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Literary Friction

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Literary Friction - Novellas with Cynan Jones

The novella - a book that you can devour in a day, or even a single sitting. Feared by contemporary publishing but loved by readers, some of the most enduring works of literature, from Death in Venice to Mrs Dalloway to The Stranger, can be included in this category. This month we were joined by a writer of very good, very short books, Welsh author Cynan Jones, so without further ado, we dedicate this episode to the pithy brilliance of short novels.


Literary Friction - Shame With Pajtim Statovci

From Adam and Eve to Hester Prynne to Cersie Lannister, characters in literature have been motivated by and undone by shame, so this month we decided to get up close and personal with this uncomfortable emotion. We spoke to author Pajtim Statovci about his brilliant first novel, My Cat Yugoslavia, which was originally published in Finnish in 2014. It tells the story of a young gay refugee from the Balkans, whose search for meaning in the midst of loneliness leads him to purchase a boa...


Literary Friction - Know Your Place with Kit de Waal + Nathan Connolly + Abondance Matanda

After Brexit - the supposed ‘will of the people’ - everyone is talking about the working class. And yet the actual voice of the working class is rarely heard, especially in literature. This month, we have a very special edition of Literary Friction based around a new collection of essays on the working class by the working class called Know Your Place, published by the brilliant gang at Dead Ink Books. We talked to three authors featured in the collection about their essays and the urgent...


Literary Friction - The Everyday with Karl Ove Knausgaard

It's September, the leaves are turning and Autumn has arrived, so in honour of this return to reality we bring you a show about the everyday, the mundane, the quotidian in literature. As usual, our theme is inspired by our guest, and this month we’ll be playing a recording of a live interview Carrie did with the celebrated Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard a couple weeks ago at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road. Knausgaard is best known for his epic My Struggle series, but he was in town...


Literary Friction - The Silver Screen With Dana Spiotta

Ever since the Lumière brothers showed their 1895 film of a train pulling into a station, we have been captivated by the silver screen, and this month’s show is an ode to what happens when cinema and literature cross paths. We interviewed award-winning American novelist Dana Spiotta about her latest book, Innocents and Others, which tells the story of two friends who are both filmmakers, and the stress their relationship suffers when an enigmatic woman named Jelly comes into their lives....


Literary Friction - Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge and Kishani Widyaratna

This month we're discussing a subject that isn't covered enough: race in Britain. Our brilliant author/guest is Reni Eddo-Lodge, who came in to talk about her first book, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, a vital and passionate look at this country's long and complicated relationship with structural racism. We're also thrilled to be joined in the conversation by Kishani Widyaratna, from Picador and The White Review.


Literary Friction - Essays With Brian Dillon

The literary essay is a slippery and expansive form, and has encompassed everything from an attempt to define the word ‘camp’ to a dispatch from a cruise ship. This month we interview writer Brian Dillon about his forthcoming book, Essayism – a collection of essays about essays and an ode to the form in all its machinations. We also discuss some of our favourite essay writers including Michel de Montaigne, Joan Didion and David Foster Wallace, plus all the usual recommendations.


Literary Friction - Medicine with David France and Sarah Moss

From Thomas Mann to Oliver Sacks and Atul Gawande, library shelves heave with stories about the struggle to understand and overcome illness. This month, we've teamed up with The Wellcome Book Prize, which celebrates literature that engages with the topics of health and medicine and the many ways they touch our lives. We interviewed two of the authors on their excellent shortlist: David France, whose narrative history How to Survive a Plague is a riveting and devastating first-hand account...


Literary Friction - Immigrants With Julianne Pachico

It seems the Western world has begun to eat itself, so in defiance, this month we bring you a show celebrating the rich diversity of immigrants in literature. From Vladamir Nabokov to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, immigrant writers have been getting the job expertly done for a very long time. Our guest is Julianne Pachico, a Colombian-American writer whose debut book The Lucky Ones is a collection of linked stories set in Colombia and New York. Just push play to hear Julianne's take on the...


Literary Friction - Short Stories With Jessie Greengrass

The short story is literature in a single shot, and the form has many masters, from Guy de Maupassant to Edgar Allan Poe to Lorrie Moore to Junot Diaz. This month join us in conversation about what a short story actually is, how to write a good one, and who writes them best. We interviewed Jessie Greengrass about her wonderful debut collection, An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It, which was published last year by John Murray Press. Pull up a chair and...


