Harpo Speaks!

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For this Backlisted, Andy and John are joined by Dan Schreiber, writer, producer, comedian, QI elf, co-creator of the award-winning podcast, No Such Thing as A Fish and co-author of The Book of the Year 2018. The book Dan has chosen is Harpo Speaks! by Harpo Marx & Rowland Barber, first published in 1962. This episode also contains the team’s Christmas book recommendations.

Books mentioned:

Harpo Marx & Rowland Barber - Harpo Speaks!
Anthony Powell - A Dance to the Music of Time - Fourth Movement (Audiobook)
Chris Heath - Pet Shop Boys, Literally; Pet Shop Boys versus America
Sally Rooney - Normal People
Anna Burns - Milkman
Neil Tennant - One Hundred Lyrics and One Poem
Penelope Fitzgerald - Human Voices; The Beginning of Spring
Alice Jolly - Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile
Dans Schreiber et al - The Book of the Year 2018
Rocky Graziano & Rowland Barber - Somebody Up There Likes Me
Rowland Barber - The Night they Raided Minsky’s
Groucho Marx - Groucho & Me
Syd Little - Little Goes a Long Way
Dave Hill - So Here It Is
Bob Monkhouse - Crying With Laughter
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up
Max Wall - The Fool on the Hill
Brian Blessed - Absolute Pandemonium

Other links:

The Wallace Collection
No Such Thing as a Fish Podcast
The Museum of Curiosity
Harpo playing ‘I Got Rhythm’
Harpo speaking
Harpo doing a ‘Gookie’
Harpo meets Groucho on You Bet Your Life
The Marx Brothers - Duck Soup (DVD)
The Marx Brothers Collection (DVD)

80. Elizabeth Jenkins - The Tortoise and the Hare

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Joining Andy and John in this episode is Carmen Callil, the legendary publisher and writer, who is best know for founding the Virago Press in 1972. Once described by the Guardian as ‘part-Lebanese, part-Irish and wholly Australian’, Carmen settled in London in 1964 advertising herself in The Times as ‘Australian, B.A. wants job in book publishing’. After changing a generation’s taste through her publishing at Virago, and in particular the Virago Modern Classics, which continues to bring back into print hundreds of neglected women writers, Carmen went on to run Chatto & Windus and became a global Editor-at-Large for Random House. In 2006 she published Bad Faith: A History of Family & Fatherland, which Hilary Spurling called ‘a work of phenomenally thorough, generous and humane scholarship’. Appointed DBE in 2017, she was also awarded the Benson Medal in the same year, awarded to mark ‘meritorious works in poetry, fiction, history and belles-lettres’. The book under discussion is one of her favourite novels, The Tortoise & the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins, first published by Gollancz in 1954 and triumphantly reissued by Virago Modern Classics in 1983.

Also in this episode we explore the new audio version of one our favourite writer’s best novels - The Unfortunates by B.S. Johnson, famously published in a box containing 27 randomly ordered sections in 1969.

And last but very much not least: this episode also features our very first canine guest - Effie, Carmen’s extremely well-behaved border terrier.

Books mentioned:

B.S. Johnson - The Unfortunates; Christy Malry’s Own Double Entry
Jonathan Coe - Like a Fiery Elephant: The Story of B.S. Johnson
Elizabeth Jenkins - The Tortoise & the Hare; The View from Downshire Hill; Harriet; Doctor Gully; Jane Austen
Carmen Callil - Bad Faith: A History of Family & Fatherland
Antonia White - A Frost in May
May Sinclair - The Life & Death of Harriet Frean
Storm Jameson - Journey from the North
Rosamond Lehmann - The Weather in the Streets
Elizabeth Taylor - Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont
Anita Brookner - A Start in Life

Other links:

The Second Shelf bookshop
Foyles Bookshop- South Bank Centre
The Unfortunates on Alexa
Elizabeth Jenkins - Obituary in the Daily Telegraph ( Sep 2010)

