The literary podcast presented by John Mitchinson and Andy Miller. Brought to you by Unbound. Visit www.backlisted.fm
The Godwits Fly by Robin Hyde
1:14:56Our guest is author Paula Morris, who joins us from Auckland to discuss the novel The Godwits Fly (1938) and the life of its author Iris Wilkinson AKA Robin Hyde. In recent years, Iris Wilkinson's writing has been rediscovered and restored to the canon of New Zealand literature, where it occupies a place alongside Katherine Mansfield's; The Godwits Fly is her highly autobiographical novel spanning the years 1910-28. Also this week, John has been captivated by Neurotribes, Steve Silberman's fascinating study of neurodiversity, while Andy revels in the forensic detail of Glenn Frankel's new book Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic. For more information visit backlisted.fm. Please support us and unlock bonus material at https://www.patreon.com/backlisted. This episode wouldn't have happened without Rachael King or WORD Christchurch Festival: https://wordchristchurch.co.nz. Thanks Rachael!
Notes from Under the Floorboards AKA Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
1:13:21Welcome to the 150th episode of Backlisted! To mark the occasion we are joined by authors Alex Christofi (Dostoevsky in Love) and Arifa Akbar (Consumed: A Sister's Story) for a discussion of one of Russia's greatest writers Fyodor Dostoevsky, who was born in Moscow on November 11 1821, 200 years ago this month. We concentrate on his pioneering novella Notes From Under the Floorboards AKA Notes From Underground (1864) and consider its impact and continuing relevance to modern life. Also in this episode John enjoys Dark Neighbourhood (Fitzcarraldo), the debut collection of stories by Vanessa Onwuemezi; and, having let it settled for a few months, Andy unveils his favourite novel of the year, Gwendoline Riley's My Phantoms (Granta). For more information visit backlisted.fm Please support us and unlock bonus material at https://www.patreon.com/backlisted.
Treacle Walker by Alan Garner
58:00This is a Backlisted special, recorded at the Bodleian Library in Oxford to celebrate the publication of Treacle Walker the new novel by Alan Garner (Fourth Estate). The panel discussion features Erica Wagner, writer and critic and editor of First Light, an anthology of pieces about Alan Garner’s work; Dr Melanie Giles, archaeologist and the author of Bog Bodies, the definitive account of the phenomenon which plays a significant role in the book’s story; and Professor Bob Cywinski, physicist, whose conversations with Alan Garner about time, landscape and local legend provided the inspiration for the novel.
Something in Disguise by Elizabeth Jane Howard
1:14:13For this year's Hallowe'en special we're joined by Backlisted's old fiends Andrew Male and Laura Varnam, following previous guest appearances on episodes dedicated to Beowulf (2020) and Daphne du Maurier's The Breaking Point (2019). Together we explore the work of the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard, specifically her ghost stories, tales of horror and accounts of psychological terror: Something in Disguise (1969), Odd Girl Out (1972), Mr Wrong (1975), Falling (1999), and We Are For the Dark (1951), the volume of strange stories she co-authored with previous Backlisted subject Robert Aickman. NB. THIS EPISODE IS PACKED WITH SPOILERS and you may wish to read Something in Disguise before you listen to the podcast. Also this week, Andy is gripped by Heike Gessler's Seasonal Associate (Semiotext), the novelist's account of working in Amazon's warehouse in Leipzig, while John enjoys being unsettled by Women's Weird: Strange Stories by Women, 1980-1940, edited by Melissa Edmundson, the first in a series of 'Weird' anthologies published by Handheld Press. For more information visit backlisted.fm. Please support us and unlock bonus material at https://www.patreon.com/backlisted.
Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker
1:13:24Our guests are publisher Alexandra Pringle and Simon Thomas, editor and co-host of the Tea or Books? podcast. They are here to discuss Cassandra at the Wedding, the fourth and final novel by Dorothy Baker, first published in 1962 by Houghton Mifflin in the USA and Victor Gollancz in the UK. What is it about this darkly funny tale of two devoted sisters that continues to appeal to generations of readers? Also in this episode John enjoys Notes from an Island by Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietila, newly reissued by Sort Of Books, while Andy returns to early 1980s London via Michael Bracewell's new book Souvenir (White Rabbit). For more information visit backlisted.fm. Please support us and unlock bonus material at https://www.patreon.com/backlisted.
The Dream Songs by John Berryman
1:12:45Joining us on Backlisted this week is novelist and memoirist Susie Boyt (My Judy Garland Life, Loved and Missed). The book Susie has chosen for us to discuss is The Dream Songs (1969) by John Berryman, the publication of which briefly made its author the most famous poet in America but also, unfortunately, hastened his decline and ruin. But the work shines on. Also in this episode Andy is struck by the contemporary resonance of Vivian Gornick's The Romance of American Communism while John drinks in Public House: A Cultural and Social History of the London Pub edited by David Knight and Cristina Monteiro. Please note, this episode contains references to suicide.
Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee
1:02:02We are joined by novelist Mary Costello for a special episode recorded live at Galway International Arts Festival in Ireland on September 10th 2021. The book we're debating is Elizabeth Costello (2003) by South-African born Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee, a novel that politely asks the reader to consider, amongst other matters, animal rights, the power of faith and the limits of fiction itself. Also in this episode, new books by two Irish authors: Sally Rooney's novel Beautiful World, Where Are You and John Moriarty’s The Hut at the Edge of the Village, a collection edited by Martin Shaw and published by the Lilliput Press.
Summer Reading 2021
1:00:53It’s time for our annual look at what we’ve been reading over the summer break. John, Andy and Nicky discuss David Keenan’s fourth novel Monument Maker; Open Water, a promising debut novella from Caleb Azumah Nelson; Deborah Levy’s three-volume ‘living autobiography’, Things I Don’t Want to Know, The Cost of Living and Real Estate; a reissue of Percival Everett’s satirical diatribe Erasure; Life With a Capital L, Geoff Dyer’s selection of essays by D.H. Lawrence; and Vivian Gornick’s The End of the Novel of Love and Unfinished Business, in which the author re-reads favourite classic books and comes to fresh conclusions about them. All these titles can be purchased from the Backlisted bookshop at https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/backlisted.
Fat City by Leonard Gardner
1:06:58Perhaps the greatest boxing novel ever written, Leonard Gardner's Fat City was first published in 1969; it was shortlisted for the National Book Award; Joan Didion and Denis Johnson are amongst those who have sung its praises. The book was made into a film in 1972 starring Stacy Keach and Jeff Bridges, directed by John Huston from a screenplay by Gardner himself. In this episode Andy, John and Nicky explore both the novel and the film and the ways in which Gardner shows the reader the whole of a society through the prism of sport. We also hear from the author as to why he has never published another novel. Plus in this episode John reignites his love of D.H. Lawrence with Frances Wilson's acclaimed new biography Burning Man, while Andy shares an extract from Leonora Carrington's magical novel The Hearing Trumpet, read by actress Siân Phillips.
Heart of the Original By Steve Aylett
1:16:26Joining us on Backlisted this week is writer John Higgs, whose fascinating new book William Blake Vs The World is out now. We were thrilled John chose Steve Aylett's guide to originality, creativity and individuality, Heart of the Original, first published by Unbound in 2015 and as original, creative and individual a book as we have ever featured on this podcast; be prepared to experience a "small-particle tulpa storm" of ideas. Also in this episode, John enjoys the waspish melancholy of Elizabeth Hardwick's Sleepless Nights, while Andy introduces a reading from Black Teacher by Beryl Gilroy, a trailblazing Guyanese woman's memoir of post-war London.