Episode 130 - Neel Mukherjee: Part 1


In the opening instalment of This Writing Life podcast's interview with Neel Mukherjee, Man Booker shortlisted author of The Lives of Others, we discuss his excellent new novel A State of Freedom. After admitting a little pre-publication anxiety, Mukherjee moves onto his new book and its various debts to VS Naipaul's In a Free State and Jawaharlal Nehru's 'Tryst with Destiny' speech, not to mention the parallels with recent interlinked narratives by Davids Mitchell and Szalay. Having slalomed around Mukherjee's relationship with Modernism and his portrait of Indian inequality, we end by discussing food and whether A State of Freedom is happy novel.

Part two of three to follow.

Episode 129 - Meena Kandasamy: Part 4 (Writing Life Revisited)


In the final part of This Writing Life podcast's conversation with Meena Kandasamy, she discusses India as a modern superpower, the place of violence in the lives of women, the poor and everyday society, shifts smartly to talk about her first (and possibly only) venture into acting, before turning to the future. We end by wondering whether the appaling events depicted in her debut novel, The Gipsy Goddess, could ever happen again.

Episode 128 - Meena Kandasamy: Part 3 (Writing Life Revisited)


In the third part of This Writing Life podcast's chat with the Indian poet, novelist and activist Meena Kandasamy, we begin with some chatter about the title of her debut novel, The Gipsy Goddess, before exploring her fraught relationship with social media - its pros and cons for political engagement, literary creativity, feminism and all-round mental health.

Part four to follow.

Episode 127 - Meena Kandasamy: Part 2 (This Writing Life Revisited)


In the second part of This Writing Life podcast's interview with Meena Kandasamy, we discuss how fiction mixes with historical truth, women in The Gipsy Goddess, language to shock and illuminate. And more on Nicki Minaj of course.

Part three to follow.

Episode 126 - Meena Kandasamy reads from The Gipsy Goddess


In this new mini-podlet, Meena Kandasamy reads from chapter 4 of her first novel, The Gipsy Goddess. For those of a nervous disposition, the passage does contain a little strong language, and a reference to Nicki Minaj. But surely those are good things?

Episode 125 - Meena Kandasamy: Part 1 (This Writing Life Revisited)


This Writing Life podcast extracts an interview from its vaults. Back when we had the energy to attempt an actual introduction, even when we mispronounce the author's name, we talked to the extraordinary Meena Kandasamy about her extraordinary debut novel, The Gypsy Goddess.

Part 2 to follow.

Episode 124 - Rick Bass: Part 5 - For a Little While


The final part of This Writing Life's conversation with Rick Bass, award winning writer and respected environmental activist, begins where the last podlet ended. 'Obey little, resist much.' From there, we consider time and how art can help breed a sense of empathy. Bass bashes the de-humanising effects of corporate existence, the apathy and 'altered truths' that make up contemporary life. The pod ends with more Trump, some lighter discussion of Bass's writing day, his family, and finally - with one eye on the audio-audience, so to speak - some chat about Montana.

For a little more about Bass' superb collection For a Little While, visit.

You can listen to Rick read The Hermit's Story here.

Thank you for listening.



Episode 123 - Rick Bass: How do we protest Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt and the rest?


In this short but inspiring podlet, This Writing Life attempts its best impersonation of Pod Save America and asks: what can we do to organise resistance against Donald Trump, destroyer of worlds, ruiner of all things good and wholesome and green and free? Where does Bass draw the line when resisting: the picket line, the jail cell? What would he say to anyone tempted to welcome the frackers?

Part five of five to follow.

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?

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