79. Tove Jansson - Moominvalley in November

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In this episode of Backlisted, John and Andy are joined by Natania Jansz, co-publisher of Sort Of Books, one of the UK’s best independent imprints, most famous for publishing Chris Stewart (author of the bestselling travel series that began with Driving Over Lemons) but more recently closely associated with the English re-publication of Tove Jansson’s oeuvre; and Frank Cottrell Boyce, the award-winning writer and screenwriter whose film credits include Welcome to SarajevoHilary and Jackie and 24 Hour Party PeopleMillions, his debut children's novel, won the 2004 Carnegie Medal and was shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. Recent books include The Unforgotten Coat (2011), The Astounding Broccoli Boy (2015) and Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth (2016), which was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. In this episode Andy attempts to summarise Proust in 3 minutes and John is moved by Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave, written in 1927 and recently reissued by HQ Books.

Books mentioned:

Marcel Proust - In Search of Lost Time: Time Regained
Charles M. Schulz - My Life with Charlie Brown
Zora Neale Hurston - Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave
Chris Stewart - Driving Over Lemons
Frank Cottrell Boyce - Millions; Cosmic; The Unforgotten Coat; The Astounding Broccoli Boy; Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth
Tove Jansson - Moominvalley in November; Finn Family Moomintroll; Moominland Midwinter; Moominpappa at Sea; Comet in Moominland; Sort Of Books Moomin Collectors’ Editions; The Summer Book; Sculptor’s Daughter: A Childhood Memoir; The True Deciever; Art in Nature &Other Stories
Boel Westin - Tove Jansson: Life Art, Words - The Authorised Biography

Other links:

Special Moomins theme
Good Grief, Charlie Brown Exhibition
Backlisted Live at the LRB on Anthony Powell
Sort Of Books
Tove Jansson on her island (1968 Documentary)
Autumn Song

78. Edith Wharton - Ghosts

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In this special Hallowe’en episode Andy & John are joined by Lissa Evans, writer, producer, director and author of three children’s book and five novels, including most recently, Old Baggage, a book which Andy recently praised here. This is Lissa’s third Backlisted appearance - she was on the very first episode discussing J.L. Carr’s A Month in the Country and later on the episode featuring Patrick Hamilton’s The Slaves of Solitude. She is joined by Andrew Male, senior associate editor of Mojo magazine who writes about film, radio and TV for Sight and Sound and Sunday Times ‘Culture’. If Backlisted had a resident ghost it would surely be Andrew – this is his fourth time of haunting: as well as the episode on Raymond Chandler’s The High Window, he featured on both previous Hallowe’en editions discussing Robert Aickman and Shirley Jackson. The book under discussion in this episode is Edith Wharton’s Ghosts, a collection she selected and introduced herself and which was published posthumously in 1934. Before that, Andy is puzzled and amused by Daphne Du Maurier’s last and weirdly prophetic ‘Brexit’ novel Rule Britannia and John enjoys Alan Garner’s recently published memoir, Where Shall We Run To? (published by Fourth Estate).

Books mentioned:

Daphne Du Maurier - Rule Britannia; I’ll Never Be Young Again
Alan Garner – Where Shall We Run To?The Stone Book Quartet; The Voice That Thunders
Edith Wharton – Ghost Stories (Wordsworth)Ghost Stories (Virago); The Stories of Edith Wharton (selected and introduced by Anita Brookner); The Age of Innocence (introduced by Penelope Lively); The Custom of the CountryThe House of Mirth; Ethan FromeA Backward Glance (memoir)
Richard Dalby (ed) – The Virago Book of Ghost Stories
Sarah Perry - Melmoth
William Peter Blatty  - The Exorcist
M.R. James – Ghost Stories (edited by Roger Luckhurst)
Christopher Ricks - Keats & EmbarrasmentT.S. Eliot & Prejudice
J.B. Priestley - An Inspector Calls
 

