Gore Vidal on Italo Calvino

May 14, 2012 § 2 Comments

Gore Vidal sat down with Riz Khan to discuss Italo Calvino, whom Vidal describes as “the only great writer of my time”. Vidal’s essay on Calvino is available here.

John Steinbeck’s Nobel Speech

May 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

‘I am here not to squeak like a grateful and apologetic mouse but to roar like a lion out of pride in my profession.’

Fighting Words: Norman Mailer explains the hipster

April 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

From the CBC Digital Archives. (h/t Waqas Mirza)

In a departure from the usual Fighting Words format, American author Norman Mailer sits down for an in-depth discussion of “hip.” Mailer, a self-proclaimed philosopher of hip, teaches host Nathan Cohen about the differences between hips and squares, and discovers the true meaning of hip as the two men chain-smoke their way through this wonderful 1960 interview. Be there or be square.

The Romantics — Eternity

April 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is the third part of a three part BBC documentary series on the Romantics, hosted by Peter Ackroyd. You can also watch the first episode ‘Liberty‘ and the second, ‘Nature‘.

Peter Ackroyd reveals how the radical ideas of liberty that inspired the French Revolution opened up a world of possibility for great British writers such as William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, inspiring some of the greatest works of literature in the English language. Their ideas are the foundations of our modern notions of freedom and their words are performed by David Tennant, Dudley Sutton and David Threlfall.

The Romantics — Nature

April 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is the second part of a three part BBC documentary series on the Romantics, hosted by Peter Ackroyd. You can now watch the first part ‘Liberty’ here, and the third, ‘Eternity‘.

Peter Ackroyd summons the ghosts of the Romantics to tell the story of man’s escape from the shackles of industry and commerce to the freedom of nature.

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The Romantics — Liberty

April 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is the first in a three part BBC documentary series on the Romantics, hosted by Peter Ackroyd. You can now also watch ‘Nature‘, the second part of this series, and ‘Eternity‘, the third.

Peter Ackroyd reveals how the radical ideas of liberty that inspired the French Revolution opened up a world of possibility for great British writers such as William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, inspiring some of the greatest works of literature in the English language. Their ideas are the foundations of our modern notions of freedom and their words are performed by David Tennant, Dudley Sutton and David Threlfall.

Nordic Noir: The Story of Scandinavian Crime Fiction

April 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Another episode from the BBC’s excellent Time Shift series.  (Also see the earlier installment about Italian crime fiction).

Draw the curtains and dim the lights for a chilling trip north for a documentary which investigates the success of Scandinavian crime fiction and why it exerts such a powerful hold on our imagination.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a literary blockbuster that has introduced millions of readers to the phenomenon that is Scandinavian crime fiction – yet author Stieg Larsson spent his life in the shadows and didn’t live to see any of his books published. It is one of the many mysteries the programme investigates as it travels to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland in search of the genre’s most acclaimed writers and memorable characters.

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