Category Transcript

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 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 […]

Gerald Murnane – a date with destiny

Australian writer Gerald Murnane is being mentioned in despatches as a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Of course, many are called and few are chosen and it seems that each year the winner is somewhat of a surprise. Nonetheless,  Gerald Murnane certainly has a singular voice, as evidenced by the transcript below of […]

Vale Ursula K. Le Guin, science fiction and fantasy writer and genre bender.

Ursula K. Le Guin died aged 88 on 22nd January 2018 at her home in Portland, Oregon, USA. Here’s a conversation I had with her on Thursday 24 April 2008. Ramona Koval: Ursula K Le Guin is one of the best and most prolific writers of science fiction and fantasy in the world. She’s published […]

Vale American postmodern writer William Gass

The New York Times reports: William H. Gass, a proudly postmodern author who valued form and language more than literary conventions like plot and character and who had a broad influence on other experimental writers of the 1960s, ’70s and beyond, died on Wednesday in St. Louis. He was 93. Here is a transcript of […]

The late Helen Dunmore talks with me and Jim Crace on The Writing Life.

English novelist and poet Helen Dunmore has died aged 64. I only met her once for this conversation at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2004. With Birmingham writer Jim Crace  we spoke of their different routines and talismans and attitudes to the blank page in the solitary space of the writer’s room. And rereading […]