Other links:

The two endings of Great Expectations
Shades of Darkness TV adaptation of ‘Afterward’
PBS documentary on Edith Wharton & food

 

77. Louis MacNeice - Autumn Journal

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In this episode of Backlisted, Andy and John are joined by Samuel West, actor, director and narrator, most recently on our screens as Geoffrey Ponting in the film adaption of Ian MacEwan’s On Chesil Beach and Anthony Eden in the Oscar nominated Darkest Hour; and Sophie Ratcliffe, writer, critic and academic, associate professor of English at Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford and editor of P.G. Wodehouse’s letters, whose new book The Lost Properties of Love is out from HarperCollins in 2019. They are here to talk about Louis MacNeice’s Autumn Journal, a book-length poem in 24 stanzas, first published by Faber & Faber in 1939. This episode also features John being charmed by Katharine Kilalea’s short but brilliant debut novel, OK, Mr Field and Andy re-immersing himself in the inimitable world of writer Francis Plug, in Francis Plug: Writer in Residence by Paul Ewen, published by Galley Beggar Press.

Books mentioned:

Louis MacNeice - Autumn Journal; Collected Poems; The Burning Perch
Andy Miller - The Kinks are The Village Green Preservation Society
Sophie Ratcliffe - The Lost Properties of Love; P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters
Katharine Kilalea - Ok, Mr Field
Paul Ewen - Francis Plug: Writer in Residence; Francis Plug: How to be a Public Author
Jack Hides (ed) - Touched with Fire: An Anthology of Poems
Alan Bennett - Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin
T.S. Eliot - Four Quartets
W.H. Auden - Collected Poems
Karl Ove Knausgaard - Autumn

Other links:

On Chesil Beach DVD
Darkest Hour DVD
Howards End DVD (Merchant/Ivory adaptation)
The Kinks are The Village Green Preservation Society 50th anniversary exhibition at Proud Galleries
Louis MacNeice - ‘Les Sylphides’ on Ampersand blog
Sam West reading extracts from Autumn Journal on BBC Radio in 2002, music by Gary Yershon
Interviews with Nancy Spender and John Betjeman from Archive on 4 - In The Dark Tower: Louis MacNeice at the BBC
MacNeice's production of The Dark Tower from 1946, music by Benjamin Britten
Louis MacNeice’s blurb for Autumn Journal (from Contemporary Poetry Review)
Louis MacNeice - ‘Train to Dublin’ on the Poetic Quotidian blog
Louis MacNeice speaks about, and recites, ‘Bagpipe Music’

76. Elaine Dundy - The Dud Avocado

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In this episode, John & Andy are joined by author and editor Sarra Manning. Sarra has written a constellation of adult and YA novels and has contributed to the Guardian, Elle, Grazia, Stylist and is currently the Literary Editor of Red magazine. Her latest adult novel, The Rise & Fall of Becky Sharp has just been published by HarperCollins. Also in this episode, John discovers a powerful new voice in Anna Burns’ novel Milkman (shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize) and Andy has another go at finishing the surprisingly topical Daniel Deronda by George Eliot.

Books mentioned:

Elaine Dundy – The Dud AvocadoThe Old Man & MeLife ItselfElvis & Gladys
Sarra Manning  - The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp
Marie Condo – The Life Changing Art of Tidying
William Makepeace Thackeray - Vanity Fair
George Eliot – Daniel Deronda
Marcel Proust – In Search of Lost Time
Leo Tolstoy – Anna Karenina
Bruce Chatwin – What Am I Doing Here
Anthony Powell – A Dance to the Music of Time 
Anna Burns – Milkman; No Bones
Sally Rooney - Normal People 
Patricia Lpckwood – Priestdaddy
Truman Capote - Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Anita Loos – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
J
ean Rhys – Good Morning, Midnight
J.D. Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye
Candace Bushnell - Sex in the City
Helen Fielding - Bridget Jones’s Diary
Colin MacInnes - Absolute Beginners
Alexander Baron - The Lowlife
Maureen Duffy - Capital

