Tag Archives: Authors

Interviews: “Break It Up ” Author Richard Kreitner: America’s Imperfect Union

“Disunion—the possibility that it all might go to pieces—is a hidden thread through our entire history,” the journalist and historian Richard Kreitner writes in Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union. 

 “Our refusal to recognize this, like patients who insist, against all evidence, that they are not ill, has been a major cause of our political dysfunction and social strife. Secession is the only kind of revolution we Americans have ever known and the only kind we’re ever likely to see.” On this episode of The World in Time, Lewis H. Lapham and Kreitner start at the beginning of the United States of America and trace this history of disunion up to the present. Lewis H. Lapham speaks with Richard Kreitner, author of “Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union.”

Interview: English Author Daisy Dunn – “Legacies Of Pliny The Elder, Younger”

In the year 79 CE, Pliny the Elder set out to investigate a large cloud of ash rising in the sky above the Bay of Naples. It was the eruption of Vesuvius, and Pliny did not survive. 

“I think we can all empathize with someone who’s like a son, or in this case, an adopted son, trying to kind of make his own mark and escape the shadow of his father, and leave something on the world of his own.”

A trailblazing naturalist, he is best remembered today for his multivolume encyclopedia of Natural History,and we are able to retrace his final hours thanks to a vivid account by his nephew, Pliny the Younger. Inspired by his beloved uncle, the young Pliny became a lawyer, senator, poet, and representative of the emperor. His published letters are fascinating reflections on life and politics in the Roman Empire.

In this episode, Daisy Dunn, classicist and author of The Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny,and Kenneth Lapatin, curator of antiquities at the Getty Museum, discuss the two Plinys and their profound impact on our understanding of ancient Rome.

Podcast Interviews: Australian Writer DBC Pierre – “Dopamine City”

Georgina Godwin talks to DBC Pierre, who won the Booker prize with his debut novel ‘Vernon God Little’. He has gone on to write five more books, including his latest: dystopian satire ‘Meanwhile in Dopamine City’. It is a darkly funny, brilliantly clever and utterly terrifying vision of technology in our near future

DBC Pierre is an Australian writer who wrote the novel Vernon God Little. Pierre was born in South Australia in 1961, before moving to Mexico, where he was largely raised.

Top Podcast Interviews: Thomas Frank, Author Of “The People, No: A Brief History Of Anti-Populism”

Lewis H. Lapham speaks with Thomas Frank, author of “The People, No”, an eye-opening account of populism, the most important―and misunderstood―movement of our time. 

Rarely does a work of history contain startling implications for the present, but in The People, No Thomas Frank pulls off that explosive effect by showing us that everything we think we know about populism is wrong. Today “populism” is seen as a frightening thing, a term pundits use to describe the racist philosophy of Donald Trump and European extremists. But this is a mistake.

The real story of populism is an account of enlightenment and liberation; it is the story of American democracy itself, of its ever-widening promise of a decent life for all. Taking us from the tumultuous 1890s, when the radical left-wing Populist Party―the biggest mass movement in American history―fought Gilded Age plutocrats to the reformers’ great triumphs under Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, Frank reminds us how much we owe to the populist ethos. Frank also shows that elitist groups have reliably detested populism, lashing out at working-class concerns. The anti-populist vituperations by the Washington centrists of today are only the latest expression.

Frank pummels the elites, revisits the movement’s provocative politics, and declares true populism to be the language of promise and optimism. The People, No is a ringing affirmation of a movement that, Frank shows us, is not the problem of our times, but the solution for what ails us.

Video Interviews: 71-Year Old Welsh Author Ken Follett On His Writing

Ken Follett, international best-selling author and one of the world’s best-loved novelists, joined Reverend Hilary De Lyon (RSM Vice-President) for a lively discussion about his work, including the variety of different kinds of novels he has written, from the longevity and international success of his first novel Eye of the Needle and the later The Pillars of the Earth, to his latest book A Column of Fire; and what inspires him in the creative process of developing exciting plots in many different historical settings. The RSM’s In Conversation Live series offers the opportunity to get first-hand insights into the lives and thoughts of high profile individuals through an intimate, relaxed and entertaining setting, direct to your living room.

Kenneth Martin Follett, CBE, FRSL is a Welsh author of thrillers and historical novels who has sold more than 160 million copies of his works. Many of his books have achieved high ranking on best seller lists.

Author Interviews: Slavoj Žižek On His New Book “Hegel In A Wired Brain”

Monocle 24 Meet The WritersSlavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and writer whose vast catalogue of work has earned him celebrity status across the globe. A radical leftist, his work encompasses everything from psychoanalysis and political theory to art and film criticism. 

Described as “the leading Hegelian of our time”, he speaks to Georgina Godwin about his latest book, ‘Hegel in a Wired Brain’, which is an evaluation of the German philosopher’s relevance in the 21st century that ties in with the 250th anniversary of his birth.

