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Culture / Podcast

Meet the Writers

Want to know more about the authors behind your favourite books? Tune in to discover the methods of – and inspiration behind – some of the world’s most exciting writers. Every Saturday, Georgina Godwin hosts an in-depth discussion with the person behind the prose.

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Matthew Kneale:

British writer Matthew Kneale has been based in Rome for the best part of 20 years. Born in London to a family of writers, he studied at Oxford and taught english in Japan before embarking on his own writing career, during which he’s published seven novels, including the Booker-shortlisted ‘English Passengers’, and three works of non-fiction. His latest book, ‘The Rome Plague Diaries: Lockdown Life in the Eternal City’, is an unflinching look at the Italian capital during its shutdown last year.

Latest episodes

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2832 May 2021
30 min

Matthew Kneale: 

British writer Matthew Kneale has been based in Rome for the best part of 20 years. Born in London to a family of writers, he studied at Oxford and taught english in Japan before embarking on his own writing career, during which he’s published seven novels, including the Booker-shortlisted ‘English Passengers’, and three works of non-fiction. His latest book, ‘The Rome Plague Diaries: Lockdown Life in the Eternal City’, is an unflinching look at the Italian capital during its shutdown last year.

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29 Apr 2021
18 min

Hay-on-Earth on Monocle Reads: 

This week we continue exploring the programme of the upcoming Hay Festival with a closer look at Hay-on-Earth, a series of 22 events exploring the latest environmental science, sustainable policies and creative responses to the climate crisis. Georgina Godwin talks with two of the writers speaking as part of Hay-on-Earth; author and scientist Jonathan Drori tells us about his book ‘Around the World in 80 Plants’ and Imbolo Mbue, best-selling author of ‘Beloved Dreams’, speaks to us about her latest novel, ‘How Beautiful We Were’.

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28225 Apr 2021
30 min

Olivia Laing: 

Olivia Laing is an acclaimed writer, critic and fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She has written a novel as well as numerous works of non-fiction. The latest is ‘Everybody: A Book about Freedom’, which charts the struggle for bodily freedom.

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22 Apr 2021
23 min

Monocle Reads: Hay Festival : 

Hay Festival has just announced the programme for its 34th spring edition, a digital event broadcasting some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers from the small town of Hay-on-Wye. To get an overview, we hear from chair of the festival Caroline Michel, as well as two of the writers speaking: award-winning author Jon McGregor and hugely successful debut novelist Hafsa Zayyan.

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28118 Apr 2021
30 min

Terri White: 

Georgina Godwin talks to Terri White, the award-winning magazine editor and current editor-in-chief of ‘Empire’ magazine. From the outside it seemed as though she was living the dream but this could not have been further from the truth. Her book ‘Coming Undone’ is a deeply compelling and brutally honest memoir touching on mental health, alcoholism, imposter syndrome and child sexual abuse.

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15 Apr 2021
21 min

Monocle Reads: Robin Dunbar : 

Robin Dunbar is an anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist. Alongside his research he is a prolific author, publishing numerous books across academic and popular science. He speaks to Georgina Godwin about his latest book ‘Friends: Understanding the Power of our Most Important Relationships’.

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28011 Apr 2021
30 min

Polly Samson: 

Polly Samson is a UK novelist and lyricist best known for writing the lyrics to seven tracks on Pink Floyd’s hit album, ‘The Division Bell’. The former journalist has written a number of critically acclaimed short stories and novels, the latest of which is ‘A Theatre for Dreamers’, a story of discovery set against the beautiful backdrop of Hydra, the Greek island fabled for its hedonism in the 1960s. The book was widely hailed as one of the best novels of 2020.

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8 Apr 2021
20 min

Monocle Reads: Anna Lyons & Louise Winter: 

Progressive funeral director Louise Winter and end-of-life doula Anna Lyons are behind Life Death Whatever, an initiative that aims to rethink conversations around death. They speak to Georgina Godwin about their thoughtful new book ‘We All Know How This Ends: Lessons about life and living from working with death and dying’.

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2794 Apr 2021
30 min

Monique Roffey: 

Multi-award-winning writer and memoirist Monique Roffey was born in Trinidad and educated in the UK. She has won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and claimed the 2020 Costa Book of the Year award for her recent novel, ‘The Mermaid of Black Conch’. Roffey also teaches the next generation of writers as a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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1 Apr 2021
13 min

Monocle Reads: Jessie Greengrass: 

Jessie Greengrass is a rising star in British literature. She has won numerous awards and her debut novel ‘Sight’ was shortlisted for the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction. She speaks to Georgina Godwin about her latest book ‘The High House’, which explores the difficult realities of living through climate change.

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27828 Mar 2021
30 min

Michela Wrong: 

Georgina Godwin speaks to former foreign correspondent for Reuters, the BBC and ‘The Financial Times’, Michela Wrong. Reporting predominantly from Africa, she covered post-genocide Rwanda and the last days of the Mobutu dictatorship as well as numerous other stories across the continent. She has also written a number of books across both fiction and non-fiction, including her Pen prize-winning debut on Mobutu, ‘In the Footsteps of Kurtz’, and Orwell prize-shortlisted ‘It’s our turn to eat’. Her latest book ‘Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad’, focuses on Rwanda and its lurch towards authoritarianism.

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25 Mar 2021
24 min

Monocle Reads: Failures of State: 

Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott are journalists at the award-winning ‘Sunday Times’ investigative platform Insight. They speak to Georgina Godwin about their new book ‘Failures of State: The Inside Story of Britain’s Battle with Coronavirus’, a damning expose of the ineptitudes of Boris Johnson and his government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

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27721 Mar 2021
30 min

Naomi Ishiguro: 

Naomi Ishiguro is one of the most exciting new writers to emerge in Britain in the past few years and daughter of the Nobel and Booker prize-winning author of the same name. Her debut novel ‘Common Ground’ proves that talent definitely runs in the family. She spoke to Georgina Godwin about growing up in a literary household, and dissects the themes of belonging, friendship, and identity that run through her delightful first book.

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18 Mar 2021
20 min

Monocle Reads: Delphine Horvilleur: 

Delphine Horvilleur is France’s third-ever female rabbi. She leads a Jewish congregation in Paris and co-leads the Liberal Jewish Movement of France. She speaks to Georgina Godwin about her latest book ‘Anti-Semitism Revisited: How the Rabbis Made Sense of Hatred’.

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27614 Mar 2021
30 min

Peter Oborne: 

Peter Oborne has had a long and distinguished career in British journalism, including stints at ‘The Spectator’, ‘The Daily Mail’ and most notably as former chief political commentator of ‘The Daily Telegraph’. As well as presenting Channel 4’s flagship investigative show ‘Dispatches’, he has also written numerous books on topics from the Middle East to cricket. He discusses his latest book ‘The Assault on Truth: Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and the Emergence of a New Moral Barbarism’.

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