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Interviews

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Has anything in the recent past had a bigger effect on writers and writing than Twitter?

12 September 2013 9:30

I’ve been trying to think of something – anything – in recent years that has had a bigger effect on the working day of the average writer than Twitter. And… Continue reading

4 Comments
Detail from the front cover of 'The Pleasure Ground' by Richard Murphy, published by Bloodaxe.

Interview with a poet: Richard Murphy, an old Spectator hand

10 September 2013 10:30

Richard Murphy was born in County Mayo in Ireland in 1927. He spent part of his childhood in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) where his father was the last British mayor… Continue reading

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Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland, which has been longlisted for Booker, was partly inspired by watching her children's relationship.

Interview with a writer: Jhumpa Lahiri, author of Booker longlisted The Lowland

9 September 2013 9:30

The Lowland is the magnificent new novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, which has been longlisted for this year’s Man Booker prize. It tells the story of two brothers, Subhash and Udayan,… Continue reading

2 Comments
A group of Indian school children rides a cycle van to reach school near Kolkata. A reminder of how far India has yet to travel. (DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)

Amartya Sen interview: India must fulfil Tagore’s vision, not Gandhi’s

20 August 2013 11:19

Amartya Sen is Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. Sen’s previous books include: Development as Freedom; Rationality and Freedom; The Argumentative Indian;… Continue reading

2 Comments
Tribeca Talks After The Movie: The List - 2012 Tribeca Film Festival

George Packer interview: The American Dream is dangerous because people yearn for it to be true

2 July 2013 16:27

George Packer is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Assassins Gate: America in Iraq, a book that received several prizes. Packer’s other non-fiction books… Continue reading

4 Comments
Fireworks light up the night sky above the National Stadium also known as the "Bird's Nest" during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 24, 2008.(FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Timothy Beardson interview: It’s urgent that China reforms

25 June 2013 11:32

Recent convulsions in China’s banks will not, I suspect, have surprised Timothy Beardson, a sinophile, veteran Hong Kong financier and author of Stumbling Giant: The Threats to China’s Future. He… Continue reading

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Prize winning novelist Ben Fountain warns that writers must never trust politicians.

Ben Fountain interview: Lies are an affront to writers because lying is the corruption of language

18 June 2013 16:23

Ben Fountain’s debut short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, was published in America eighteen years after he left his job at a Dallas real estate law firm to… Continue reading

4 Comments
Journey Of The Cross And Icon Takes Place In Sydney

The fatuousness of a scientist. Steve Jones edition

10 June 2013 9:00

It’s refreshing to hear an eminent scientist like Professor Steve Jones concede that their discipline has delivered less than it promised, and to hear him voice scepticism about the pace… Continue reading

18 Comments
he Cleansing of Naaman by Elisha. Woodcut from the Biblia Sacra Germanaica

Professor Steve Jones: Why I think religion is a bad thing

10 June 2013 8:45

Steve Jones is Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London. Some of his previous books include: The Language of Genes, Y: The Descent of Men, The Single Helix, and… Continue reading

59 Comments
(MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Sheila Heti: ‘I did worry putting sex in the book would eclipse everything else’

31 May 2013 9:27

There is a question which writers (and readers) of literary fiction get tired of hearing: which bits really happened? The traditional and respectable answer is that this doesn’t matter. Everything… Continue reading

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Fireworks explode over the stadium during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, an event that catalysed the measure of Chinese self-confidence captured in Chan Koon Chung's The Fat Years.

Chan Koon Chung – banned in China

29 May 2013 10:29

Chan Koon Chung’s previous novel, The Fat Years, was set in a gently dystopian Beijing of 2013, when a whole month is missing from the Chinese public’s awareness, and everyone… Continue reading

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Tory backbencher Jesse Norman. Picture: PA

Jesse Norman interview: Edmund Burke, our chief of men

24 May 2013 9:00

When he arrived in London, Burke had a very brief career in law. He soon dedicated his time to critical thinking, writing and politics. Burke published a number of ground… Continue reading

6 Comments
The Sun Sets Behind The Houses Of Parliament

Michael Sandel interview: the marketization of everything is undermining democracy

22 May 2013 9:41

Michael Sandel is a political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his  ‘Justice’ course, which he has taught for over two decades. Sandel first… Continue reading

