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The Hatchards Podcast

  • Richard Flanagan on Question 7: HG Wells, Hiroshima, and How to Live

    11 JUN 2024 · On this episode, we were joined by Booker Prize-winning author Richard Flanagan to discuss his fascinating new memoir, 'Question 7', a meditation on the decisions that we make and the reverberating effects that these choices can have on the course of history. Richard spoke to us about why he feels that books must exist outside the moral grammar, and why good readers are as important as good writers. He shared amusing anecdotes about a life spent on the road promoting his work, and his dissatisfaction with living in cities – where value is placed on the man-made over the natural world.  Finally, he contemplates the difficult question of whether he would even be sitting across from us had the atom bomb not been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, freeing his father after years of back-breaking work in a Japanese POW camp. 'Question 7' has been chosen as the Hatchards Non-Fiction Book of the Month for June. Signed copies can be purchased across our three shops as well as on our website.
    Played 34m 14s
  • Rachel Khong on Real Americans: Mao, Memory, and Multigenerational Trauma

    14 MAY 2024 · On this episode, we were joined by Rachel Khong, author of the New York Times bestseller Real Americans – a multigenerational story about a Chinese American family that is three great novels wrapped into one.  The novel begins in New York City just before the attacks on September 11th when an unpaid intern with immigrant parents meets and falls in love with a blue-blooded stranger who is heir to a vast pharmaceutical empire. As the story moves back and forth in time – from China’s cultural revolution of the 1960s to Silicon Valley in 2030 – our perspective shifts between the members of the family, with their stories exploring themes of race, class, and cultural identity.  Rachel spoke with us about her journey towards writing this epic novel; Western ignorance towards the legacy of the Chinese dictator Mao Zedong, a literary phenomenon known as the 'The Gosling Effect'; and the differences in family relationships between the East and West.
    Played 35m 9s
  • Percival Everett on James: Mark Twain, Tennis, and Nat Turner's Rebellion

    2 MAY 2024 · On this episode, we were joined by author Percival Everett — Booker Prize finalist and poet of “pathological irony,” — to discuss his landmark new book, James, a retelling of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the point of view of Jim.  Following the retirement of his longtime editor in 2021, this novel casts Everett into the centre of the literary ‘moment’ with the book climbing the UK’s bestseller lists despite it sacrificing none of the madcap invention or gallows humour that has cemented his cult reputation.  It also comes in the wake of his 2001 novel, Erasure, being adapted into the Oscar-winning film, American Fiction, itself a satire of a writer entering the literary mainstream.  Percival spoke to us about why his book is neither homage nor take down of Twain’s iconic novel; why ‘distractions’ like fishing and tennis are essential to his process; and finally, that thorny American issue — in his view the only American issue — addressing the legacy of slavery.  Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Lily Woods ( manager). --- License code: 85XNG3LATUC91LTM
    Played 31m 55s
  • Andrew O'Hagan on Caledonian Road: Dickens, Drill Gangs, and the Dark Web

    2 APR 2024 · On this episode, we were joined by author Andrew O’Hagan to discuss his truly exciting new novel, Caledonian Road, which has been selected as the Hatchards Fiction Book of the Month for April. Wedged between two epochal events that have shaped our age — the global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — the story follows Campbell Flynn, art historian, TV presenter, London resident, and man in free fall, as a web of crime and conspiracy eviscerates his sense of self-identity and redefines what it means to be a “good liberal” at a time where nothing is above scrutiny. Andrew spoke us to about taking inspiration from classic Victorian novels; how his time spent with figures like Julian Assange and South London gangs informs the book’s characters; why novelists should write without fear; and as Andrew is Glaswegian, we cover the city’s ill-fated “Willy Wonka Experience” that grabbed global headlines back in March. Signed copies of the book are now available to be purchased in-store or on our website.  Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey. --- Music from #Uppbeat (free for Creators!): License code: ARSRS82KANYK7CLW
    Played 52m 49s
  • Robert P. Kolker and Nathan Abrams on Stanley Kubrick: An Odyssey

    20 FEB 2024 · On this episode, we were joined by authors Robert P. Kolker and Nathan Abrams to discuss Kubrick: An Odyssey, their authoritative new biography on the life and work of the legendary filmmaker behind The Shining, Dr. Strangelove, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Robert and Nathan spoke to us about the process of rendering the mythology of Kubrick into flesh and blood; the rogues gallery of famous personalities that provided conflicting firsthand accounts; Kubrick's creative and personal life in the UK; and of course, the films, which according to our guests, represent the most rigorous body of work in the history of cinema. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey. --- Music from #Uppbeat (free for Creators!): License code: QTA3SKCGWYOG4OVQ
    Played 49m 35s
  • Hisham Matar on My Friends: London, Libya, and Living in Exile

