118 episodes

A monthly conversation about books and ideas on NTS Radio hosted by friends Carrie Plitt, a literary agent, and Octavia Bright, a writer and academic. Each show features an author interview, book recommendations, lively discussion and a little music too, all built around a related theme - anything from the novella to race to masculinity. Listen live on NTS Radio www.nts.live

Literary Friction Literary Friction

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 345 Ratings

A monthly conversation about books and ideas on NTS Radio hosted by friends Carrie Plitt, a literary agent, and Octavia Bright, a writer and academic. Each show features an author interview, book recommendations, lively discussion and a little music too, all built around a related theme - anything from the novella to race to masculinity. Listen live on NTS Radio www.nts.live

    Literary Friction - Year in Review 2021

    Literary Friction - Year in Review 2021

    It’s our last Literary Friction of 2021, so as usual it's time for our year in review show, packed full of recommendations just in time for your holiday shopping. 2021 may have been a bad year for going out, but it was a great year for books, and the voices that lifted us out of our lockdown torpor are particularly special to us now. Listen in for some of our favourite reads from the last year, a gentle check in on how our reading resolutions from 2020 went (clue: patchy), plus books we are looking forward to in 2022. We've posted a list of all the recommendations on our page at Bookshop.org so click the link below to see everything lined up, and please remember to support your local independent bookshop! Happy holidays everyone, catch you in the new year with our exciting 2022 programme.


    List of books recommended in this episode: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/2021-year-in-review

    Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction

    Email us: litfriction@gmail.com

    Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction


    This episode is sponsored by Picador https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Literary Friction - Books About Books with Ruth Ozeki

    Literary Friction - Books About Books with Ruth Ozeki

    Regular listeners will know that we love to get a little meta here on LF, and this month author Ruth Ozeki gave us the perfect excuse to indulge ourselves as we slide into the holiday season. Ruth's latest novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness, is about a boy named Benny who loses his father and shortly thereafter begins to hear the voices of inanimate objects, including the voice of the novel itself. In honour of Ruth, and Benny, this show is all about books about books. We'll dig into the ways that literature can be about itself, from books set in libraries to stories about writers to metafictional texts about their own means of creation, and ask what the joys and the pitfalls of this kind of self-referentiality can be - plus all the usual recommendations.

    Recommendations on the theme, Books About Books:
    Octavia: The Mysterious Flame Of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco
    Carrie: Writers & Lovers by Lily King

    General Recommendations:
    Octavia: The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial by Maggie Nelson
    Ruth: The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges
    Carrie: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

    Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/december-2021-books-about-books-with-ruth-ozeki

    Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction

    Email us: litfriction@gmail.com
    Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction
    This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador

    • 59 min
    Minisode Twenty-six: Twilight Knowing

    Minisode Twenty-six: Twilight Knowing

    In the wake of the COP26 summit in Glasgow we are thinking a lot about climate crisis and the role literature can play in galvanising people to take action. We want to think about how fiction, poetry, and non-fiction writing can approach climate crisis beyond showing how terrible it will be in the future - is there a way to write about the subject that's not only disaster fiction? How do we move out of what Jenny Offill calls 'the twilight knowing' into full comprehension? Listen in for our thoughts on all this plus lots of recommendations for books that address the climate crisis either directly or indirectly.

    Find a list of some of the books we talked about at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/minisode-26-twilight-knowing

    • 45 min
    Literary Friction - Climbing the Ladder with Natasha Brown

    Literary Friction - Climbing the Ladder with Natasha Brown

    Social hierarchies and the metrics of status and success are a part of life accepted by some and rejected by others, but whatever your position, they are hard to escape. There are lots of novels about characters climbing proverbial ladders, from Patrick Bateman rising through the ranks in the workplace in American Psycho to Becky Sharpe social climbing in Vanity Fair. Our guest this month is Natasha Brown, whose debut novel Assembly follows a Black British woman preparing for a garden party at her boyfriend's family estate, and thinking through the stories she exists within - stories of class, race, and the meaning of success. She's ticked all the 'right' boxes, went to a good university, has a cushy job in finance, owns her flat, and yet she begins to question the cost of her complicity in a system that will never fully accept her. We get into how books can enforce these kinds of social norms or subvert them, and whether fiction is a good place to question these structures, plus all the usual recommendations.

    Recommendations on the theme, Climbing the Ladder:
    Octavia: The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
    Carrie: Klara and The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

    General Recommendations:
    Octavia: No. 91/92: notes on a Parisian commute by Lauren Elkin
    Natasha: Exquisite Cadavers by Meena Kandasamy
    Carrie: Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

    Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/november-2021-climbing-the-ladder-with-natasha-brown
    Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction
    Email us: litfriction@gmail.com
    Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction
    This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Minisode Twenty-Five: The Campus Novel

    Minisode Twenty-Five: The Campus Novel

    This minisode we are leaning even further into our autumnal and back to school-ish vibe to talk about The Campus Novel, a genre that includes some beloved books and some much less beloved books, but remains enduring nevertheless. Why is there such an appetite for novels about university life? Are these stories mostly wish fulfilment narratives for older men who fear irrelevance? Is it always an elitist set-up? Listen in as we dig into these questions and more.

    • 48 min
    Literary Friction - Constraint with Maggie Nelson

    Literary Friction - Constraint with Maggie Nelson

    Can you have freedom without constraint? What role does it play in creativity, and can it be productive as well as limiting? This month our guest is the thinker and writer Maggie Nelson, whose latest book, On Freedom, explores the concept of freedom via four wide-ranging essays about art, sex, drugs and climate. Its subtitle is Four Songs of Care and Constraint, so we thought we’d make this month’s show about the boundaries that are often the counterpoint to freedom. Tune in for Maggie’s thoughts on – to borrow a phrase from Judith Butler – ‘working the trap’, our favourite books about constraint, plus all the usual recommendations.

    Recommendations on the theme, Constraint:
    Octavia: The Mad Women’s Ball by Victoria Mas, translated by Frank Wynne
    Carrie: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

    General Recommendations:
    Octavia: Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden-Keefe
    Maggie: My Brother by Jamaica Kinkaid
    Carrie: Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

    Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/october-2021-constraint-with-maggie-nelson

    Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction

    Email us: litfriction@gmail.com
    Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction
    This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador

    • 1 hr 11 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
345 Ratings

345 Ratings

Mozferrari ,

Such a comfort

I love this conversation between two women. Pleasing to listen to and a wonderful escape. And obviously a great source of reading ideas

gr33nbeans78 ,

It’s quickly become part of my weekly routine

I stumbled on Literary Friction on NTS and quickly got obsessed. I love the show’s hosts and format. Thank you for introducing to so many more books and authors than I can imagine!

j1mmy97 ,

Amazing!

I’ve been a bookworm for as long as I’ve lived and have never found that many friends who can talk endlessly about books with me. With Literary Friction, it feels like I’ve gained two! I love listening to Octavia and Carrie’s conversations which are always so considered and thought provoking. They interview guests with such care and interest, and I always finish each episode feeling invigorated.

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