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Literary Friction podcast

Literary Friction

A monthly conversation about books and ideas on NTS Radio hosted by friends Carrie Plitt, a literary agent, and Octavia Bright, a writer and academic. Each show features an author interview, book recommendations, lively discussion and a little music too, all built around a related theme - anything from the novella to race to masculinity. Listen live on NTS Radio www.nts.live

A monthly conversation about books and ideas on NTS Radio hosted by friends Carrie Plitt, a literary agent, and Octavia Bright, a writer and academic. Each show features an author interview, book recommendations, lively discussion and a little music too, all built around a related theme - anything from the novella to race to masculinity. Listen live on NTS Radio www.nts.live

 

#138

Minisode Thirty-Four: Swearing

Nothing beats a good, carefully deployed swear word - or sometimes even a sloppily deployed one. We decided that this month we would make a minisode dedicated to swearing, that fabulously creative, often blasphemous, sometimes hilarious, sometimes frightening corner of any language. We will be swearing profusely through this episode, so if that doesn’t put you off, join us for an irreverent ride through some of our favourite profanities and the writers that use them. ... Read more

19 Nov 2022

47 MINS

47:50

19 Nov 2022


#137

Literary Friction - Deception with Yiyun Li

When it comes to fiction, why are people so obsessed with authenticity and so appalled by literary deception? Does it matter who tells a story? And what do novels that confront these ideas have to tell us? Our guest this month is the writer Yiyun Li, whose latest novel The Book of Goose is about an intense friendship between two girls in rural postwar France. When Agnes and Fabienne write a book of stories together, a simple lie about the book’s authorship sends Agnes’ life in an unexpected direction. So in honour of their act of literary creation - and obfuscation - we wanted to devote our show to the idea of literary deception. Listen in for thoughts on authenticity, literary hoaxes, unreliable narrators and all the usual recommendations. Recommendations on the theme, Deception: Octavia: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee Carrie: The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante General recommendations: Octavia: Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez Yiyun: The Hero of This Book by Elizabeth McCracken Carrie: The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/november-2022-deception-with-yiyun-li Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction Email us: litfriction@gmail.com Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador ... Read more

11 Nov 2022

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:04

11 Nov 2022


#136

Literary Friction - Graphic Novels with Lizzy Stewart

In this show we're getting to grips with graphic novels. What's the history of this kind of storytelling? What narrative possibilities does the form open up? We first explored this theme with the artist Nick Hayes all the way back in 2014 before this show was even a podcast, and we're returning to it now because our guest this month is the writer and artist Lizzy Stewart, whose debut graphic novel Alison was published this year. Alison is a subtle and beautiful story of a young woman who leaves her marriage and her rural life in Dorset for a much older, more sophisticated and famous painter in 1970s London. There she learns to find her own artistic voice, and reflects on a life lived in art. Listen in for a discussion of the graphic novels we love, the joys of the form, and all the usual reading recommendations. Recommendations on the theme, Graphic Novels: Octavia: The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel Carrie: Sabrina by Nick Drnaso General recommendations: Octavia: The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall Lizzy: Kick the Latch by Kathryn Scanlan Carrie: Trespasses by Louise Kennedy Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/october-2022-graphic-novels-with-lizzy-stewart Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction Email us: litfriction@gmail.com Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador ... Read more

20 Oct 2022

59 MINS

59:24

20 Oct 2022


#135

Literary Friction - Playing Games with Gabrielle Zevin

This month we’re delighted to welcome Gabrielle Zevin to Literary Friction. Gabrielle’s latest novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is an engrossing and moving story of a multi-decade creative partnership between two video game designers, so we thought it only appropriate to make our theme today ‘playing games’. Listen in as we explore how games function in books like The Queen’s Gambit or Mansfield Park, the allure of choose your own adventure novels and the unique art of a game. Recommendations on the theme, Playing Games: Octavia: The King Must Die by Mary Renault Carrie: Roger Federer as Religious Experience by David Foster Wallace General Recommendations: Octavia: Yoga by Emmanuel Carrère Gabrielle: Trust by Hernan Diaz Carrie: Alison by Lizzie Stewart Ezra Klein interview with C Thi Nguyen: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/a-philosophy-of-games-that-is-really-a-philosophy-of-life/id1548604447?i=1000552204773 Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/october-2022-playing-games-with-gabrielle-zevin Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction Email us: litfriction@gmail.com Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador ... Read more