    30 JAN 2024 · On this episode, we were joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hisham Matar to discuss his brilliant new novel ‘My Friends,’ which tells the story of three exiled Libyan friends living in London over the course of four decades, each marked by an act of real political violence which occurred at the Libyan embassy in St. James’s Square in 1984. The author is himself an exile, having fled the country as a child due his father’s vocal criticism of the Qaddafi regime, ultimately settling in London, where he has lived for many years. Hisham spoke to us about the long journey towards completing this highly personal novel; why he believes that authors are rarely in control of their own work; and the challenges of attempting to live freely as an exile, all the while knowing that your compatriots are struggling back home. The novel is full of warmth, brilliant storytelling, and great style, all attributes which can also be used to describe this episode's guest.
    Played 43m 44s
  • Dolly Alderton on Good Material: Heartbreak, Millennial Hatred, and Male Pattern Baldness

    12 DEC 2023 · On this episode, we were joined by acclaimed journalist and writer Dolly Alderton, who's latest novel, Good Material, follows a standup comedian in his mid-30s navigating “The Madness” that follows an unexpected breakup with his longtime girlfriend, Jen. As Andy attempts to discover the flaw in himself that points to where it all went wrong, Dolly puts through him a series of alternatively hilarious and heartbreaking set pieces — a brief sojourn living on a houseboat; an album in his phone called ‘bald’ where he takes a picture of his receding hairline each day; and a disastrous karaoke date with a holier-than-thou Gen-Z hipster. In our conversation, Dolly spoke to us about charting the course of Andy’s breakup from a male point-of-view; her interest in the world of comedians; how she’s been both Andy and Jen in relationships; as well as her fascination with generations, and why she feels that millennials have never been given their due. Spoiler warning - the final minutes of this episode include a discussion about the book's last chapter. Proceed with caution if you don't wish to know how it ends!
    Played 28m 16s
  • Zadie Smith on The Fraud: Lies from Victorian England to OJ Simpson

    14 NOV 2023 · On this episode, we were joined by one of the most acclaimed writers of her generation, Zadie Smith, who's latest novel, The Fraud, tells the story of the most notorious English trial of the 19th century, and rightfully places slavery at the invisible centre of the traditional Victorian novel. In our conversation, Zadie explains how she brought this vivid world of real-life characters to being; among them a famous British novelist and a freed slave from a sugar plantation in Jamaica; and why the lives of these Victorians connect so deeply to the concerns of the present day. Far from a typical interview, we also spoke about a range of interesting topics, including, but not limited to: Donald Trump; OJ Simpson; David Foster Wallace and the 90s literati; the attention economy and its effects on modern reading; and why she believes you can love things like English country houses and classic Hollywood movies and still acknowledge the dark histories that gave them their power.
    Played 49m 23s
  • Roger Lewis on the 'Erotic Vagrancy' of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

    24 OCT 2023 · On this episode, were were joined by celebrated British cultural biographer Roger Lewis, who's latest book, Erotic Vagrancy, is an extravagant, decade-in-the-making portrait of the ultimate love-hate relationship – the marriage of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. In our conversation, Roger lays bare everything that made these two such an endless subject of fascination for the public; their cinematic successes and more legendary flops; Burton's place in the West End firmament; and of course, their legendary addictions, punch-ups, divorces, hospital bills, and stays in Rome, Paris, New York, London, where chaos followed wherever they went. Roger also spoke to us about his lifelong obsession with British pop culture, having authored biographies of Peter Sellers, Peter O'Toole, and Charles Hawtrey, and why these subjects remain essential to understanding our shared cultural history – and his opinion, should probably be taught at Sixth Form.
    Played 34m 43s
  • Benjamín Labatut on The Maniac: From the Atomic Bomb to Artificial Intelligence

    27 SEP 2023 · On this episode, we were joined International Booker Prize shortlisted author Benjamín Labatut, who’s first novel written in English is The Maniac, a dark exploration of genius, telling three gripping stories about the consequences of scientific breakthroughs untethered by moral or ethical boundaries. Benjamín spoke with us about his interest in humanity’s search for new forms of consciousness, be it through modern computers or the centuries old use of psychoactive drugs by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. He also explained that in matters of literature, something considered “morally good” should be not confused with being interesting. With the book depicting 20th century breakthroughs like the creation of the atom bomb and the eventual rise of AI, we also raised the question about releasing this book in the year of Oppenheimer and ChatGPT. Needless to say, the ideas explore in his new novel – and relayed in our conversation – could not be more timely or relevant.
    Played 40m 2s

The Hatchards Podcast is a conversation show about books brought to you by England’s oldest bookshop. Featuring interviews with some of our favourite authors, bookish waffle, and the occasional glass...

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The Hatchards Podcast is a conversation show about books brought to you by England’s oldest bookshop. Featuring interviews with some of our favourite authors, bookish waffle, and the occasional glass of wine. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey.
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