 Other links

 To the Lighthouse on Twitter
Daily Lit
Interview Elaine Dundy with Molly Barnes (2008)

Thanks to Spoke for sponsoring this episode - Spoke cut their trousers in more sizes and custom finish for a flawless fit – delivered in two working days. For £20 off your first purchase, use the code BACKLISTED20 at checkout (valid to 30 Nov 2018)

75. Adam Thorpe - Ulverton

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This episode was recorded live at the End of the Road Festival at Larmer Tree Gardens in Cranbourne Chase, Dorset. Andy and John are joined by Tom Cox, author of bestselling books on cats, golf, folklore and landscape, including most recently 21st Century Yokel and the forthcoming Help the Witch. The book he’s chosen is Adam Thorpe’s complex and influential historical novel, Ulverton, first published in 1992 by Secker & Warburg . In addition, Andy hails the re-issue of the Ian Hunter’s classic Diary of a Rock’n’Roll Star by Omnibus Press and John falls for the charms of Sally Rooney’s Normal People.

Books mentioned:

Adam Thorpe - Ulverton; Hodd; Missing Fay; On Silbury Hill
Tom Cox - 21st Century Yokel; Help the Witch; Nice Jumper; Bring Me the Head of Sergio Garcia
Andy Miller - Tilting at Windmills
Ian Hunter - Diary of a Rock’n’Roll Star
Sally Rooney – Normal People; Conversations with Friends
Mary Webb - Gone to Earth
Robin Robertson - The Long Take
Richard Ford - A Piece of My Heart
T.S. Eliot - Four Quartets
Keith Richards - Life (audiobook read by Johnny Depp & James Fox)
Robert Tombs - The English & Their History
Ronald Blythe - Akenfield
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
Carlo Ginzburg - The Cheese & the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth Century Miller

Other links:

Queen Elizabeth - ‘Avebury’ (special theme music)
Billy Childish’s website
The Oh Sees’ website
Hiss Golden Messenger’s website
Josh T. Peason’s website
Mott the Hoople - ‘All the Young Dudes’; ‘Saturday Gigs’
BBC2 documentary on Angela Carter
Adam Thorpe’s website
Adam Thorpe on Nature & Panic (includes the poem ‘Recent Summers’)
Mr Fox - ‘Salisbury Plain’; ‘Aunt Lucy Broadbent’
Hilary Mantel’s review of Ulverton in the Independent (1992)
Karl Ove Knausgaard on Ulverton

74. Philip Larkin - A Girl in Winter

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For the third episode of Backlisted recorded at the 2018 Port Eliot Festival, Andy and John are joined by writer Nina Stibbe, author of the bestselling memoir Love, Nina and the novel Paradise Lodge (both published by Penguin) and Simon Garfield, the author of 18 books of non-fiction, including Just My Type, On the Map, and the classic account of a very British sport, The Wrestling. Simon also featured on a previous Backlisted discussing Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman. The book under discussion in this episode is A Girl in Winter by Philip Larkin, first published by Faber in 1947. Make sure you listen to the end where Andy unveils his exclusive remixed version of Larkin's classic poem 'This Be the Verse'...