06 Oct 2022

59 MINS

59:53

06 Oct 2022


#134

Rediscovery with Jamaica Kincaid and Stu Wilson (Picador Sponsored Episode)

For this minisode we’re doing something a little different - this episode is sponsored by publisher Picador, who this year have launched a new list of contemporary classics, called The Picador Collection, to coincide with their 50th anniversary year. With the aim of bringing seminal titles to a new generation of readers, the Picador Collection combines the gravitas of a modern classics list with the eccentric, boundary-pushing spirit of cult paperback publishing. To celebrate the collection, we interviewed the inimitable Antiguan-American writer Jamaica Kincaid, who has five books featured on this list. Then we talked to Stu Wilson, from the art department at Picador. The Picador Collection titles all have a fresh new look, designed by Katie Tooke, and Stu will be telling us about the work that went into designing the series, and the fascinating process of cover design more generally. We are ALSO running a competition with Picador! 5 lucky listeners will win a sturdy and now very rare Literary Friction tote, along with each of our two favourite titles from the Picador Collection, plus one of Jamaica’s books, which means five books in total - if you want to find who chose what (and see if you can guess…) check out both of our socials: @picadorbooks and @litfriction on Twitter and Instagram. The competition is now LIVE and will be open until the 6th of October, so you have a two week window to enter! You can find more details here: https://www.panmacmillan.com/literaryfriction-giveaway ... Read more

22 Sep 2022

55 MINS

55:33

22 Sep 2022


#133

Minisode Thirty-Three: Correspondence

It's autumn in the UK and we're full of that back to school feeling - fresh pencils, new pens and notebooks - so what better time for a minisode about correspondence. This theme was suggested by our patron Liza and we got really into it, not just because it's such a rich topic in literature (epistolary novels! fictional instant messenger chats! meaningful emails sent between friends!), but also because it got us thinking about the role of correspondence in our own lives (see: our ten years of conversation on whatsapp). So, listen in for our thoughts on writing and receiving letters, the romance of a good email, and a whole lot more. We're glad to be back! ... Read more

08 Sep 2022

45 MINS

45:47

08 Sep 2022


#132

Literary Friction - RE-RUN: a Spoonful of Sugar with Leïla Slimani

We're on our summer break, which means we can re-run this excellent conversation we had with the French-Moroccan author Leïla Slimani in 2018. Leïla came in to talk to us about her second novel Lullaby (or Chanson Douce in French) which is about a middle-class couple in Paris and the nanny they hire to care for their children, who at first seems like the perfect caretaker. Inspired by the book, our theme was nannies, and the fascinating and sometimes fraught place that they occupy in our culture and in our books, from the magic caretaking of Mary Poppins to the killer babysitters of slasher B-movies. So, tune in for a spoonful of sugar and we'll be back with a brilliant new programme in September. ... Read more

12 Aug 2022

58 MINS

58:13

12 Aug 2022


#131

Fandom with Sheena Patel

When does fandom tip over into unhealthy obsession? What are the power dynamics of being someone's fan, and how do they get exploited? This month author Sheena Patel joins Carrie to talk about her debut, I'm A Fan, a novel that gets to grips with power and relationships and what it means to be a fan. Octavia came back for the show chat to continue the conversations about fans and fandom - are we living in the age of the stan? What about celebrity memoirs? All this plus all the usual recommendations, we hope you enjoy it, love from your biggest fans at Team LF. Recommendations on the theme, Fandom: Octavia: Bluets by Maggie Nelson Carrie: Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh General Recommendations: Sheena: We Move by Gurnaik Johal and An Exciting and Vivid Inner Life by Paul Dalla Rosa Carrie: Lost & Found by Kathryn Schulz Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/july-2022-fandom-with-sheena-patel Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction Email us: litfriction@gmail.com Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador ... Read more

23 Jul 2022

58 MINS

58:34

23 Jul 2022


#130

Minisode Thirty-Two: A Short History of Literary Friction (Patreon Sneak Peek)

