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.
Kapka Kassabova on the untold stories of Bulgaria's haunted borderland
Kapka Kassabova left Bulgaria as a teenager after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Her family settled in New Zealand, where she began her career as a poet, travel writer and memoirist. Many years later, Kassabova returned to the land of her communist childhood to cross the once forbidden border between Bulgaria and Turkey and Greece. She wrote about this journey in her extraordinary 2017 book, Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe, which traces the region's history and mythology. *This episode originally aired Feb. 11, 2018.
The tragic loss of a close friend became the impetus for Hua Hsu’s acclaimed memoir, Stay True
Cultural journalist Hua Hsu has written about everything from the World Cup to Nirvana. Now, he's focusing on an important piece of his personal story – the senseless murder of his close friend from college and its impact on Hsu's own life. An exploration of grief, friendship and Asian-American identity, Stay True is also a coming-of-age story, told through music and pop culture. It was named one of the best books of 2022 by The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Washington Post, among others.
Amy Liptrot on how she forged a new story in the wild landscape of the Orkney Islands
Amy Liptrot writes about extremes -- from the rugged environment of Scotland's Orkney Islands, where she grew up, to her struggles with alcoholism while navigating London's raucous party scene. Her 2015 memoir, The Outrun, won praise and prizes for its vivid evocation of the natural world on Orkney, to which Liptrot returned after spending time in rehab. Her new book, The Instant, focuses on urban wildlife and the heartbreak of a failed romance during a year spent in Berlin.
From Kolkata to Mumbai, London to Berlin – Amit Chaudhuri’s fiction travels off the beaten path
Amit Chaudhuri is considered one of the best Indian writers working today. A true renaissance man, he's a poet, essayist and musician, as well as the author of exquisite fiction. As the late Hilary Mantel described him, Chaudhuri "has, like Proust, perfected the art of the moment." His latest book, Sojourn -- set in Berlin -- is an evocative meditation on place and memory. Amit Chaudhuri spoke to Eleanor Wachtel from his home in Kolkata, India.
Fran Lebowitz shares her observations on contemporary life with unfiltered wit and wisdom
Fran Lebowitz has been compared to everyone from Dorothy Parker to Oscar Wilde, Alexis de Tocqueville to Mary McCarthy. In other words, she's an original – an idiosyncratic public intellectual who's also wickedly funny. She made a name for herself with her satirical pieces, which appear in her 1994 collection, The Fran Lebowitz Reader. More recently, she was the star and co-producer of the 2021 hit Netflix series, Pretend It's a City. Fran Lebowitz spoke to Eleanor Wachtel when she was in Edmonton for the University of Alberta's Festival of Ideas. *This episode originally aired November 25, 2012.
Tracy K. Smith on life, death, poetry and outer space
Tracy K. Smith won a Pulitzer Prize for her 2011 book of poetry, Life on Mars, which took its title from the David Bowie song of the same name. In its exploration of cosmic mysteries, the work was in part an elegy for her father, an electrical engineer who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope. She followed it up with her 2015 memoir, Ordinary Light, which was named one of the best books of the year. A former U.S. Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith is now professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. *This episode originally aired on May 29, 2016.
No equal among author interviewers
An incredibly prepared and thoughtful interviewer of authors . Superior to all other book podcasts
Always fascinating, insightful and absorbing—-a brilliant interviewer and a pleasure to listen to. Thank you
Eleanor Wachtel is one of the best interviewers in the world.