Literary Friction - Future Sex With Emily Witt

Baby, it's cold outside, so come and warm your cockles with us as we talk FUTURE SEX. Writer Emily Witt joined us all the way from America to talk about her ace debut of the same name - a personal and journalistic exploration of the possibilities of free love in today’s world. We’ll also be talking about how writers from have helped us to imagine the future of sex, sexuality and relationships. Bring an open mind and come along for the ride.


Literary Friction - Resistance with Salena Godden

Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the next United States, and we are despairing. But we’re also preparing: this worldwide trend towards the normalisation of misogyny, racism, xenophobia and blatant disregard for truth demands action. What can we do? And what can books do? This show is about resistance, and we are joined by the perfect guest: Salena Godden, poet, author, essayist, performer, once described as ‘everything the Daily Mail is terrified of’. She recently...


Literary Friction - Bohemian Rhapsody With Eimear McBride

This month we're joined by the celebrated Irish author Eimear McBride, who came in to discuss her fabulous second novel The Lesser Bohemians. In honour of the book's title, this show is all about La Vie Boheme. From the original Parisian bohos of the 1850s, to the Pre-Raphaelites, to the beats, the bohemian lifestyle and its artistic output has always held romantic sway in our culture. Listen in as we chat to Eimear and talk about what it really means to be a modern bohemian.


Literary Friction - The Death Of America With Gary Younge

Each week we seem to get more news about violent deaths in America. What is it with America and violence, America and guns? And what can books tell us about it? Our guest this month is Gary Younge, author, broadcaster, and award-winning columnist for the Guardian, whose latest book is Another Day in the Death of America. A moving and important meditation on the violent reality of life in the US, it tells the stories of 10 children who died from gun violence in America on a random day in...


Literary Friction - Translation with Milena Busquets, Deborah Smith and Meike Ziervogel.

We’ve got the Brexit Blues here on Literary Friction, so for this show we’re celebrating something that bridges borders rather than closes them: literary translation. We’ve deviated slightly from our usual format to bring you not one but three interviews around the theme: we'll be talking to Spanish writer Milena Busquets, author of This Too Shall Pass, which has been translated into 27 different languages; literary translator Deborah Smith, who translates from Korean into English and is...


Literary Friction - Black Sheep With Joanna Cannon

Ever wonder if you're with the flock, or against it? British author and psychiatric doctor Joanna Cannon’s debut novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep (a Sunday Times bestseller) explores how we treat - or more often mistreat - people who don't quite fit in. It tells the story of two young girls who decide to investigate a housewife’s disappearance from their tight-knit estate during the heat wave of 1976, and the unlikely truth they uncover. In honour of rebels and misfits everywhere, our...


Literary Friction - Abstract Romanticism with Chris Kraus

We are incredibly excited to be joined by American artist and writer Chris Kraus, here to discuss her novel I Love Dick. A feminist classic from the 90s recently published in the UK for the first time, I Love Dick is a hybrid of memoir, fiction and theory that focuses on the main character’s desire for an academic named Dick. We rarely see the object of our desire for what they really are, and literature has always been a rich medium through which to explore these romantic abstractions. So...


Literary Friction - Vile Bodies with Sara Pascoe

The body – especially the female body – has forever been an object of literary fascination and desire. But what about the intimate bits that make us squirm, the pungent underarms, abject anuses? Welcome to VILE BODIES, a show dedicated to literature’s uncomfortable relationship with all things corporeal, from Philoctetes' festering foot, to James Joyce’s filthy letters to his wife, to the Vagina Monologues. We interviewed brilliant comedian and writer Sara Pascoe about her debut, ANIMAL,...


Literary Friction - Down The Rabbit Hole with Kevin Barry

Spring has sprung, so we're going down the rabbit hole with Kevin Barry, who joins us this month to talk about Beatlebone, his wonderful novel about a very famous John's quest to reach a tiny island that he owns in Clew Bay, off the West Coast of Ireland. Inspired by his trip, our theme is about all those literary escapes to the ends of the earth and to the centre of the mind. We'll be following that elusive rabbit's fluffy tail and lighting out for the territory with Huck Finn, breaking...


Literary Friction - Objects With Harry Parker

Harry Parker's debut novel Anatomy of a Soldier is narrated by objects, 45 things – ranging from dog tags to a bomb to a mattress – that witness the life of Captain Tom Barnes during and in the aftermath of war in the Middle East. Inspired by the novel, our theme is OBJECTS, and in addition to interviewing Harry we look at all those things that populate our favourite books, from King Arthur's Excalibur to Desdemona's handkerchief.


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