Category interview

Robert Macfarlane, depths and landscapes.

My editor mentioned a book in his comments on one of the chapters of my new book (to be published next year) which I followed up greedily, as I knew the work of Robert Macfarlane. His book Underland: A Deep Time Journey indeed had important resonances for my own work and I encourage you to […]

Professor Deborah Lipstadt in conversation with me at the Sydney Opera House.

It was my pleasure to conduct a conversation at the Sydney Opera House with American writer and historian Deborah Lipstadt who is perhaps best known as the woman who was sued by Holocaust Denier David Irving, and who won the case after a legal struggle that stretched over six years. In Sydney for the Antidote […]

A conversation with Toni Morrison

“The Nobel prize meant a lot to me. It was a huge surprise. Very pleasant. I never thought of it as … although I think I said things that were expected of me about how I felt about its being awarded to my work, which I thought was obviously deserving, and it represented America, it […]

Dubravka Ugrešić – remembering Baba Yaga

One of the great joys of ageing is the way your mind becomes like a massive filing cabinet, much of the time simply a jumble of drawers and labels and yellowing manilla folders. But then, a miracle happens and you make a connection between an idea you are having and a perfectly apposite reference somewhere […]

Joseph Heller: Not today and not during this interview.

I see that there’s a remake TV series of Catch-22. Time, I think, to revisit my interview with its author, American novelist and memoirist Joseph Heller, conducted in New York in 1998, just a year before he died aged 76. Joseph Heller was a master of the absurd, so much so that the title of […]

Video interview with Sir Simon Schama, Melbourne May 2nd, 2019.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Sir Simon Schama ( @simon_schama ) on May 2nd 2019 at the Atheneum Theatre in Melbourne when he was a guest of the Wheeler Centre for their Mayhem series. You’ll find the link to the event below.  Sir Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History […]

Les Murray, Poet, 7/10/38 – 29/04/19

“I came back to go mad. That’s what you do if you’ve got old, unfinished business back in a place and you go back there, you’ll tend to deal with it. “ Poet Les Murray has died.  In 1997 I made a pair of radio programs on his work. I travelled to Bunyah, where he […]

Vale Amos Oz – 4.5.39 – 28.12.18

Deep in the midst of writing my new book, I seem only to surface in this blog whenever  a favourite writer with whom I have had the pleasure of sharing a conversation dies. Sadly, the subject of the following conversations is  Israeli novelist, essayist, short story writer and peace activist, Amos Oz, who died of cancer […]

Vale Justin Cartwright: 20/5/43 – 3/12/18

South African-born, London-based novelist, journalist and television producer Justin Cartwright died recently at the age of sevety-five. I was saddened to read his obituary in the Guardian newpaper. I have met and interviewed many writers over the years but Justin stood out as being open and warm whenever I had contact with him. His parents […]

Patrick French, Biographer of VS Naipaul

Nobel and Booker Prize winner VS Naipaul has died at the age of eighty-five at his home in London. I never interviewed him myself, but I did interview his biographer Patrick French at the 2008 Edinburgh International Book Festival. Patrick French has won awards for his biography of the explorer Francis Younghusband and for his […]