The literary podcast presented by John Mitchinson and Andy Miller. Brought to you by Unbound. Visit www.backlisted.fm
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman AKA Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne is the subject of this years-in-the-making episode of Backlisted. Published in nine volumes between 1759 and 1767, Sterne's cock and bull story has entertained, baffled, enchanted, infuriated and inspired readers ever since; needless to say, at Backlisted we love it. Joining John and Andy to celebrate this great, hilarious, digressive novel - or is it a series of great, hilarious, digressive novels? - are award-winning children's author Katherine Rundell and our friend Frank Cottrell-Boyce, who adapted Tristram Shandy for the big screen in 2005 as A Cock and Bull Story. As a bonus, you'll hear Steve Coogan, the star of that film, read from the book(s) - exclusively for Backlisted listeners. Also in this episode, Andy enjoys a "relentless excursion into style" with Fun in a Chinese Laundry (1965), the autobiography of film director Josef von Sternberg; while John takes a sounding of Jennifer Lucy Allan's fascinating new book The Foghorn's Lament.
Água Viva by Clarice Lispector
Clarice Lispector's Água Viva is the subject of this episode of Backlisted. Like several of Lispector's remarkable novels, this slim book caused a sensation when first published in her native Brazil in 1973. Exquisitely written and daringly abstract, it stands as one of its author's masterpieces with Near to the Wild Heart (1943), Family Ties(1960), The Passion According to G.H. (1964) and The Hour of the Star (1977). Joining John and Andy to explore this truly iconic author's life and work are writers Wendy Erskine and David Keenan. Also in this episode, John has been reading Peter Blegvad's recent book Imagine, Observe, Remember, "a way to look at different ways of looking and seeing"; Andy, meanwhile, digs Excavate! The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall, a new anthology of essays, artwork and ephemera edited by Tessa Norton and Bob Stanley.
The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness
The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness is the subject of this episode. The book was first published in Iceland as Brekkukotsannáll in 1957, two years after Laxness was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Joining John and Andy to discuss this ideosyncratic, unforgettable novel and the remarkable life of its author - spanning nearly all of the twentieth century - is author, poet and podcaster Derek Owusu. Also in this episode, John delves into Brian Dillon's new book Suppose A Sentence, while Andy reads A Chelsea Concerto, Frances Faviell's memoir of life during the London Blitz.
Daddy's Gone A-Hunting by Penelope Mortimer
Penelope Mortimer's fourth novel Daddy's Gone A-Hunting (1958) is the subject of this episode of Backlisted. Joining John and Andy to discuss Mortimer's fearless and pioneering autobiographical fiction, including this book, Saturday Lunch With The Brownings (1960) and The Pumpkin Eater (1962), plus the latter's subsequent film adaptation, are critic and broadcaster Lucy Scholes and New York Times daily books editor John Williams. Also in this episode John enjoys Brown Baby, the new memoir by Nikesh Shukla; and Andy takes a break with Always A Welcome: The Glove Compartment History Of The Motorway Service Area by David Lawrence.
Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey
Josephine Tey's classic mystery Miss Pym Disposes (1946) is the subject of this special episode of Backlisted, recorded as part of Aberdeen's Granite Noir festival on February 19th 2021. Joining John and Andy to explore the life and career of Josephine Tey AKA Gordon Daviot AKA Elizabeth MacKintosh (her real name) is Val McDermind, bestselling author and Tey's fellow Queen of Crime. Tey was the author of a series of highly successful novels, and film and TV adaptations, including Brat Farrar, The Franchise Affair and The Daughter of Time, yet she remains something of an enigma. As you'll hear, we thoroughly enjoyed immersing ourselves in her work and learning more about her from Val. Please note: this audio version of the podcast is longer and contains more material than the Granite Noir video webcast. If you would like to watch the original, it's currently available via the Granite Noir website or on YouTube at
Job: The Story of a Simple Man by Joseph Roth
Joseph Roth's Job: The Story of a Simple Man (1930) is the subject of this episode of Backlisted. Joining John and Andy to explore this austere and powerful novel, first published in German as Hiob: Roman eines einfachen Mannes, are Keiron Pim, whose much-anticipated biography of Joseph Roth will be published in 2022, and a returning Backlisted guest, bibliomemoirist and playwright Samantha Ellis. Roth was a prolific yet enigmatic writer - his other books include The Radetzky March and The Legend of the Holy Drinker - and this episode takes a long, considered look at his (often chaotic) life and work, and where Job fits into both. Also in this episode, Andy shares a reading by Salena Godden from her acclaimed new novel Mrs Death Misses Death, while John is beguiled by the fragmented visions of Max Porter's The Death of Francis Bacon.