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of G.W.F. Hegel, Slavoj Žižek gives us a reading of the philosophical giant that changes our way of thinking about our new posthuman era. No ordinary study of Hegel, Hegel in a Wired Brain investigates what he might have had to say about the idea of the ‘wired brain’ – what happens when a direct link between our mental processes and a digital machine emerges. Žižek explores the phenomenon of a wired brain effect, and what might happen when we can share our thoughts directly with others. He hones in on the key question of how it shapes our experience and status as ‘free’ individuals and asks what it means to be human when a machine can read our minds.

With characteristic verve and enjoyment of the unexpected, Žižek connects Hegel to the world we live in now, shows why he is much more fun than anyone gives him credit for, and why the 21st century might just be Hegelian.

Literary Profiles: The “Sparkling, Perfect” Prose Of P.G. Wodehouse (BBC)

From BBC Culture (June 2, 2020):

P.G._Wodehouse_-_My_Man_Jeeves_-_1st_American_edition_(1920_printing)_-_CropWith every sparkling joke, every well-meaning and innocent character, every farcical tussle with angry swans and pet Pekingese, every utopian description of a stroll around the grounds of a pal’s stately home or a flutter on the choir boys’ hundred yards handicap at a summer village fete, he wanted to whisk us far away from our worries.

If we’re talking about culture that makes people happy, we have to start with the works of PG Wodehouse. There are two reasons why. One reason is that making people happy was Wodehouse’s overriding ambition. The other reason is that he was better at it than any other writer in history.

Read more

P. G. Wodehouse: A Brief History

P.G. WodehouseThe author of almost a hundred books and the creator of Jeeves, Blandings Castle, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred and Mr Mulliner, P. G. Wodehouse was born in 1881 and educated at Dulwich College. After two years with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank he became a full-time writer, contributing to a variety of periodicals including Punch and the Globe. He married in 1914.

As well as his novels and short stories, he wrote lyrics for musical comedies with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern, and at one time had five musicals running simultaneously on Broadway. His time in Hollywood also provided much source material for fiction.

At the age of ninty-three, in the New Year’s Honours List of 1975, he received a long-overdue knighthood, only to die on St Valentine’s Day some forty-five days later.

Official Website

Interviews: Author Peter Boxall On His Book “The Prosthetic Imagination”

In this interview, Peter Boxall answers questions about his new title, The Prosthetic Imagination: A History of the Novel as Artificial Life. If the novel has helped to give our world a human shape, it also contains forms of life that elude our existing human architectures: new amalgams of the living and the non-living that are the hidden province of the novel imagination.
.
These latent conjunctions, Boxall argues, are preserved in the novel form, and offer us images of embodied being that can help us orient ourselves to our new prosthetic condition.
.
Discover more about this title at: https://www.cambridge.org/academic/su…

Podcast Profiles: Author Georges Simenon, Creator Of Inspector Maigret (LRB)

London Review of Books’ John Lanchester talks to Thomas Jones about Georges Simenon, whose output was so prodigious that even he didn’t know how many books he wrote.

Georges Simenon - Maigret ReturnsTRANSCRIPT

Thomas Jones: Hello, and welcome to the London Review of Books podcast. My name is Thomas Jones, and today I’m talking to John Lanchester, who’s written a piece in the current issue of the LRB about Georges Simenon and his 75 Maigret novels, which Penguin have just finished reissuing in new translations. Hello, John.

John Lanchester: Hi Tom. Thanks for having me.

TJ: Thank you for joining me. And I thought we could begin where you begin your piece with Simenon’s ‘colossal output’, as you put it, and that nobody knows how many books he actually wrote, though it was probably more than four hundred, which is fewer than Barbara Cartland, but still puts the rest of us to shame.

JL: He didn’t half crack on, that’s true. Yes, he started as a young man in Liège, his home town in Belgium. And he got a job as a reporter on the local paper. I think he was not quite 16, which is properly strange. It’s like something out of a high concept kid’s TV show, you know, Georges Simenon – Boy Reporter, and very early on latched onto the idea of making money through writing.He began writing when he was 18, his first book came out when he was 19. He started writing every sort of potboiler, thrillers, romances, sort of semi-porn westerns, things like that, at an absolutely astounding rate of productivity. And his target was eighty pages a day, typewritten, and even on the assumption that the pages … I mean, a short page would be 150 words and it could well have been more, but it was 10,000 words a day, and he did that every single day. And then he’d write eighty pages, and then he’d go and be sick. Just from the physical and mental exertion and the strain. That was in the morning. And then he’d recover and do a bit of light reading and pottering about. And then the next day he did the same again, over and over and over for about seven years. And in that period, as you’ve mentioned, we don’t know exactly how many, because he forgot, and he had multiple pseudonyms. The main one being Georges Sim, which was how he was known when he began writing the Simenon novels. People thought that Simenon was a pseudonym because George Sim was so well known, but he seems to have written about 150 or more books in this seven-year burst. It  makes you feel peculiar even to think about what that must have been like.

Read full transcript

Interviews: Writers Marianne Julia Strauss And Patrick J. McGinnis

The StackMonocle 24’s “The Stack” speaks to Marianne Julia Strauss on her new book “Do You Read Me?” on the best bookshops around the globe. Then, author Patrick McGinnis on his new release “Fear Of Missing Out”.