Books mentioned:

Philip Larkin - A Girl in Winter; Jill; The North ShipCollected Poems; Selected Letters
Nina Stibbe - Love, Nina; Paradise Lodge
Simon Garfield - Just My Type; On the MapThe Wrestling
Andrew Motion - Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life

Other links:

Simon Garfield's website
Litwitchure (tarot) on Instagram
Glow on Netflix
Philip Larkin - 'A Study of Reading Habits'
Jonathan Raban on Larkin in the New Republic (1993) 
Bessie Smith - 'I'm Down in the Dumps' (1933)
The Philip Larkin Quintet
Philip Larkin on Desert Island Discs
Philip Larkin - 'Days'
Philip Larkin - 'This Be The Verse'

 

73. George Orwell - The Lion & the Unicorn

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This episode of Backlisted was recorded at the Port Eliot Festival. Andy and John are joined by writer and critic, Suzi Feay, TV and radio critic for the Financial Times and Billy Bragg, singer, songwriter and activist and author of The Progressive Patriot and Roots, Radicals & Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World. The book they are discussing is The Lion & the Unicorn: Socialism & the English Genius, first published as a pamphlet by Secker & Warburg in 1941. The podcast ends with a spontaneous singing of Blake’s 'Jerusalem' – ‘England’s real national anthem’ - led by Billy Bragg.

Books mentioned

George Orwell - The Lion & the Unicorn; Animal Farm; 1984; Essays; The Road to Wigan Pier
Billy Bragg – The Progressive Patriot; Roots, Radicals & Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World
W. Somerset Maugham – The Moon & Sixpence

Other links

Arena: Contemporaries remembering George Orwell
Billy Bragg's website
Suzi Feay's Book Bag blog
Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair on why women aren’t funny

72. Pierre Bayard - How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read

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This episode of Backlisted was recoded live at the Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall on July 27th, 2018. Andy and John are joined on stage by writer, actor and comedian Ben Moor, author of More Trees to Climb (Granta) and whose latest comedy show ‘Book Talk Book Talk Book’ premeried at the Festival, and writer and journalist Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of  The Last Act of Love and A Manual for Heartache (both published by Picador) and is currently at work on her first novel. The book under discussion is Pierre Bayard’s How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read, first published in France as Comment parler des livres que l'on n'a pas lus? by Editions du Minuit  in 2007, and in the UK by Granta in a translation by Jeffrey Mehlman.

Books mentioned:

Pierre Bayard – How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read; Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?; Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong; How to Talk About Places You’ve Never Been
Pierre Bayard – Enquête sur Hamlet
Ben Moor - More Trees to Climb
Cathy Rentzenbrink - The Last Act of Love; A Manual for Heartache
Herman Melville – Moby Dick
Chuck Jones – Chuck Amuck: The Life & Times of an Animated Cartoonist
Andy Miller – The Year of Reading Dangerously
Nicholson Baker –  U & I
Michel Houellebecq – The Map & the Territory
Italo Calvino – If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller
Roland Barthes – S/Z
John Sutherland – Is Heathcliff a Murderer?
Diane Setterfield  - The Thirteenth Tale
T.S. Eliot - After Strange Gods

Other links:

Ben Moor’s website
Cathy Rentzenbrink’s blog
Pierre Bayard speaking at New York Public Library November 17, 2007
Hilary Mantel Guardian review of How to Talk About You Haven’t Read

Thanks to Spoke for sponsoring this episode - Spoke cut trousers in more sizes and custom finish for a flawless fit – delivered in two working days. For £20 off your first purchase, use the code BACKLISTED20 at checkout (valid to 30 September, 2018).

71. J.R.R. Tolkien - The Return of the King

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In this episode of Backlisted Andy and John are joined by Dan Kieran, author and entrepreneur and co-founder of Unbound. Dan is the author of twelve books, including the timeless classic Crap Towns, and the soon-to-be-published The Surfboard: How Using My Hands Helped Unlock My Mind and we welcome back Dr Una McCormack, a British/Irish writer and academic, who has appeared on two previous Backlisteds talking about Georgette Heyer and Anita Brookner. Una lectures in creative writing at Anglia Ruskin and is co-director of the Anglia Ruskin University Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy but is best known as the author of a bestselling series of tie-in novels for Star Trek and Doctor Who. The book under discussion is The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien, first published as the final part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in 1955, and easily the least obscure book yet discussed on Backlisted. Before the main discussion Andy shares his recent reading haul, including the book he enjoyed most (Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban) and John talks about Olivia Laing’s wonderful debut novel, Crudo.

