92. G.B. Edwards - The Book of Ebenezer Le Page

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This episode was recorded live at the 2019 Guernsey Literary Festival in the church of St James in St Peter Port. John and Andy are joined by Will Smith, the former stand-up comedian and now screenwriter and novelist. Will was the co-writer of HBO comedy Veep for which he won two Emmys and two Writers Guild of America awards. He contributed to The Thick of It as both an actor and writer and is the author of Mainlander a thriller set in Jersey (where he grew up) and which the Independent described as 'John le Carré meets Middlemarch'. The book under discussion is the great novel of Guernsey, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page by G.B. Edwards, Edwards’ only novel which was published posthumously in 1981.

Both NYRB Classics and Blue Ormer books have kindly offered Backlisted listeners 30% off The Book of Ebeneezer Le Page and Genius Friend by Edward Chaney if you order direct from their websites and enter the discount code ‘Backlisted’ at check out.

Books mentioned:

G.B. Edwards - The Book of Ebenezer Le Page (special Backlisted offer from NYRB Classics)
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page audiobook (read by Roy Dotrice)
Edward Chaney - Genius Friend: G.B. Edwards & The Book of Ebenezer Le Page
(special Backlisted offer from Blue Ormer books)
Will Smith - Mainlander
Victor Hugo - The Toilers of the Sea; Les Miserables
James Joyce - Dubliners
J.D Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye
Philip Roth - Sabbath’s Theater
W.H. Hudson - A Shepherd’s Life
Adam Thorpe - Ulverton
Graham Swift - Waterland
Samuel Beckett - Krapp’s Last Tape
Allan Gurganus - The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All
Robert Tresell - The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
Gabriel García Márquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Salman Rushdie - Midnight’s Children


Other links:

The Last Will and Testament of Jake Thackray
Pure DC performing ‘Whole Lotta Ebenezer Le Page’ live on Guernsey
Ebenezer Le Page on Twitter

91. Daniel Defoe - A Journal of the Plague Year

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For this episode, Andy and John are joined by James Hannah, whose first novel, The A to Z of You and Me, was published by Doubleday in 2015, and was listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction. A second novel is in preparation. He has a Masters in Samuel Beckett Studies from the University of Reading, home of the Beckett International Foundation. He also discovered and popularised the Toblorange. He is joined by Jo Waugh. Jo is a senior lecturer in nineteenth-century literature at York St John University. She directs a module there called ‘Sick Novels: Literature and Disease' on which students this year read Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year. She’s interested in contagion narratives generally, and has written about rabies in Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley. She also co-hosts the podcast, ‘Smith and Waugh Talk About Satire’, in which she and Dr Adam Smith discuss the history, form, function, and future of satire. They are here to talk about A Journal of the Plague Year  by Daniel Defoe first published in 1722, but set in 1665. The episode also features Andy falling in love with Crusoe’s Daughter by Jane Gardam and John being mesmerised by Tishani Doshi’s Small Days and Nights.

Books mentioned

Daniel Defoe - A Journal of the Plague Year; Robinson Crusoe; Moll Flanders
James Hannah - The A to Z of You and Me,
Jane Gardam - Crusoe’s Daughter
Tishani Doshi - Small Days and Nights
Samuel Pepys - The Diaries

Other links

Scott Walker theme tune
Backlisted Live at Gurnsey Literary Festival
Backlisted Live at Unbound Literary Festival a Second Home
Smith and Waugh Talk About Satire podcast
Secret Army: The Complete Series (DVD)

90. Charles Dickens - Great Expectations

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Joining John and Andy for this episode are the writer William Atkins whose first book, The Moor was shortlisted for the Thwaites Wainwright Prize and whose second The Immeasurable World: Jouneys in Desert Places won the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year  in 2018, both were published by Faber. He is a former editorial director of Macmillan, and his journalism has appeared in the Guardian and Granta. He is joined by Backlisted regular, Lissa Evans, writer, producer, director and author of three children’s book and five novels, including most recently, Old Baggage, published by Doubleday, and a book we can now happily call a no 1 bestseller. This is Lissa’s fouth appearance on Backlisted, a new record (she appeared previously on episodes 1 - J.L. Carr; 36 - Patrick Hamilton and 78 - Edith Wharton).

The book William and Lissa are talking about is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, first published in Dickens’ own periodical ‘All the Year Round’, from 1st December 1860 to 3rd August 1861, in 35 weekly instalments You also hear about Lanny by former Backlisted guest Max Porter (John’s favourite new novel of the year so far) and an intense and powerful reading by Andy from Ali Smith’s latest Spring.

