The literary podcast presented by John Mitchinson and Andy Miller. Brought to you by Unbound. Visit www.backlisted.fm
Summer Reading 2021
It’s time for our annual look at what we’ve been reading over the summer break. John, Andy and Nicky discuss David Keenan’s fourth novel Monument Maker; Open Water, a promising debut novella from Caleb Azumah Nelson; Deborah Levy’s three-volume ‘living autobiography’, Things I Don’t Want to Know, The Cost of Living and Real Estate; a reissue of Percival Everett’s satirical diatribe Erasure; Life With a Capital L, Geoff Dyer’s selection of essays by D.H. Lawrence; and Vivian Gornick’s The End of the Novel of Love and Unfinished Business, in which the author re-reads favourite classic books and comes to fresh conclusions about them. All these titles can be purchased from the Backlisted bookshop at
Fat City by Leonard Gardner
Perhaps the greatest boxing novel ever written, Leonard Gardner's Fat City was first published in 1969; it was shortlisted for the National Book Award; Joan Didion and Denis Johnson are amongst those who have sung its praises. The book was made into a film in 1972 starring Stacy Keach and Jeff Bridges, directed by John Huston from a screenplay by Gardner himself. In this episode Andy, John and Nicky explore both the novel and the film and the ways in which Gardner shows the reader the whole of a society through the prism of sport. We also hear from the author as to why he has never published another novel. Plus in this episode John reignites his love of D.H. Lawrence with Frances Wilson's acclaimed new biography Burning Man, while Andy shares an extract from Leonora Carrington's magical novel The Hearing Trumpet, read by actress Siân Phillips.
Heart of the Original By Steve Aylett
Joining us on Backlisted this week is writer John Higgs, whose fascinating new book William Blake Vs The World is out now. We were thrilled John chose Steve Aylett's guide to originality, creativity and individuality, Heart of the Original, first published by Unbound in 2015 and as original, creative and individual a book as we have ever featured on this podcast; be prepared to experience a "small-particle tulpa storm" of ideas. Also in this episode, John enjoys the waspish melancholy of Elizabeth Hardwick's Sleepless Nights, while Andy introduces a reading from Black Teacher by Beryl Gilroy, a trailblazing Guyanese woman's memoir of post-war London.
In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes
Returning to Backlisted this week are literary agents Becky Brown and Norah Perkins, joint custodians of the Curtis Brown Heritage list of literary estates and previously our guests on episode #109, Excellent Women by Barbara Pym. This time we are discussing the work of crime novelist Dorothy B. Hughes and in particular her suspenseful and subversive novel In a Lonely Place (1947), freely adapted as a classic film noir by director Nicholas Ray and starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. Also in this episode Norah and Becky pitch titles by Kay Dick, Stella Gibbons and R.C. Sherriff to Andy, John and Nicky. Make sure you have a pen and paper to hand...
Are You Somebody? by Nuala O'Faolain
Joining John and Andy this week is novelist and host of the books podcast Sentimental Garbage, Caroline O'Donoghue (Promising Young Women, Scenes of a Graphic Nature, All Our Hidden Gifts). We are discussing Nuala O'Faolain's revelatory memoir Are You Somebody? (1996), the original publication of which caused a sensation in her native Ireland. The book went on to top the New York Times bestseller list for six weeks; it still has the power to astonish. Also in this episode Andy has been exploring John Higgs's new book William Blake Vs The World and John is moved by Consumed: A Sister's Tale, the family memoir of Arifa Akbar, a former guest on Backlisted.
A Goat's Song by Dermot Healy
Joining John and Andy this week are novelist Patrick McCabe (The Butcher Boy, Breakfast on Pluto, Winterwood) and Unbound's editor-at-large Rachael Kerr. We got together to discuss Dermot Healy's remarkable second novel A Goat's Song (1994) and the peripatetic life of its author, one of the great Irish writers of recent times. Patrick, Rachael and John all knew, worked and occasionally drank with Dermot Healy and this special episode reflects their personal connections with a much-loved and much-missed man. Also in this edition Andy considers the most recent novel of another legendary Irish writer, Girl by Edna O'Brien; while John shares his admiration for Shola Von Reinhold's Lote, winner of the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses 2021.
Long-time companion, brilliant show
I absolutely love this podcast. Caught up with the whole lot throughout lock down, last year. Now, look forward to each new episode with glee. The theme music has taken a place in my heart and is like the welcome visit and an old and special friend. What a joy. Thanks to the superb hosts. I have bought and enjoyed many of the titles and have especially loved those episodes discussing works I have already read. Marvellous!
Such a great discovery
Have only just discovered this really fun and knowledgeable book chat show mostly about forgotten writers and their books. I am working my way through the backlist and have already added books to my to be read list.
I miss John
John, why so quiet?