Books mentioned:

J.R.R Tolkien – The Return of the KingThe Lord of the RingsThe Silmarillion
J.R.R. Tolkien – The Lord of the Rings (BBC Radio 4 adaptation with Ian Holm, Michael Hordern)
J.R.R. Tolkien – The Silmarillion (audiobook read by Martin Shaw)
Dan Kieran & Sam Jordison – Crap Towns Returns
Dan Kieran – The Surfboard
Una McCormack – Doctor Who: The Way through the Woods
Russell Hoban – Riddley Walker
D.H. Lawrence – Sons & Lovers
Nicola Barker – H(a)ppy
Georges Simenon – The Krull House
Derek Taylor – As Time Goes By
Olivia Laing – Crudo; To the River; The Trip to Echo Spring; The Lonely City
Vladimir Nabokov – Pale Fire
Edward Thomas – In Pursuit of Spring
Douglas Adams – A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
John Garth – Tolkien & the Great War
Ronald Hutton – Witches, Druids & King Arthur

Ian Livingstone & Steve Jackson – Games Workshop 1975 – 1985 (Unbound Project Worth Backing)

Other links:

Opening and closing music - Stephen Oliver's soundtrack from the BBC R4 adaptation of The Lord of the Rings
Backlisted survey
Dan's original pitch (awarded a First by Una)
Led Zeppelin – ‘Ramble On’
Tolkien interview clips and the student vox pops, BBC 1968 - Part 1
Tolkien interview clips and the student vox pops BBC 1968 - Part 2
Lynda Snell reviews The Silmarillion on The Archers
Julian Barnes on The Krull House by Georges Simenon (LRB, April 2017)

Thanks to Spoke for sponsoring this episode - Spoke cut trousers in more sizes and custom finish for a flawless fit – delivered in two working days. For £20 off your first purchase, use the code BACKLISTED20 at checkout (valid to 31 August, 2018).

70. ZZ Packer - Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

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In this episode of Backlisted, John and Andy welcome Nikesh Shukla: writer, editor and journalist. Nikesh is the author of three novels, the latest The One Who Wrote Destiny, was recently published by Atlantic Books and his first book for teenagers Run Riot has just been released by Hodder. He also edited the bestselling and game-changing anthology The Good Immigrant, is the editor of the literary journal, The Good Journal and co-founder with Julia Kingsford of The Good Literary Agency, founded to increase opportunities for representation for all writers under-represented in mainstream publishing. The book he’s chosen for discussion is ZZ Packer’s award-winning collection of stories, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, first published in the US in 2003. Before that Andy warmly recommends the new novel by regular Backlisted guest Lissa Evans, Old Baggage, published by Transworld in June and John enjoys the energy and chutzpah of Jade Sharma’s debut novel Problems, just published in the UK by the excellent Dublin-based independent publisher, Tramp Press

Books mentioned:

ZZ Packer – Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
Nikesh Shukla – The One Who Wrote Destiny; Meatspace; Run Riot; The Good Immigrant (ed.)
Lissa Evans – Old Baggage; Crooked Heart
Jade Sharma – Problems
Chip Zdarsky & Adam Kubert - Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 1 - Into The Twilight
Olga Tokarczuk – Flights (trans. Jennifer Croft) Winner of the International Man Booker 2018
Akhil Sharma – Family Life

Darren Coffield - Tales from the Colony: The Lost Bohemia of Bacon, Belcher and Board (Unbound Project Worth Backing)

Other links:

An extract from ZZ Packer’s forthcoming novel, The Thousands
ZZ Packer reading from ‘Brownies’ at Berkeley, 2009
ZZ Packer interview at University of Iowa
ZZ Packer discussing Trump at Shakespeare & Co, Paris

Thanks to Spoke for sponsoring this episode - Spoke cut trousers in more sizes and custom finish for a flawless fit – delivered in two working days. For £20 off your first purchase, use the code BACKLISTED20 at checkout (valid to 31 August, 2018).

