Shadows on the Road

For Michael Barry, a childhood love of cycling became a career culminating in rides for pro cycling teams including US Postal and Team Sky. He played the part of domestique, the unsung rider in the peloton whose job is to steer the star man – an Armstrong or a Cavendish – to the yellow jersey….

Akhil Sharma’s Family Life

It has taken over twelve years to appear (since his much-lauded debut An Obedient Father), and has changed shape many times along the way, but Akhil Sharma’s eagerly-anticipated second novel is now with us. Family Life, based on very real events, is published this month. We caught up with the author at the end of…

Into the Trees

Robert Williams is back this month with his third novel, Into the Trees, which again sees him exploring the themes of family, home, security and enveloping chaos. But something is different this time: Williams is writing in the third-person. It’s a significant development, demonstrating an author growing more confident. As he tells his editor in…

Turkey’s Problem: Why the Corruption Tapes Don’t Matter

‘No one expected the protests, but they have shown the world, and Turks themselves, that the country is far more complicated than it looks from polling data’ (from the introduction to Turkish Awakening). Post Arab-Spring, Turkey had to Western onlookers appeared to be handling its transition to democracy quite smoothly. But last summer, as she…

Jean Hanff Korelitz on You Should Have Known

You knew right at the beginning. She knew he was never going to stop looking at other women. She knew he couldn’t save money. She knew he was contemptuous of her … But then she somehow let herself un-know what she knew. A smart, addictive and psychologically acute novel, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s You Should Have…

Sisters Side by Side

Neil McKenna’s rollicking and extremely colourful Fanny and Stella is an account of the lives and loves of two effeminate cross-dressing young men whom Victorian society found every bit as shocking as Oscar Wilde (the subject of the author’s previous award-winning biography). Like Wilde, Fanny and Stella found themselves on trial for the way they…

Turned Out Nice

The UK has seen its wettest January for more than a century, whilst California is suffering its worst drought for the same amount of time. And whilst the band of climate change deniers seems only to grow, the general consensus is that global warming is causing irreversible damage to all parts of the globe. In…

What Does Lord of the Flies Mean to You?

To mark the 60th anniversary of the publication of Lord of the Flies, William Golding Ltd will be publishing a special commemorative ebook in 2014. They are looking for contributions from William Golding fans – and they’d especially like to hear from schools – throughout the world to feature in the book, with reflections on…

Inside Llewyn Davis with T Bone Burnett

T Bone Burnett, the renowned musician who played on Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder tour, is a songwriter and soundtrack and record producer, working with artists as varied as Roy Orbison, John Mellencamp, Elvis Costello and Diana Krall, Elton John, Tony Bennett, and many others. Burnett won Grammy Awards for the soundtrack of the Coen Brothers’…

Ace, King, Knave, Maria McCann

Our final podcast of 2013 finds us once again in the company of Maria McCann, who we first interviewed in 2010. Her book then was The Wilding – a novel set during the Restoration period, and which appeared on the longlist for the Orange Prize. For her new book, Ace, King, Knave, Maria has moved…

Benjamin Britten: Desert Island Discs

The premise of the fifth of our Benjamin Britten centenary podcasts is a simple one – we ask our contributors if they could take just one work by Britten to a desert island, what would it be? This is the fifth of our Britten podcasts and in previous instalments (all available to enjoy at your…

Benjamin Britten: His Musical Legacy

In the fourth of our special podcasts to mark the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, we examine the great British composer’s musical legacy – his music, the recordings, his place in the concert hall, and his influence on a younger generation of musicians and composers. In his book Essential Britten, filmmaker and Britten…

Reading Angus Wilson

Angus Wilson (1913-91) was one of the great English novelists and short story writers of the 20th century. Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Middle Age of Mrs Eliot, and knighted for services to literature, Wilson was much admired by fellow writers. P. D. James described him as a ‘writer of…

Benjamin Britten: Britten and Boys

The third programme in our series of Britten podcasts looks at perhaps the most controversial aspect of Britten’s biography – the sequence of relationships he had throughout his life with adolescent boys. The principal guest in this instalment is John Bridcut, who produced a documentary and subsequently wrote a book entitled Britten’s Children. And we…

Benjamin Britten: A Documented Life

‘The best-documented composer of any composer in history’, reckons John Bridcut. In the second of our Britten podcasts we look at some of the evidence that later writers and musicians have to work with when they come to assess Britten the musician and the man. Contributing to this podcast are author and film-maker John Bridcut…