Books mentioned:

Charles Dickens - Great Expectations (Norton Critical Edition - a rich collection of essays and critical texts)
William Atkins - The Moor; The Immeasurable World: Jouneys in Desert Places
Lissa Evans - Old Baggage
Ali Smith -Spring; Autumn; Winter
Max Porter - Lanny; Grief is the Thing with Feathers
George Saunders - Lincoln in the Bardo
Russell Hoban - Riddley Walker
Angus Wilson - The World of Charles Dickens
Alec Guiness - Blessings in Disguise
John Sutherland - Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?

Other links:

Dodson and Fogg by the Johnny Dankworth Orchestra
Great Expectations - David Lean (DVD)
Charles Dickens by George Orwell
’Charles Dickens’ by Horrible Histories
Howard Jacobson on Great Expectations in the Guardian (Jan, 2012)


89. Peter Guralnick - Last Train to Memphis / Careless Love

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Joining Andy and John on this episode are David Keenan, the novelist, one-time musician, and critic whose work, in particular for the The Wire, has introduced a wider audience to experimental rock, noise, folk, industrial and psychedelic music. He has also published books on England’s esoteric underground, tarot and two highly acclaimed novels, both published by Faber: the first, This Is Memorial Device, winner of the 2018 Collyer Bristow/London Magazine Prize and earlier this year, For The Good Times, described by Suzanne Moore as ‘Occult, transformative, difficult, fantastic’. He once claimed his favourite Beatle was Yoko. He is joined by Bethan Roberts, the author of five novels, including Mother Island (published by Chatto & Windus) which won a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize 2015 and her latest, Graceland, inspired by the relationship between Elvis and his mother Gladys, also published by Chatto in February, and which the Financial Times claimed ‘prompted the reader to burst into song’. Bethangrew up in a house filled with Elvis’s music and, according to her publisher, ‘first became captivated by the story of Elvis and Gladys as a girl, poring over her mother’s scrapbooks and annuals.’
In a rare departure form Backlisted tradition, David and Bethan are talking about two books, Peter Guralnick’s epic account of the life of Elvis Presley - Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love, published by Little Brown in 1994 and 1999 respectively. We’ll also hear how Andy has come to terms with Trollope through his 800 page ‘fluently written’ masterpiece, The Way We Live Now and John remembers the centenarian archaeologist and poet, Nancy Sandars. But mostly its Elvis, and Guralnick, and you even get our four favourite Elvis songs, Desert Island Discs style.

Book mentioned:

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88. Penelope Fitzgerald - Human Voices

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In this episode Andy and John  are joined by Georgina Morley, Non-Fiction Editorial Director at Picador but who cut her teeth as  Editorial Assistant to Peter Carson, then Editor in Chief of Penguin (where she learned more in two years than she had in three at university). After Penguin, she became a Commissioning Editor at Transworld, then joined Macmillan as Non-Fiction Editorial Director in 1994.  Her list focuses on serious non-fiction -   mostly history and historical biography with occasional forays into narrative non-fiction and memoir.  The authors she has worked with include Adam Hochschild, Michael Burleigh, Robert Service, David Olusoga, Roberto Saviano, Jon Krakauer, Jane Glover, Judith Mackrell and Catherine Nixey.  Most recently, she has worked with David Nott, the trauma surgeon whose book War Doctor is (a) a good deed in a naughty world and (b) seems to be doing quite well. She is joined by Lucy Scholes, a guest on two previous episodes (one on the joys of Barbara Comyns and the other on Anita Brookner). Lucy writes about books, film and art for the Financial Times, the NYR Daily, the New York TimesBook Review and Granta among other publications. She is the Managing Editor of the new literary magazine, The Second Shelf and writes a monthly column for the Paris Review about out-of-print and forgotten books that deserve not to be. The book under discussion is Penelope Fitzgerald’s Human Voices, her fourth novel, set in Broadcasting House during the Second World War. Before that, John extols the virtues of The Good Immigrant USA (edited by Nikesh Shukla & Chimene Suleyman) and Andy is impressed by Sarah Moss’s Ghost Wall. 