For this month's minisode, we thought we'd give our listeners a preview of some of the bonus minisodes that we're creating for our patreon subscribers. This is one we recorded in May 2021, and it's all about the history of Literary Friction. We had a lot of fun thinking back to when we were baby interviewers, so listen in for the fruits of Carrie's archival digging, our memories of the night we first met all those moons ago (clue: big earrings and a jumpsuit were involved), and our high points and low points over the years. We hope you enjoy it, and head over to patreon.com/litfriction if you'd like to support our show and hear more episodes like this one. ... Read more

30 Jun 2022

44 MINS

44:58

30 Jun 2022


#129

Literary Friction Special - Elif Batuman

This month we're bringing you an author special with Elif Batuman, who joined Carrie in cyberspace to talk about her hilarious and original second novel Either/Or. In this extended interview, they discussed what makes a novel political, snobberies about structure and storytelling, learning to be funny on Twitter, the allure of the '90s, and much more. Plus the usual book recommendations. We hope you enjoy! Recommendations: Elif: The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili, translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin Carrie: Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/june-2022-special-with-elif-batuman Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction Email us: litfriction@gmail.com Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador ... Read more

24 Jun 2022

50 MINS

50:53

24 Jun 2022


#128

Minisode Thirty-One: Parties

Spring is finally really happening here in the UK: the roses are out, we’ve swapped our coats for jackets, we even had dinner together outside the other night and watching the city come to life made us think about parties. Remember them? Parties! Outfits! Strangers in close proximity! The agony and the ecstasy of all that might happen... So, listen in for an ode to parties good, bad, imaginary and literary, plus all the usual recommendations. PLUS, your last chance to get your hands on one of our excellent tote bags, here: https://literaryfriction.myshopify.com/collections/all Patrons get an extra 20% off and you can subscribe here: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction ... Read more

02 Jun 2022

46 MINS

46:17

02 Jun 2022


#127

Rediscovery with Lauren Elkin

Who gets to decide what a 'classic' is? And how and why do some books get reintroduced to us years after they were first published? This month we're continuing a conversation we started four years ago with Jennifer Hodgson and Nell Dunn about literary rediscoveries, with our guest, author and translator Lauren Elkin. Lauren joined us to talk about her translation of The Inseparables, a newly discovered novel by the influential philosopher and novelist Simone de Beavouir. Just published in English by Vintage, it tells the story of the intense friendship between two schoolgirls in turn of the century Paris. Listen in for some fascinating insight into the translation process and Simone de Beauvoir's life, plus all the usual recommendations. Recommendations on the theme, Rediscovery: Octavia: Nevada by Imogen Binnie Carrie: Maud Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks General Recommendations: Octavia: Home is Where We Start From: Essays by a Psychoanalyst by D. W. Winnicott Lauren: Translating Myself and Others by Jhumpa Lahiri Carrie: The Promise by Damon Galgut Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/may-2022-rediscovery-with-lauren-elkin Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction Email us: litfriction@gmail.com Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador ... Read more

19 May 2022

59 MINS

59:48

19 May 2022


#126

Minisode Thirty: Libraries

This minisode is a sister to our last one about bookshops - this month, we're talking about libraries. We love libraries! Those other places where you can go to get your hands on the books you want, the books you don’t yet know you want, the books that want you, and everything in between. Listen in for stories of the libraries and librarians that shaped us, our favourite libraries around the world, libraries in books and movies (Giles from Buffy gets an honourable mention) plus all the usual cultural recommendations. We are also about to launch another sale of our gorgeous, sturdy LF tote bags on Etsy in the next week or so, and there will be a special discount for Patrons. Keep your eyes on our socials for more info! ... Read more

