David Harsent

David Harsent on his T.S. Eliot Prize-winning collection, Fire Songs

One of the most enjoyable interviews I recorded last year was with poet David Harsent. I’ve long been an admirer of David’s work; since I first encountered in the early 1990s, in fact, when David was on the long-departed Oxford Poets list and I was the junior editor, whose duties were mainly putting things in […]

Continue Reading · 28 January 2015 · podcasts, poetry

In tribute to P.D. James

Here, in tribute to P.D. James, who died last week, is my interview with her from 2011 in which she looks back over her career.

Continue Reading · 4 December 2014 · crime fiction, podcasts

Atul Gawande on The Checklist Manifesto

To coincide with his giving this year’s Reith Lectures, I thought I would re-release this interview with Atul Gawande from 2011, in which I spoke to him about The Checklist Manifesto and how something as simple as a checklist could have dramatic, positive benefits in healthcare. “We have people at the frontline who have great […]

Continue Reading · 30 November 2014 · history and politics, medicine, podcasts
Rafael Barajas quote

Rafael Barajas on Mexico in crisis

In the December edition of Le Monde diplomatique, Rafael Barajas and fellow journalist Pedro Miguel have written about Mexico’s current state of crisis after the disappearance of 43 students from a rural teacher training college in September. It appears that they were handed over by the police to organized criminals who subsequently killed them. If […]

Continue Reading · 30 November 2014 · history and politics, podcasts
Quotation from Bosworth interview

Mary Bosworth: Inside Immigration Detention

“Following 9/11, the US and then the UK decided to introduce new pieces of legislation which were ostensibly aimed – at least to start with – against terrorism and concerned security. But they rapidly bled into other fields, in particular into the area of immigration. So we saw throughout the first decade of the 21st […]

Continue Reading · 4 November 2014 · history and politics, law, podcasts
Hyperion Schubertiad

Graham Johnson on Schubert (I)

“Schubert had a response to words that is quite extraordinary. It’s the way that the interaction between words and music – which in a sense gives the song its own life – takes place that interests me. Josef von Spaun once wrote very perspicaciously that Schubert writes a poem on the poem, [by which he […]

Continue Reading · 30 October 2014 · art and music, podcasts, poetry

Peter Carey: Amnesia on the fire escape

I’ve long yearned to conduct an author interview on the fire escape at Faber, and recently my wish came true, with Peter Carey no less. Here he is talking about his new novel, Amnesia: Peter Carey introduces his new novel, Amnesia from George Miller on Vimeo.

Continue Reading · 24 October 2014 · history and politics, literature, video
terry coleman

(Nearly) two hundred years of the Old Vic

The Old Vic first opened its doors in May 1818. Back then, building a new theatre south of the river was a commercially risky venture, and the Royal Coburg Theatre (as it was originally known) was only made viable by the recent construction of Waterloo Bridge. The first night programme included a melodrama, a pantomime […]

Continue Reading · 21 October 2014 · history and politics, literature, podcasts, theatre
anna karenina cover

Conversations with translators (II): Rosamund Bartlett on Anna Karenina

For this, the second in a series of Conversations with Translators (following my interview with Oliver Ready on Crime and Punishment from earlier this year), we stick with the Russians and turn to a new version of Anna Karenina produced by Rosamund Bartlett for Oxford University Press. This was in fact my third visit to […]

Continue Reading · 18 August 2014 · literature, podcasts
Rainy Brain Sunny Brain cover

Sunny Brain, Rainy Brain – the science of optimism

“The core components of optimism surprisingly don’t really have too much to do with positive thinking at all. One of the major components actually is a sense of control; what psychologists have found is that optimists are people who have a sense that they’re in control of their own destiny […] there are lots of […]

Continue Reading · 8 June 2014 · podcasts, science and philosophy