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In the latest podcast, we are closing the year with some fantastic interviews. We hear from Liz Nugent, Cressida Connolly, Cólm Toibín, Arzu Tahsin and Rosemary Davidson. We also get Lucy Scholes' take on Cassandra Darke.
'People emigrating was a cause of great sadness and great sorrow within families in Ireland'
- Liz Nugent, author of Skin Deep
'Cassandra Darke by Posy Simmonds is a perfect Christmas book for our dark times.’
Lucy Scholes and Elena Lappin
'There would always be a time when we would shove the manuscripts aside and we'd get on with making things’
- Arzu Tahsin and Rosemary Davidson, former publishers and co-authors of Craftfulness
'I wanted to show how easily people get sucked into populist movements, then and today... Nostalgia is a very good net with which to catch people’
- Cressida Connolly, author of After the Party
For our last podcast this year, we bring our listeners and readers an eclectic mix of deeply satisfying and stimulating books for this holiday season and beyond.
Two renowned Dublin authors open the podcast, in very different but not unrelated ways. Novelist Cólm Toibín reads an extract from his beautiful new collection of essays, Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats and Joyce (Viking Penguin, audiobook edition). He explores the intriguing connections between these Irish literary greats’ writing and their relationships with their fathers. And Irish author Liz Nugent talks to us (directly from Dublin!) about her intense psychological thriller Skin Deep, in which an unusual father-daughter love triggers a tragic sequence of events in the life of a beautiful child from a remote Irish island whose loss of home and family leads to a lifelong chain of reinvented identities.
Critic Lucy Scholes returns with her December Book Post, to discuss the new graphic novel Cassandra Darke by Posy Simmonds (Jonathan Cape). We both agree that it is a perfect Christmas book (and gift!), albeit with a uniquely dark take on a female Scrooge-like character. You really do have to meet Cassandra Darke and enjoy the humour, social satire and a simply wonderful contemporary tale of urban crime and punishment from this masterful graphic novelist.
Arzu Tahsin and Rosemary Davidson are not only co-authors of Craftfulness: Mend Yourself by Making Things (Quercus), but also former editors, with an illustrious history in publishing world famous titles. I loved chatting to them about how they published worldwide bestsellers like The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, the first novel by now award-winning novelist Jon McGregor, and Schott's Miscellany, the first international bestseller by Ben Schott who was a guest on our podcast last month. Despite their busy and creative careers, Arzu and Rosemary discovered a shared love of crafts and making things, as a counterbalance of calm and a source of another type of creativity. Their book is a wonderful read and an insightful guide to how we can focus on ourselves in our hectic lives.
My Pick this month is a perfect book for this season: Snow: A Biography by Giles Whittell (Short Books). The author is a journalist (currently with Tortoise Media after 25 years at The Times), and author of several other non-fiction books. Snow is a delightful and exciting meditation on every aspect of this magical phenomenon, from the science behind the uniqueness of each snowflake to a look at the history and future of our planet. I loved Whittle’s way of conjuring up memories of snow in one's own life, and their effect on our sense of happiness. As he so beautifully puts it: ‘Snow has a lot in common with religion. It comes from heaven. It changes everything.’
My final interview on this podcast is with renowned literary critic and novelist Cressida Connolly, about her highly praised historical novel After the Party (Penguin). Set mostly in the late 1930s and early 1940s, it is the story of a woman who participated in the activities of the British fascist party, seduced by the personality of their leader Sir Oswald Mosley. The novel has eerie echoes of the times we live in now. Cressida Connolly offers a truly illuminating take on a difficult political reality, via the art of fiction.
I hope you enjoy these conversations. We will return in February 2019 with a special podcast featuring the winner of The LoveReading Very Short Story Award.
Happy Holidays - and happy holiday reading! - to all our LoveReading friends. Please follow us on twitter, and do send us your feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for listening to The LoveReading Podcast.
Elena Lappin, Host and Editor.
00:59 Cólm Toibín
03:48 Liz Nugent
21:59 Book Post with Lucy Scholes
33:50 Arzu Tahsin & Rosemary Davidson
49:07 Elena Lappin’s Pick of the Month
51:19 Cressida Connolly
1:13:02 Conclusion and Credits