Going beyond the book with a wide range of authors to discover the story behind the books we love. More
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It’s an old question but one that seems to be asked with increasing frequency in the era of so-called cancel culture: can you separate the art from the artist? After Essayist and memoir-writer Claire Dederer wrote a viral article about her own response to Roman Polanski she looked further into the lives and works of other problematic figures. The result, Monsters, is a personal and entirely subjective look at creatives like Woody Allen, Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Pablo Picasso and more, that invites the reader to really think about how they feel about the art they love that comes to be stained in some way. We sat down to talk about art monsters, creative genius, and self-indictment.
Rebecca F. Kuang
There is no stopping Rebecca Kuang. With the Poppy War trilogy already under her belt and the fantastic success of Waterstones Book of the Year nominee Babel, she has reinvented herself once again this year with Yellowface, a literary thriller that satirises the very industry she’s involved in, publishing and bookselling. As someone who has worked in both of those industries myself, not to mention the world of social media for 15 years, I couldn’t wait to read this one and was even more excited to sit down and talk with Rebecca about her approach to writing, her insights from the industry, and where she might take readers next.
Caleb Azumah Nelson
Caleb Azumah Nelson made a huge impression with his debut novel Open Water, an emotionally complex novel of love that was also a celebration of black creativity. His new novel, Small Worlds, continues both of those themes, whilst also looking at notions of family, home and a connection with the authors own Ghanaian culture. We sat down for a talk about love, memory and the creative urge.
When Han Kang won the International Booker Prize in 2016 the bonus for readers was that there were more of her books ready to be translated into English. Her latest, Greek Lessons, features a woman who has stopped speaking and her professor, a man who has gradually been losing his sight in a tale of human connection and communication, translated once again by her fellow Booker-winner Deborah Smith, working this time with Emily Yae Won. I sat down with her and interpreter Mi Na Sketchley to talk about the novel’s inspiration, style and experience for the reader.
Emily Henry had already published four young adult novels before turning 30 but with her fifth, Beach Read, and a switch to writing romantic comedy for adults she found a whole new level of engagement with readers. With huge popularity on TikTok and a boom in romantic fiction in general, we sat down to talk about writing through phases in life, creating relatable characters and whether those cartoon covers are hiding something a little darker inside.