The literary podcast presented by John Mitchinson and Andy Miller. Brought to you by Unbound. Visit www.backlisted.fm
The Compleet Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans & Ronald Searle
The Compleet Molesworth (1958) by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle is the beloved book we're celebrating in this special fifth birthday episode of Backlisted cheers cheers. Joining John and Andy to discuss some of the funniest and most influential fictional creations of the 20th century - Nigel Molesworth, Basil Fotherington-Thomas ect ect ect - are satirical cartoonist and writer Martin Rowson and the novelist Lissa Evans, who as any fule kno was our guest on the very first episode of Backlisted in 2015. Also in this episode John contemplates The Sea View Has Me Again: Uwe Johnson in Sheerness by Patrick Wright and Andy is enchanted by Piranesi, Susanna Clarke's long-delayed second novel, her first being the bestselling Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
Doctor Who and the Brain of Morbius by Terrance Dicks
Doctor Who and the Brain of Morbius (1977) by Terrance Dicks is the much-loved book featured in this episode of Backlisted. Joining John and Andy to discuss the life and career of a hugely influential and prolific author - and the history of the Target novelisations of Doctor Who stories, which between them are estimated to have sold over 13m copies - are two writers who are both enthusiastic fans and bona fide experts: broadcaster Matthew Sweet and returning guest Una McCormack. We also take a look at The Gifts of Reading, the recently-published anthology to which Andy has contributed a memoir (on Terrance Dicks), alongside new essays from Philip Pullman, Robert Macfarlane, Candice Carty-Williams, S.F. Said and more, proceeds from which go to the international literacy charity Room To Read.
It's our Hallowe'en special ! For this year’s Hallowe’en episode our subject is the Old English poem, Beowulf, composed somewhere in England more than a thousand years ago. The atmospheric tale of supernatural monsters and human heroes has inspired scores of translations over the centuries and we will discuss several, including versions by Seamus Heaney, J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Morpurgo and the powerful new translation by Maria Dahvana Headley (the 2007 computer-animated film adaptation by Robert Zemeckis and Neil Gaiman also makes an appearance). Andy and John are joined by regular Backlisted Hallowe’en guest Andrew Male, the senior associate editor of MOJO magazine, and Dr Laura Varnam, who first appeared on our last Hallowe’en episode to discuss Daphne Du Maurier’s collection, The Breaking Point. As well as being a Du Maurier expert, Laura is also the Lecturer in Old and Middle English Literature at University College, Oxford and teaches Beowulf to undergraduates. Before that, to put everyone in a suitably spooky mood, we all discuss stories taken from Robert Shearman’s remarkable experiment in storytelling, We All Hear Stories in the Dark.
Silence by Shūsaku Endō
Silence (1966) is Shūsaku Endō’s masterpiece, a novel set in 17th Japan, following two Portuguese Jesuits posted there to search for their former teacher, who is feared to have abandoned his faith. Joining John and Andy to discuss this intense and powerful exploration of religious belief and its limits is the novelist Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent, Melmoth and, most recently, Essex Girls. Also in this episode John enjoys The Appointment, a mordantly funny debut novel by literary agent, Katharina Volckmer and Andy wallows in the profound comedic achievement that is From the Oasthouse: The Alan Partridge Podcast.
The Odd Women By George Gissing
George Gissing's The Odd Women (1893) is the groundbreaking book featured in this episode of Backlisted. Joining John and Andy to discuss this fascinating, proto-feminist novel - and the incident-packed life of its prolific author - are novelist and biographer Janet Todd and the professor of Victorian literature at the University of Durham, Simon James. Also in this episode Andy has been reading The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping by Samantha Harvey; and John enjoys A Musical Offering, a suite of stories about music by the Argentine writer Luis Sagasti.
Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola
Thérèse Raquin (1868), the third novel by French writer Émile Zola, is the book featured in this episode of Backlisted. Joining John and Andy to discuss the sensational and still shocking founding text of Naturalism are the novelists Rachel Joyce and Andrew O'Hagan. Also in this episode John has been reading Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano’s Memory of Fire trilogy, while Andy takes a tour of the National Portrait Gallery's cancelled Cecil Beaton exhibition with Cecil Beaton's Bright Young Things by Robin Muir.