88. Penelope Fitzgerald - Human Voices


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)