 

Books mentioned:

Penelope Fitzgerald – Human VoicesThe Beginning of SpringOffshoreThe Blue FlowerAt FreddiesThe Bookshop; The Golden Child'; A House of Air (contains ‘Curriculum Vitae’)
Nikesh Shukla & Chimene Suleyman – The Good Immigrant USA
Sarah Moss – Ghost Wall
Hermione Lee – Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life
Penelope Fitzgerald – So I Have Thought of You: Selected Letters
Dan Brown – The Da Vinci Code
Muriel Spark – Memento Mori

Other links:

Penelope Fitzgerald on Mastermind (2018)
Penelope Fitzgerald on Meridian (1998)
Jeffrey Archer on Penelope Fitzgerald on A Good Read (2018)
Barneys, Books & Bust-ups: 50 years of the Booker Prize (BBC)

87. Bruce Chatwin - Utz

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John and Andy are joined by Jonathan Wilson, sports writer and author of eleven books, including Inverting the Pyramid, a history of football tactics that was named Football Book of the Year in 2009. His most recent book is The Barcelona Legacy: Guardiola, Mourinho and the Fight for Football's Soul published by Blink in 2018 and which is appearing in paperback in April. Jonathan is also the editor of The Blizzard, a quarterly journal of football writing. He is joined by Rachael Kerr, a publisher an editor who has worked for Cape, Picador, Harvill and Unbound. Rachael has previously appeared on the Charles Sprawson and D.H. Lawrence episodes of Backlisted. She is also married to John. The book that Jonathan and Rachael are here to talk about is Utz, the last novel and penultimate book by Bruce Chatwin, first published in 1988 by Jonathan Cape. The discussion also discloses Andy’s bafflement at Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station I Sat and John’s admiration for Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions.

Books mentioned:

Bruce Chatwin - Utz; The Songlines; On the Black Hill; The Viceroy of Ouidah; What Am I Doing Here; In Patagonia
Valeria Luiselli - Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions; Faces in the Crowd
Elizabeth Smart - By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
Jonathan Wilson - Inverting the Pyramid; The Barcelona Legacy: Guardiola, Mourinho and the Fight for Football's Soul
Nicholas Shakespeare - Bruce Chatwin
Nicholas Shakespeare & Elizabeth Chatwin (eds) - Under the Sun: The Letters of Bruce Chatwin
Susannah Clapp - With Chatwin
Jonathan Chatwin - Anywhere Out of the World: The Work of Bruce Chatwin
Penelope Fitzgerald - The Beginning of Spring
Peter Carey - Oscar & Lucinda
David Lodge - Nice Work
Marina Warner - The Lost Father

Other links:

‘Remembering Bruce Chatwin’ (BBC World Service 1991)
BBC Radio 4 Adaptation of Utz
Blake Morrison’s Guardian review of Under the Sun (2010)
Susannah Clapp remembers Chatwin in the Guardian (2017)

86. Rebecca West - The Return of the Soldier

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In this episode of Backlisted John and Andy welcome back Alice Jolly, novelist, playwright and memoirist, who has won both the Royal Society of Literature’s V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize for short stories and the PEN/ Ackerley Prize for non-fiction for Dead Babies & Seaside Towns, and whose latest book, Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile, was John’s favourite novel of last year. Alice first appeared on Backlisted in February 2016 to discuss Shirley Hazzard’s The Great Fire. She is joined by Amanda Craig, writer and critic and author of seven novels including A Vicious Circle and most recently the brilliant state of the nation novel, The Lie of the Land, published by Little Brown in 2017 and serialised that year as a Radio 4 ‘Book at Bedtime’. The book that Alice & Amanda have chosen to here talk about is The Return of the Soldier, the first novel by Rebecca West, first published in 1918, when she was 24. The discussion beforehand includes John’s passionate admiration for Julia Blackburn’s latest book Time Song: In Search of Doggerland and Andy’s report back on finally tracking down a copy of cult author Alexander Baron’s second Harryboy Boas novel, Strip Jack Naked.

Books mentioned:

Rebecca West - The Return of the Soldier, The Fountain Overflows, This Real Night, Cousin Rosamund, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, The Meaning of Treason, St Augustine
Alice Jolly - Dead Babies & Seaside Towns, Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile
Amanda Craig - A Vicious Circle, The Lie of the Land
Julian Blackburn - Time Song: In Search of Doggerland
Alexander Baron - Strip Jack Naked
Chris Sullivan - Rebel, Rebel: The Mavericks that Made the Modern World
Sarah Moss - Ghost Wall
Tara Westover - Educated
Sofka Zinovieff - Putney
Sayaka Murata - Convenience Store Woman
Lissa Evans - Old Baggage
Alan Bennett - Smut: Two Unseemly Stories
Alan Hollinghurst - The Swimming Pool Library
Tim Krabbé - The Rider
L.P. Hartley - The Go-Between
J.L. Carr - A Month in the Country
Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace

Other links:

Rebecca West interviewed by Ludovic Kennedy in 1976
Rebecca West interviewed by Marina Warner in The Paris Review (1983)
The Return of the Soldier movie (1982) on YouTube
Andy Miller & Alex Preston at the Faversham Literary Festival - 24 Feb 2019
Rachel Malik’s blog on class in The Return of the Soldier

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