Ourshelves is a place where writers from the legendary feminist publishing house Virago will talk about their cultural worlds. Host Lucy Scholes will be diving into writers’ bookshelves, record collections and recollections to discover what inspires them.
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OurShelves with special guest Monica Ali
48:24OurShelves celebrates the end of Season 4 with the beloved Monica Ali, a fellow of Royal Society of Literature, Patron of the Hopscotch Women’s Centre, and bestselling author of Brick Lane and the upcoming Love Marriage, her wonderful, complex and optimistic book about the entangled lives of two very different families – which kept Lucy Scholes up late at night turning the pages. She asks Monica how she gestated this book for ten years, how she made her less likeable characters empathic and how listening to Esther Perel’s sex and relationship therapy inspired her to change their narratives. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
OurShelves: Kaitlyn Greenidge on the White Gaze
46:51Kaitlyn Greenidge, acclaimed author of Libertie and We Love You, Charlie Freeman, has written the new introduction to Ann Petry’s landmark Virago Modern Classics novel The Narrows. She takes a deep dive into Black American history, where Petry’s writing depicts an interior life under the unrelenting gaze of whiteness. Join her conversation with Lucy Scholes to find out why a single mother and Beat poet put speed in her coffee, more realistic alternatives to Emily in Paris and the concept of gender in Yoruba culture in Nigeria. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ourshelves: Survival with Megan Abbott
41:03Megan Abbott, Edgar-award winning author of eight novels including the HBO series-adapted Dare Me and her latest ballet school-set The Turnout is celebrated for her dark, precise depictions of young women in hothouse environments. She tells Lucy Scholes how thrillers honour women’s instincts of fear, why she’s too shy to write true crime and her admiration for a female film director flipping the script on nudity. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ourshelves: Savagery with Claire Oshetsky
46:31Do we see being a carer as a feminist failure? Claire Oshetsky’s new novel Chouette is about raising a non-conforming child, represented by a wild but lovable owl-baby. In this episode of Ourshelves she talks with Lucy Scholes about how wrapping what started out as a memoir in a fantastical world made it possible to be honest, especially about the violence of motherhood. They compare their favourite books about feral children, discuss the role of white feminism in the Afghanistan war, and celebrate the trans women she admires. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
OurShelves: Backstage with Dame Eileen Atkins
1:03:49Backstage with Eileen AtkinsHow does the writing we love create the roles we perform?Join Dame Eileen Atkins, stage and TV star, three-time Olivier Award winner and screenwriter of ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ and ‘Mrs Dalloway’ talk about her autobiography, Will She Do? She tells Lucy Scholes how she created the first entertainment about servants inspired by her parents’ lives, how a casting director got her addicted to the books of Virginia Woolf and how women in repertory theatre felt in charge. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
OurShelves: Rescue with Donna Coonan
46:25Donna Coonan is Editorial Director of the Virago Modern Classics list, which was set up 1978 to demonstrate the existence of a necessary canon of women’s writing and to challenge the sometimes narrow definition of what a ‘classic’ is. Since 2005, she has brought over 200 new books including those by Muriel Spark, Barbara Pym and Patricia Highsmith to this beloved list with its iconic green spines.Join Lucy Scholes as she fangirls with Donna about the VMCs and find out how she does the detective work of a classics editor; how Virago reassessed the legacy of Daphne du Maurier, championing her as a vital 20th century author when she’d been dismissed as a writer of romances; how Valley of the Dolls challenges the definition of a classic; and how she’s bringing prescient, ground-breaking Black American authors like Gayl Jones, Ann Petry and Gloria Naylor back into print. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
OurShelves: Awakening with 吕频 Lü Pin
37:07How do you say ‘Me Too’ in Chinese – when it’s banned on social media?吕频 Lü Pin, Chinese feminist activist featured in Awakening by Rachel Vogelstein and Meighan Stone, talks to Lucy Scholes about her work challenging gender-based violence in a state without freedom of speech or protest. Through ingenuity, humour and sheer determination, she says, because ‘nobody’ – not even the Chinese government – ‘can control everything’. She remembers the first time she read something which taught her to be proud of being a woman; champions the pop star singing about domestic violence in China; and argues for the importance of anger in fighting her cause. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
OurShelves: Heroics with Susie Boyt
51:17How do we get through the difficult days?Susie Boyt, author and theatre director, got through the pandemic by walking for miles listening to poetry podcasts to replace the conversations she’d have with friends about books. Here, she tells Lucy Scholes how she had a feminist awakening watching a play where women honoured the horror their friend went through; the sheer joy between grandmother and granddaughter in her latest novel Loved and Missed; and why Judy Garland is her ultimate heroine. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
OurShelves: Hope with Dr Edith Widder
41:30How can we find light in the dark?Oceanographer, marine biologist and author of Below the Edge of Darkness, Edie Widder’s life has been as fascinating as the animals she studies, and she speaks with irresistible wonderment about watching them communicate with bioluminescence in the depths of the sea. Join her conversation with Lucy Scholes on squirting squids, being the only woman on the ship and overcoming sexism in science with the example of her extraordinary mother. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
OurShelves: Courage with Kamila Shamsie
47:46Is writing a muscle? Kamila Shamsie, prize winning novelist, fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Granta Best of Young British author, talks to Lucy Scholes about her great-aunt, Attia Hosain, whose books are newly reissued with her introductions on the Virago Modern Classics list, and how she once took her aside to say, ‘Never stop writing’. In their conversation, they traverse the psychological journey of refugees, remember how reading Woolf for the first time felt like coming up for air and ask how much courage it takes to write. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.