Episode 115 - Gary Younge: Part 3

22Jun

In part three of Gary Younge's conversation with This Writing Life podcast, we continue our discussion of his extraordinary book A Day in the Death of America. We begin by discussing the idea of choice in the lives of the teenagers Younge writes about - all of whom are either the victims of gun violence, or the perpetrator. Younge weighs up role of personal responsibility against a culture and society in which gun violence is simply more likely. He recalls the tragic example of Justin, who was shot in a case of mistaken identity whilst driving on the streets of Goldsboro, North Carolina. Keep reading →

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Episode 114 - Gary Younge: Part 2

15Jun

In part two of This Writing Life's conversation with Gary Younge about his powerful book Another Day in the Death of America, we begin by discussing the place of guns in the stories he tells: the deaths by gun-shots on one random day of teenagers across the United States. What makes America different with regards gun-crime? Do guns kill people, or is it the people themselves? Keep reading →

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Episode 113 - Gary Younge: Part 1

30May

Gary Younge is an acclaimed writer and journalist, best known for his reporting on the United States for the Guardian in the United Kingdom. The author of several books, he spoke to This Writing Life podcast about his most recent: Another Day in the Death in America (Faber & Faber). As he explains in the introduction, its premise is tragically simple: every day on average seven children and teens are shot dead by guns in America. Younge decided to tell the story of one day, 23rd November 2013, selected at random, on which 10 young people were killed.

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Episode 112 - Kevin Sullivan: Part 5

27May

The final part of Kevin Sullivan's conversation with This Writing Life podcast arrives after a slight delay for a summer holiday. We begin by asking whether Kevin has a typical writing day - a pressing matter given his long career as a foreign correspondent. From here we move through his creative process as a novelist (editing and re-writing) to the challenges of writing from the middle of a war zone. We also discuss his human rights work with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), above all in identifying those murdered at Srebrenica.

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Episode 111 - Kevin Sullivan: Part 4

1May

In the fourth part of This Writing Life's conversation with journalist and novelist Kevin Sullivan, we move away from his experiences reporting on the siege of Sarajevo to his writing career more generally.

Sullivan discussed his formative literary loves, his romantic ideas of the foreign correspondent, before delving into the reality of writing about conflict from across the world. He recalls riots in Korea and finding himself in the middle of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Part 5 of 5 to follow.

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Episode 110 - Kevin Sullivan: Part 3

21Apr

'It was the loudest explosion I’ve ever heard.' Kevin Sullivan begins part three of his conversation with This Writing Life podcast by remembering the landmine explosion that almost killed him while he was reporting in Gornji Vakuf, in the early days of the Bosnian war.

Having described his dramatic rescue, Sullivan recalls the revelation that occurred as he lay in a nearby basement with two broken legs: 'I was very conscious then that however dramatic this experience is for me these [Bosnian] people lying on the same concrete floor are not going to get taken away and given morphine and the latest medical treatment.'

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Episode 109 - Kevin Sullivan: Part 2

17Apr

In part two of This Writing Life's conversation with the journalist and novelist Kevin Sullivan, we begin by asking why he travelled from Tokyo to Sarajevo in 1991 on the brink of the Bosnian War.

Sullivan offers his first impressions and a brief comparison of the city before the siege began, 25 years ago. 'It was such a great place to live.'

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Episode 108 - Kevin Sullivan: Part 1

6Apr

Our next guest on This Writing Life podcast is the journalist and novelist Kevin Sullivan. His latest novel, The Longest Winter, is set during the siege of Sarajevo, which began almost twenty-five-years ago to the day in April 1992. Sullivan covered the conflict as a journalist, and almost lost his life in the nearby town of Gornji Vakuf, when the Land Rover he was travelling in hit a landmine. Sullivan began The Longest Winter shortly after, whilst recuperating in Glasgow, but it would take many more years for the final story to be completed. Keep reading →

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Episode 107 - LS Hilton: Part 2

27Mar

There's only so much a nice podcast can take. In part two of This Writing Life's chat with LS Hilton, we dive into Maestra, the global blockbuster that made its author's name (albeit with initials replacing Lisa). We begin by asking how much of a departure its compostion was for LSH, as are calling her these days.

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Episode 106 - LS Hilton: Part 1

16Mar

In a new two-part episode, This Writing Life meets Lisa Hilton: journalist, historian and novelist. Her 15 year-career has produced five works of non-fiction, and three of fiction. Yet it took just one book to make her name, albeit under the thin veil of LS Hilton.

Published in 2016, Maestra was a marmite erotic thriller, that provoked controversy, accalaim and headlines across the world. Rejected by Hilton's own agent who found it 'disgusting', and then by almost every English publisher, it found a home first with a film agent, and then with the up and coming Zaffre Press. 50 Shades of Grey, but cut with American Psycho and Patricia Highsmith, it told the coming-of-rage tale of Judith, an ammoral art historian-turned-call-girl -turned-international-swindler-murderer-sex-kitten. It is unnerving, gripping and darkly funny in equal measure.

The challenge facing This Writing Life: how long can we talk to Lisa Hilton about her career without mentioning her succès de scandale? Find out by listening below. 

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