1 Comment
Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng poses after winning the Man Asian Literary Prize for his novel 'The Garden of Evening Mists'. (PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Tan Twan Eng interview: ‘I have no alternative but to write in English’

20 May 2013 11:10

Tan Twan Eng’s first novel was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, his second was shortlisted and then won the Man Asian Literary Prize. To say that his work over… Continue reading

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Nate Silver. Photo: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Nate Silver interview: ‘Politics is uniquely full of bullshit’

17 May 2013 9:16

Nate Silver doesn’t suffer fools gladly — especially fools who pass themselves off as experts. In the second chapter of his book, The Signal and the Noise: The Art and… Continue reading

16 Comments
A woman campaigns for the taxing of rich people at an Occupy protest. Picture: Getty.

Interview: David Graeber, leading figure of Occupy

3 May 2013 9:00

The anarchist movement in the United States has had the support of leading libertarian intellectuals, such as Noam Chomsky; but it has lacked a figure who could transform its guiding… Continue reading

16 Comments
Meeting of Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold outside Calais in 1520.

Brendan Simms: A strong, united Europe is in Britain’s interest

2 May 2013 12:25

Since the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, European history has been dominated by two themes: the centrality of Germany and the primacy of foreign policy. This is the argument of… Continue reading

12 Comments
Should we be worried if Google rules the world?

Interview with a writer: Evgeny Morozov

26 April 2013 10:15

Evgeny Morozov is an iconoclast. He believes that technology, if abused or misused, has the potential to make society less free. His latest book, To Save Everything , Click Here,… Continue reading

1 Comment
The Fun Stuff by James Wood is published by Jonathan Cape.

Interview with James Wood

12 April 2013 8:15

James Wood is arguably the most celebrated, possibly the most impugned, and definitely the most envied, literary journalist living. By his mid twenties he was the chief book reviewer for… Continue reading

2 Comments
The sun sets over the river Liffey in Dublin. (BARRY CRONIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Interview with a writer: Kevin Maher

5 April 2013 10:30

Kevin Maher’s debut novel The Fields is set in the suburban streets of south Dublin in 1984. The story is narrated by Jim Finnegan: an innocent 13-year-old boy who lives… Continue reading

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John Banville's The Sea wins the 2005 Booker Prize. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Interview with a writer: John Banville

29 March 2013 11:00

The salubrious surroundings of the Waldorf Hotel seem like a very apt setting to interview a master of style and sophistication. When I arrive in the lobby, John Banville is… Continue reading

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Should we be worried if Google rules the world?

Interview with a writer: Jaron Lanier

22 March 2013 9:30

In his new book, Who Owns The Future?, computer scientist, Jaron Lanier, argues that as technology has become more advanced, so too has our dependency on information tools. Lanier believes that… Continue reading

20 Comments
Lars Iyer says that his books attempt to puncture the modern world's sentimental view of the past and sentimental hopes for the future. (Image: Getty)

Interview with a writer: Lars Iyer

6 March 2013 9:40

People call Lars Iyer a ‘cult author,’ which is odd, because almost every paper to have reviewed him from here to Los Angeles has praised him endlessly. The ‘cult’ thing… Continue reading

2 Comments
Papuan tribal warriors from Karang Senang village armed with bows and arrows prepare to attack the neighboring Harapan village after two Karang Senang tribesmen were killed in the raging tribal war in Mimika town located in Indonesia's restive Papua province. Authorities effort to mediate between the warring tribes have failed as violence erupted in 2012.  (TJAHJONO ERANIUS/AFP/GettyImages)

Interview with a writer: Jared Diamond

1 March 2013 10:55

In his latest book The World Until Yesterday, Jared Diamond analyses the behavioral differences between human beings in tribal stateless-societies and those living in bureaucratic nation states. Diamond says that if… Continue reading

6 Comments
President Barack Obama presents John Ashbery with a National Arts and Humanities Medal in February 2012. Image: Getty

Interview with a writer: John Ashbery

1 February 2013 9:30

John Ashbery is recognized as one of the most eminent American poets of the twentieth-century. He also been called America’s greatest living poet today. Ashbery published his first book of… Continue reading

2 Comments