Episode 122 - Rick Bass: Part 4 - For a Little While


In part four of This Writing Life's conversation with Rick Bass, whose new book For a Little While (Pushkin) on 2017's Story Prize, we talk about his love of the short story, and why it is the most human of literary forms. We return to the relationship between Bass's environmentalism and his writing, before skipping off again onto nature writing and finally the difference between optimism and hope in Bass's conception of humankind. Buried somewhere in all this, Bass refuses to talk about his new novel. 'It's an old writer's taboo...'

The fifth and final part to follow next week.


Episode 121 - Rick Bass: are you optimisitic about human nature?


A short trailer for part 4 of This Writing Life's conversation with Rick Bass. In which Rick answers the question: are you optimisitic about human nature?

Episode 120 - Rick Bass: Part 3 - For a Little While


Part three of This Writing Life's transatlantic chat with a Montana-bound Rick Bass takes in the material in Episode 119: in which Rick reviews his short story career in For a Little While (Pushkin), and attempting to describe what it feels like to be lost in a story.

In between he discusses the connections between writing and geology, about following his imaginative nose through a story. To finish, we talk about his story 'Elk', which first appeared in the New Yorker, images of substrata and blue in his work, and the mysteriousness of his own characters.

Part 4 to follow.

Episode 119 - Rick Bass on his collection For a Little While (and getting lost in writing)


'You are a stranger inhabiting this blazing dream and you barely get out with your life...yeah, and then you go to the bar for a drink.'

A Writing Life podlet, in which Rick Bass recalls what's like to review your career (to date) in his superb collection of stories, For a Little While (Pushkin Press), which won 2017's Story Prize. From here Bass tries to explain what it feels like when inspiration strikes and fades.

Episode 118 - Rick Bass: Part 2 - For a Little While


Part two of This Writing Life's transatlantic conversation with Rick Bass, novelist, activist, award-winning short story writer, begins with a question referencing Philip Larkin, Romanticism and Transcendentalism and continues with an answer discussing fiction, geology, humans and time: 'We are new to this world. We don't know how to be in this old world.' Keep reading →

Episode 117 - Rick Bass: Part 1 - For a Little While


'I am working on a new novel...and an op-ed for the Los Angeles paper about Trump and his reign of terror.' Here in one line is This Writing Life's lengthy podcast conversation with Rick Bass - novelist, award-winning short story writer, and environmental activist. In future episodes we discuss For a Little While, a collection of his best short fiction, which a week after we spoke won the prestigious Story Prize.

We began however with Rick Bass the Environmental Activist - in his home state of Montana and elsewhere across the United States and disunited world. You can read more about his work to save the natural world and fight the powers that seek to denude it at his excellent website: rickbass.net/projects

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Episode 116 - Gary Younge: Part 4


'I quite liked it.' So says Gary Younge about America in the final part of This Writing Life podcast's conversation about his  wonderful new book, Another Day in the Death of America. We began by asking asking Younge about his decision to leave the country and return to his home in Hackney, east London. A description of his feelings on departing the United States leads into a meditation on his Barbadian family background, and what it means to grow up black in Britain. 'There is an element of outsiderness here that I carry with me.'

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Episode 115 - Gary Younge: Part 3


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 →

Episode 114 - Gary Younge: Part 2


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 →

Episode 113 - Gary Younge: Part 1


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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