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Writers and Company

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Toronto, ON




Now in its nineteenth season, this show offers an opportunity to explore in depth the lives, thoughts and works of remarkable writers from around the world.






Writers & Company CBC Radio Arts and Entertainment P.O. Box 500, Station A Toronto, ON M5W 1E6 (416) 205-6631


Graphic novelist Reinhard Kleist on Germany's refugees, then and now

Eleanor speaks to the award-winning German comic book artist about his wide-ranging subjects — from Johnny Cash; to a man who escaped Auschwitz by boxing; to Samia Yusuf Omar, a Somalian Olympic runner who drowned trying to reach Europe.

Duration: 00:51:26

Margarethe von Trotta on telling the story of Germany through the eyes of women

Eleanor spoke with revered German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta as part of our 2016 special series, "At the Centre of Europe: A Changing Germany".

Duration: 01:03:21

Edna O'Brien on fear, dreams and LSD

Eleanor Wachtel speaks to the author of "The Country Girls" Trilogy and "The Little Red Chairs" about the power of dreams; her homeland, Ireland; and hallucinogens.

Duration: 00:52:57

Tracy K. Smith on life, death, poetry and outer space

In this conversation from 2016, Eleanor talks to the new Poet Laureate of the United States, Tracy K. Smith. Her last collection, "Life on Mars", won a Pulitzer Prize. Her memoir, "Ordinary Light", explores race, faith and her relationship with her mom.

Duration: 00:55:59

Patricia Grace on telling the stories of New Zealand's Indigenous people

In this conversation from 2003, Eleanor talks to Patricia Grace — one of New Zealand's most celebrated Maori writers.

Duration: 00:52:56

Edward Said's ideas about power and identity still resonate today

Eleanor spoke with Edward Said, the eminent literary and cultural critic, in 1993. The author of "Orientalism" and "Culture and Imperialism" discusses Western attitudes toward the East, and explores the connection between politics and literature.

Duration: 00:51:38

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on why she can't stay silent

Nigerian-American author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke to Eleanor in 2009 about her Orange Prize-winning novel "Half of a Yellow Sun", her story collection "The Thing Around Your Neck", and how Nigeria's civil war continues to haunt her life and fiction.

Duration: 00:52:56

How Canada made Michael Ondaatje a writer

In this conversation from 1998, Eleanor talks to Canadian literary master Michael Ondaatje - author of "The English Patient" - about "Handwriting," a collection of poems about loss, landscape and the power of history in Sri Lanka.

Duration: 00:53:09

Arundhati Roy on love, war and the fragility of happiness

Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy joins Eleanor to discuss "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness", the long-awaited second novel from the author of the Booker Prize winner, "The God of Small Things".

Duration: 00:57:58

Sherman Alexie on his bittersweet relationship with his mother

Eleanor speaks with Native American writer Sherman Alexie about his memoir, "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." The book focuses on his complicated relationship with his mother, and his difficult upbringing on a Spokane reservation in Washington state.

Duration: 00:57:25

Naturalist Charles Foster says living like a badger helped him understand humans

Eleanor speaks with English writer, professor, veterinarian and barrister, Charles Foster. His latest book, "Being a Beast", is a quest to see the world through the senses of five different animal species.

Duration: 00:52:24

British novelist Rose Tremain on love, heroism and the Swiss soul

Eleanor speaks with Orange Prize-winning author Rose Tremain about her latest novel, "The Gustav Sonata" — an exploration of political and personal neutrality set in Switzerland before and after the Second World War.

Duration: 00:52:17

Novelist Tayeb Salih on culture and conflict in the Sudan

From 2002, Eleanor's conversation with the late Sudanese novelist Tayeb Salih, one of the foremost writers of the Arab world. His 1967 novel "Season of Migration to the North" has been called the most important Arabic novel of the 20th Century.

Duration: 00:52:01

Helen Macdonald on grief, dreams and birds of prey

Eleanor speaks with England's Helen Macdonald about her best-selling memoir, "H is for Hawk". In this interview from 2015, Macdonald discusses how she dealt with her father's sudden death by training a goshawk — the fiercest, wildest bird of prey.

Duration: 00:52:06

Voice and identity in America: Francisco Goldman, Imbolo Mbue and David Treuer

Francisco Goldman, Imbolo Mbue and David Treuer reflect on cultural collision in the United States. Eleanor sat down with the three prize-winning writers on stage at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in Montreal.

Duration: 00:52:44

Anita Desai - winner of the 2017 Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival's Grand Prix

In front of a live audience in Montreal, at the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, Eleanor speaks with the festival's Grand Prix winner, Anita Desai, about her life and the award-winning books she's written over more than fifty years.

Duration: 00:58:48

Paula Fox on tackling the book of her own life

A look back at Eleanor's conversation with American novelist and children's book author Paula Fox from 2002. Paula Fox died last month at age 93. In this interview, she discusses her memoir, "Borrowed Finery".

Duration: 00:52:53

George Saunders on love, war, and the American presidency

Eleanor sits down with American writer George Saunders onstage at the Toronto Reference Library. The master of the short story talks about writing his first novel, "Lincoln in the Bardo", which unfolds in a graveyard over a single night in 1862.

Duration: 00:54:00

Nobel laureate Derek Walcott on voice, place, and finding home

Eleanor Wachtel's 2006 conversation with the Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott, who died in March at the age of 87. Walcott was known for poetry that bridged cultures and traditions, making links between his Caribbean and European heritage.

Duration: 00:52:53

Robert Lepage revisits his childhood during Quebec's cultural revolution

Eleanor speaks with Canadian theatre visionary, Robert Lepage. World-renowned for his highly innovative, multimedia productions, his latest work, "887", explores childhood memories in a divided Quebec.

Duration: 00:54:23

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