May 16, 2021
Hollie NcNish, Modern American Short Stories, Twins
May 09, 2021
Elizabeth Day talks to the writer Jhumpa Lahiri, whose latest novel, Whereabouts, was originally written in Italian, a language she learned in her 40s.
Whereabouts tells the story of an unnamed middle-aged woman who meanders through a Northern Italian city, sharing her observations on everything from having a manicure to walking a friend’s dog. Lahiri builds up a mosaic of such moments, interspersing them with deeper glimpses into the woman’s relationship with her parents and the sudden death of her father when she was 15. Jhumpa Lahiri has long been interested in themes of dislocation and belonging, the daughter of Bengali immigrants who moved to New York, her first book, The Interpreter of Maladies, was a short story collection which won a Pulitzer Prize.
The programme also explores the life and writing of the English mid century writer Barbara Pym. Best known for her novels, Excellent Women, Jane and Prudence, and A Glass of Blessings, Pym created sharp observational comedies in which little happens, but a great deal is conveyed. Paula Byrne has written an illuminating new biography, The Adventures of Miss Pym, and talks to Elizabeth about the connections between her tumultuous life and her writing, and they are joined by the writer and lifelong Pym fan, Philip Hensher.
Apr 25, 2021
Johny Pitts talks to Jon McGregor about his latest novel Lean Fall Stand, inspired by a trip to Antarctica. Opening with sparse, barely describable landscape in the midst of a storm, it follows Robert "Doc" Wright's recovery in the aftermath and sensitively examines heroism, modern masculinity and the failure of words.
Chester Himes is an often overlooked favour of his Black American contemporaries Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright and James Baldwin, despite also attempting to carve out a literary career in Paris. With his better-known Harlem detective series being reissued, his biographer Lawrence P. Jackson and crime writer Dreda Say Mitchell discuss his prescient legacy.
And looking ahead to next month, Francesca Main of Phoenix Books chooses a multi-generational story of love, family and Indian history as her Editor's Tip.
Lean Fall Stand by Jon McGregor
A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes
Cotton Comes to Harlem by Chester Himes
Lonely Crusade by Chester Himes
Cast the First Stone by Chester Himes
If He Hollers Let Him Go by Chester Himes
Chester B Himes: A Biography by Lawrence P Jackson
Shelter by Lawrence P Jackson
China Room by Sunjeev Sahota
Apr 18, 2021
Elizabeth Day talks to Chris Power, writer of the short story collection Mothers, about his debut novel A Lonely Man. Robert Prowe is a struggling writer living in Berlin with his wife and two young daughters. One night he meets Patrick, a stranger with a story to tell, who is a ghostwriter for a Russian oligarch who is now being followed. Robert finds himself seduced by Patrick's dramatic story, wondering if it might provide the inspiration he needs for his own novel, and becomes caught up in a paranoid world of threats that may or, may not, be real.
Swipe Right is Radio 4's series of short stories written by young writers under 30; Caleb Nelson, Bryan Washington, Naoise Dolan, Rebecca Watson, and Beth O'Leary. The series explores relationships and sex in the modern world, characters searching for love in a myriad of ways. Novelists Beth O'Leary, Flatshare, The Switch, and Okechukwu Nzelu, The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, share their thoughts of the joys and challenges of writing love stories in an online world.
And Trisha Sakhlecha whose novel Can You See Me Now is a pacey, psychological thriller exploring female friendship against a backdrop of Indian politics, sends a literary postcard from Delhi.
A Lonely Man by Chris Power
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu
The Fourth Hand by John Irving
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Can you see me now by Trisha Sackhlecha
We That Are Young by Preti Taneja
Society by Mahesh Rao
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
Apr 11, 2021
Johny Pitts visits his local bookshop, Review in Peckham, as it prepares to reopen and talks to manager Ben Pope about missing bookseller recommendations
Naomi Ishiguro discusses her debut novel Common Ground, about a friendship across a cultural divide and the importance of open space for everyone.
And we reflect on making room in our homes for Spring. Do books count as clutter? Eleanor Ray and Jess Kidd, two authors who have written about hoarding, discuss.
Mar 30, 2021
Chess, drugs and dentistry- the two writers chat to Harriett about their favourite books
Mar 28, 2021
Johny Pitts discusses working-class rural life with Claire Fuller and Karla Neblett
Mar 23, 2021
Actor Adjoa Andoh, Bridgerton's Lady Danbury, and CBeebies presenter Andy Day share books
Mar 21, 2021
Elizabeth Day talks to Fiona Mozley about her second novel, Hot Stew.
Mar 17, 2021
Husband & wife team - the Radio 1 Breakfast host and the writer talk up their top reads.
Mar 14, 2021
Elizabeth Day talks to Pulitzer Prize winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen about The Committed
Mar 09, 2021
The news presenter and the author both talk about the books they've chosen
Mar 02, 2021
The comedian and the books blogger talk to Harriett about their favourite books
Feb 28, 2021
Elizabeth Day talks to Mary Lawson
Feb 23, 2021
The writer/drag performer and the television executive talk books with Harriett
Feb 21, 2021
Johny Pitts talks to Caleb Azumah Nelson about Open Water, his hotly anticipated debut
Feb 16, 2021
Does a Tiger Come to Tea? Harriett Gilbert finds out
Feb 14, 2021
Elizabeth Day talks to actor Ethan Hawke about his new novel.
Feb 09, 2021
The actress and the environmentalist talk about much loved books with Harriett Gilbert.
Feb 02, 2021
The poet and the comedian talk climbing, science fiction, and love with Harriett Gilbert.
Jan 31, 2021
Richard Flanagan; How To Read Well; Editor's Tip
Jan 24, 2021
Kate Mosse, Books on TV, Writing in prisons
Jan 17, 2021
Elizabeth Day talks to debut writer Raven Leilani.
Jan 10, 2021
Bryan Washington, Natalie Haynes, Trauma in fiction with Rebecca Watson & Peter Ho Davies
Dec 27, 2020
Reading in 2020