69. Rose Macaulay - Told By An Idiot

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In this episode Andy and John are behind the scenes at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival and their guest is the world famous librarian, Nancy Pearl. Nancy was for many years the Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at Seattle Public Library, and her book recommendation radio broadcasts made her famous, first in Seattle and then internationally. Building on this with her bestselling books: Book LustMore Book Lust, and Book Crush, Nancy was named 2011 Librarian of the Year by Library Journal. She is the only living librarian (to date) to have an action figure made in her honour. In 2017, she published her first novel, George & Lizzie. The book Nancy will be discussing is Rose Macaulay's Told By An Idiot, first published in 1923 and reissued by Virago in their Modern Classics series in 1983. In this episode Andy also is very excited by Less, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Andrew Sean Greer and John enthusiastically recommends Girl With Dove: A Life Built By Books by Sally Bayley.

Books mentioned:

Rose Macaulay - Told By An Idiot (1923); The World My Wilderness (1950); The Towers of Trebizond (1956); Personal Pleasures (1935)
Nancy Pearl - Book Lust; More Book Lust; Book Crush; George & Lizzie
Andrew Sean Greer - Less
George Saunders - Lincoln in the Bardo
Jessamyn Ward - Sing, Unburied, Sing
Sally Bayley - Girl With Dove: A Life Built By Books; The Private Life of the Diary
Lucy Mangan - Bookworm
Francis Spufford - The Child that Books Built
Andy Miller - The Year of Reading Dangerously
Nicholson Baker - U & I
Budd Schulberg - The Disenchanted
Cormac McCarthy - All the Pretty Horses
Grahame Greene - The End of the Affair
Ann Boston (ed) - Wave Me Goodbye: Stories of the Second World War
Sarah LeFanu - Rose Macaulay: A Biography
Constance Babington Smith - Rose Macaulay
Philip Roth - Sabbath's Theater
Nick Hornby - About a Boy
Edward St Aubyn - The Patrick Melrose Novels

Unbound Project Worth Backing:

Jonathan Meades - Pedro & Ricky Come Again

Other links:

Nancy Pearl Action Figure
Dangerous Minds blog on the novels of Richard Allen
Tim Wells - Moonstomp
Andrew Sean Greer on Twitter
Paul Auster on reading
Nancy Pearl's Rule of 50 for dropping a bad book

 

68. Angela Carter - The Bloody Chamber & Other Stories

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Andy and John are at the Bath Festival recording a live edition of Backlisted in the neo-classical splendour of the Assembly Rooms. They are joined by novelist and Bath resident Rachel Heath, whose first book, The Finest Type of English Womanhood, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award in 2009 and her second, Part of the Spell, was published by Hutchinson in 2012; by Arifa Akbar, journalist, critic, prize-judge and and now editor-in-chief of the Unbound online magazine, Boundless and by Alex Clark, who is also a journalist, critic and literary taste-maker and one of the artistic directors of the Bath Festival. In a departure from the usual 'what have you been reading' format, there is a preliminary discussion of the influence and legacy of the great American novelist Philip Roth, whose death was announced the previous evening. 

Books mentioned:

Angela Carter - The Bloody Chamber & Other Stories (1979); The Magic Toyshop (1967); Love (1971); Nights at the Circus (1984); Wise Children (1991); The Sadeian Woman & the Ideology of Pornography (1979); Nothing Sacred: Selected Writings (1982)
Philip Roth - Sabbath's Theater (1995); American Pastoral (1997); The Human Stain (2000); The Plot Against America (2004); Portnoy's Complaint (1969); Goodbye, Columbus (1959); I Married a Communist (1998)
Edmund Gordon - The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography
Bruno Bettelheim - The Uses of Enchantment: the Meaning & Importance of Fairy Tales
Marina Warner - From The Beast To The Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
E.L. James - Fifty Shades of Grey
Angela Carter - The Bloody Chamber (audio book read by Richard Armitage & Emilia Fox)
York Notes on The Bloody Chamber