05 May 2022

50 MINS

50:02

05 May 2022


#125

The Instant with Amy Liptrot

Whether it’s a single action that reverberates around a community, or the rupture of a break-up, literature is filled with memorable instants after which everything changes. Our guest this month is Amy Liptrot, who joined us from Orkney to talk about her second book The Instant, a memoir of Amy’s move from Scotland to Berlin, where she searches for racoons, tracks the moon, goes to techno clubs, looks for boyfriends, falls in love and has her heart broken. It’s also about connectivity and the instants that change our lives, and so in honour of Amy’s book our theme today is ‘the instant’ - we’ll be thinking about those moments in literature when things turn on a dime. Sit back, enjoy, and let us change the course of your life over the next hour on literary friction. Recommendations on the theme, The Instant: Octavia: All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld Carrie: The End of the Affair by Graham Greene General Recommendations: Octavia: Body Work: the radical power of personal narrative by Melissa Febos Amy: Time on Rock: A Climber's Route Into The Mountains by Anna Fleming Carrie: Man's Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/april-2022-the-instant-with-amy-liptrot Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction Email us: litfriction@gmail.com Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador ... Read more

30 Apr 2022

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:34

30 Apr 2022


#124

Minisode Twenty-Nine: Bookshops

The theme for this minisode was suggested by our patron Maria and it's a subject very close to our hearts: bookshops. We love bookshops - those magical places where you can get your hands on the books you want, the books you don’t yet know you want, the books that want you, and everything in between. Listen in for this ode to everything we love about bookshops and booksellers, including our earliest memories of hanging out in bookshops, our favourite bookshops in the UK and around the world, plus all the usual cultural recommendations. Enjoy! ... Read more

07 Apr 2022

47 MINS

47:22

07 Apr 2022


#123

Satire with Pola Oloixarac

We love a good satire here at LF, so we're thrilled this month to bring you a show dedicated to the form. Argentine writer and novelist Pola Oloixarac joined us from Barcelona to talk about her latest novel Mona, which has been translated from Spanish by Adam Morris. It's the story of a young Peruvian novelist invited to Sweden, where she's in the running for one of the most prestigious literary awards in Europe. There, she has a number of hilarious run-ins with authors from all over the world, but lurking beneath the surface is a memory of violence which cannot be fully suppressed. It's a biting and very funny satire of the literary world, so in honour of Mona this show is all about our favourite satirical work, from The Master and the Margarita to Catch 22. We'll get into what we think makes satire successful, and also some of the times it can fall flat, plus all the usual recommendations. Enjoy! Recommendations on the theme, Satire: Octavia: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov Carrie: Catch 22 by Joseph Heller General Recommendations: Octavia: The Liars' Club by Mary Karr Pola: Borges by Adolfo Bioy Casares, translated by Valerie Miles (NY Review of Books) Carrie: Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/mar-2022-satire-with-pola-oloixarac Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction Email us: litfriction@gmail.com Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador ... Read more

24 Mar 2022

58 MINS

58:23

24 Mar 2022


#122

Minisode Twenty-Eight: Fathers

Our last minisode was about mothers, so in the name of equity (and riffing on Octavia’s statement that she’d rather be a dad) we’re extending the conversation to fathers in literature. The figure of the father has its own heavy symbolism, wrapped up with masculinity and the need to provide, and literature is filled with fathers from the admirable to the monstrous. We ask whether we expect as much from fathers in life and in books, and whether being a ‘bad’ father might pose a different kind of threat. Plus we get into the father memoir, how expectations are shifting, and the power of shame in creating more equal parenting roles. Enjoy! ... Read more

16 Mar 2022

46 MINS

46:24

16 Mar 2022


#121

East Side Voices with Helena Lee and Will Harris

This month's show is about East and Southeast Asian identity in Britain. We spoke to journalist Helena Lee about East Side Voices, the anthology of writing she edited that celebrates the diversity of these voices in the UK. We also spoke to poet and writer Will Harris about the poem he contributed and some of the other pieces from the collection, which features writers including Mary Jean Chan, Sharlene Teo, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan and Catherine Cho. These essays and poems cover a range of experiences and settings, from the set of Harry Potter to the NHS frontlines, and seek to combat the absence of representation in British culture in which East and Southeast Asian lives are often, to use Salman Rushdie’s words, "visible but unseen". Listen in for readings, music, plus all the usual recommendations. Recommendations: Octavia: Pisti, 80 rue de Belleville by Estelle Hoy Helena: Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda Will: Ultimatum Orangutan by Khairani Barokka Carrie: Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/feb-2022-east-side-voices-with-helena-lee-and-will-harris Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litfriction Email us: litfriction@gmail.com Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador ... Read more

24 Feb 2022

54 MINS

54:23

24 Feb 2022