The Faber Podcast
In a special two-part interview, George Miller talks to Kazuo Ishiguro about his new book Nocturnes, a collection of longish short stories with related themes of music and night, and ambition and disappointment. Under discussion are the challenges of writing in an unfamiliar form, and Ishiguro's approach to writing comedy.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was the long-awaited first novel from one of today’s most original and electrifying literary voices, Junot Diaz. The book was published early in 2008, which is when we were lucky enough to welcome Junot to the Faber offices, and when he gave this great interview.
In this latest Faber Podcast, recorded in March 2011, our interviewer George Miller meets Edna O'Brien, doyenne of Irish literature and author of numerous books and plays spanning a period of six decades. Edna tells us about her new book of stories, Saints and Sinners, and reveals her writing methods, influences and a progress report on her forthcoming memoir. We also speak to Indian novelist Manju Kapur about her fifth book, Custody, which continues her familiar theme of the effects of globalisation and modernisation on everyday Indian people's lives.
This month our regular interviewer George Miller speaks to the Guardian's Jonathan Watts about his new book When a Billion Chinese Jump, his unrivalled eye-witness account of China's industrial rise and the consequent impact on its people and environment. He also speaks to David Olusoga, co-author of The Kaiser's Holocaust, about 19th-century colonialism, in particular Germany's incursion into Africa which took a genocidal turn, and arguably laid the foundations for Nazism.
In our latest Faber Podcast we speak to Norman Lebrecht and Francis Spufford. They both address similar questions in their books: how do you capture the essence of real lives; how do you escape some of the constraints of conventional non-fiction and biography; and how can you borrow some of the novelist's techniques and still remain faithful to your subjects. In Why Mahler? and Red Plenty, Lebrecht and Spufford offer their own unique solutions ...
In our latest podcast Louise Doughty, with her sixth novel Whatever You Love, tells us how she managed to explore the darkest territory imaginable - dealing with the death of a child. We also talk to science writer Marek Kohn about climate change and the implications it has for all of us - in the UK and beyond - which is the subject of his new book, Turned Out Nice.
There's glamour and drama in both books featured in this month's Faber Podcast. In his new novel The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his Friend Marilyn Monroe, Andrew O'Hagan gives us a canine's eye-view of the whirlwind final years in the life of the Hollywood icon. Meanwhile, in Lucy Worsley's Courtiers, the milieu is the Georgian Royal Household, where life below-stairs goes hand-in-hand with all the fun above-stairs.
This month, George Miller interviews scholar James Shapiro and novelist Maria McCann, both of whom have explored historical themes in their recent work. In Professor James Shapiro's latest work Contested Will: Who Really Wrote Shakespeare? he delves into a subject that has divided scholars and historians for centuries. In new novel, The Wilding, Maria McCann brings to life a tumultuous family story, played out over generations, and set during the Restoration.
Our guests this month are Robin Dunbar and Alex Preston. Robin Dunbar is Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford and in How Many Friends Does One Person Need? he tackles aspects of human nature, taking in Twitter, Facebook and Dunbar's Number. Alex Preston is the author of This Bleeding City, his debut, cautionary tale of a City insider caught amidst a personal and professional boom and bust.
America looms large in the new novels by Jonathan Lethem and Peter Carey, the interviewees in February 2010's Faber Podcast. George Miller discusses modern-day Manhattan - both real and unreal - as portrayed by Lethem in Chronic City, a book rich in metaphors. Peter Carey's Parrot and Olivier in America goes back a couple of centuries, but as Carey makes clear, there are clear parallels between an America in its infancy and today's state of affairs.