Other links:

Angela Carter on women in art
Angela Carter on her grandmother (2.23 in)
Namara Smith in The Nation (2017) on Angela Carter & Andrea Dworkin
Angela Carter reviews The Official Foodie Handbook in the LRB (1985)
The Company of Wolves movie
Philip Roth's last interview

67. Willa Cather - My Ántonia

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In this episode of Backlisted, Andy and John are joined by the critic and biographer, Hermione Lee to discuss My Ántonia, the pioneering novel by Willa Cather, first  published a hundred years ago in 1918. Hermione Lee was, until last year, President of Wolfson College in Oxford and remains Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Oxford. In 2013 she was made a Dame for her services to literary scholarship. Chief among these services are a series of  acclaimed biographies of some of the most important 20th century women writers: Virginia Woolf (1996), Edith Wharton (2006), Elizabeth Bowen (1981), Penelope Fitzgerald (2013) and the subject of today’s episode, Willa Cather: A Life Saved Up first published by Virago in 1989. This episode also sees Andy revisit an old favourite, The End of the Affair by Grahame Greene and John explores the remarkable story of Knepp Estate in West Sussex, the UK’s largest rewilding project documented in Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm by Isabella Tree.

 

Books mentioned:

Willa Cather - My Ántonia; A Lost Lady (1923); The Professor's House (1925); O Pioneers (1913); The Song of the Lark (1915); My Mortal Enemy (1926); Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927)
Willa Cather - Willa Cather on Writing 
Hermione Lee - Willa Cather: Double Lives / A Life Saved Up (1989); Body Parts: Essays on Life-writingA Very Short Introdcution to Biography
Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye
Grahame Greene – The End of the Affair
Grahame Greene – The End of the Affair audiobook (read by Colin Firth)
D.H. Lawrence – The Rainbow
Laura Ingalls Wilder - The Little House of the Prairie
Louisa May Alcott - Little Women
Henry James  - The Portrait of a Lady
Ivan Turgenev - Fathers and Sons
Leo Tolstoy - The Kreutzer Sonata
Virgil - Georgics
Halldor Laxness – Independent People
William Maxwell - Time Will Darken It
Jon McGregor - Reservoir 13
Miguel de Cervantes – Don Quixote

Roger Philips – Wild Cooking (Unbound Project Worth Backing)

Other links:

Rules restaurant
Derek Jarman's Garden in Dungeness
Henry James's House in Rye
The Rutles – All You Need is Cash (1978)
The Rutles – 'All Things Must Pass'
Grace Dent’s Guardian review of The Fordwich Arms
Hermione Lee’s review of The Selcted Letters of Willa Cather in the New Yorker
Winter Reads: My Antonia by Xan Brooks
Yours, Willa – documntary inspired by Cather's Selected Letters  
My Antonia TV movie (1995)

66. Sebastian Faulks - The Fatal Englishman

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In this episode of Backlisted, John and Andy are joined by Rishi Dastidar, a poet and copywriter whose first collection Ticker-tape was recently published by Nine Arches Press. Rishi is also chair of the London writer’s charity, Spread the Word; consultant editor at the independent poetry magazine The Rialto and a fellow of The Complete Works II, a programme that promotes quality and diversity in British poetry. The book Rishi has chosen is The Fatal Englishman: Three Short Lives by Sebastian Faulks, his only work of non-fiction, first published by Hutchinson in 1996. Before that, Andy finally comes to terms with the sequence of Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St Aubyn (just before the first episode in the Sky adaptation was broadcast) and John plunges into the strange and haunting world of Folk by Zoe Gilbert.

Books mentioned:

Other links: