Writers and Company from CBC Radio

Writers and Company from CBC Radio


CBC Radio's Writers and Company offers an opportunity to explore in depth the lives, thoughts and works of remarkable writers from around the world. Hosted by Eleanor Wachtel.


Elif Batuman on her love affair with Russian literature  

Eleanor talks to Turkish-American writer Elif Batuman about her infatuation with Russian literature, and her debut novel, "The Idiot", a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story about language and romance in the year 1995.

Joan Didion on the evolving nature of grief  

In this conversation from 2005, legendary American novelist and journalist Joan Didion talks to Eleanor about the deaths of both her husband and daughter, and about writing her heartbreaking memoir, "The Year of Magical Thinking."

Hari Kunzru on racism, politics, and the blues  

Eleanor speaks with British-Indian novelist and journalist, Hari Kunzru. His latest book, "White Tears", addresses the dark history of exploitation and greed in American blues music.

Filmmaker Olivier Assayas on ghosts, real and imagined  

Eleanor Wachtel speaks with the French filmmaker about his roots, his obsessions, and his new film "Personal Shopper", starring Kristen Stewart.

Yiyun Li on the Tiananmen Square massacre and her novel Kinder Than Solitude  

Eleanor talks with Chinese-American author Yiyun Li about her 2014 novel Kinder Than Solitude, set in the shadow of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and inspired by real life events.

Sebastian Barry on his latest book Days Without End and how his family's history inspires his fiction  

Eleanor speaks with Irish novelist Sebastian Barry about his family's influence on his fiction and his latest, award-winning book, Days Without End. It follows the story of a young Irish-American immigrant who becomes a soldier in 19th century America.

David J. Skal on the enduring appeal of Dracula  

Eleanor speaks with author, filmmaker and cultural historian David J. Skal about the undying legacy of Dracula, and the untold story of the man who created him - Bram Stoker.

Lara Vapnyar on life and death in the age of social media  

What if the dead could still talk to the living? Eleanor Wachtel speaks with Russian-American author Lara Vapnyar, whose latest novel "Still Here" explores life, death and social media among four immigrants to New York.

Adam Hochschild on learning from dark moments in history  

Eleanor speaks with American historian and journalist, Adam Hochschild. The author of the groundbreaking bestseller "King Leopold's Ghost" has a powerful new book, "Spain in Our Hearts" - about American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War.

Jo Baker on imagining the story beneath the story  

Eleanor speaks with English author Jo Baker. Her bestselling novel "Longbourn" is a retelling of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" — from the servants' perspective. Her latest novel goes behind the scenes with Samuel Beckett.

Dutch writer Tommy Wieringa on what it means to be "home"  

Dutch novelist Tommy Wieringa is one of the bestselling literary authors in Dutch history. His powerful novel "These Are the Names" explores enduring questions of faith, identity and belonging.

Playwright David Hare on why some opinions are better than others  

Eleanor speaks with English playwright, screenwriter and director Sir David Hare about writing the screenplay for "Denial" - a new film starring Rachel Weisz - and turning the spotlight on his own life in a revealing memoir.

Mohsin Hamid on "How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia"  

From 2014, Eleanor speaks with Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid, author of the hit novel, "The Reluctant Fundamentalist". His recent book - "How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia" - explores ambition, corruption and the disruptive effects of urbanization.

Malcolm Gladwell on underdogs, outliers, and the power of limitations  

Eleanor's conversation with Malcolm Gladwell, on stage at McGill University in 2013. In his latest book, "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants", Gladwell challenges the way we think about obstacles and disadvantages.

Jamaican novelist Marlon James on writing into a new life  

From 2015, Eleanor's conversation with Marlon James, the first Jamaican ever to win the Man Booker Prize. His novel, "A Brief History of Seven Killings", revolves around​ an assassination attempt on reggae superstar, Bob Marley.

Geoff Dyer on the upside of disappointing travel  

Eleanor welcomes back one of Britain's wittiest and most audacious writers, Geoff Dyer. His latest book — a collection of essays called "White Sands" — is a humorous examination of travel, impermanence, and thwarted expectations.

Geoff Dyer on his "enormous capacity for disappointment"  

Eleanor welcomes back one of Britain's wittiest and most audacious writers, Geoff Dyer. His latest book "White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World" is a humorous examination of travel, discovery... and thwarted expectations.

'You must change your life.' Biographer Rachel Corbett on Rilke and Rodin  

Eleanor speaks with biographer Rachel Corbett about the unlikely - and influential - friendship between German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and French sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Christopher Kloeble & Francesca Melandri on facing Europe's history - through fiction  

Eleanor speaks with Germany's Christopher Kloeble and Italy's Francesca Melandri onstage at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto. The novelists discuss the effects of history and current political climates on their work... and lives.

Alain Mabanckou on his profound connection to The Republic of Congo — and his mom.  

From the Vancouver Writers Festival, Eleanor speaks with Congolese-French writer, Alain Mabanckou. Imaginative and original, his books are charming explorations of childhood, family and country.

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