The Power of Love, or Why We Read Romance Novels

November 29, 2017

Romance fiction is often unfairly maligned as silly and escapist, largely because of its association with a female readership, but in terms of popularity, nothing beats romance. This week, Stephanie and Jimmy discuss the phenomenal power of the romance novel with romance expert Associate Professor Hsu-Ming Teo. 

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Kazuo Ishiguro: An Artist of the Nobel World

October 18, 2017

Kazuo Ishiguro was recently awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature. This week, Stephanie, Michelle and Jimmy commend the Nobel Prize committee for their excellent choice. They talk Japanese cinema, floating worlds, perfect novels, and Stephanie offends Bob Dylan fans. 

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Congress for Cultural Freedom or: How the CIA Fought the Cold War by Focusing on Literature

May 24, 2017

Why was the CIA involved in literature? Stephanie and Michelle talk to Dr Alys Moody about the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a CIA-funded group that financed a whole range of literary activities in the mid-twentieth century. They ponder shadowy government organisations, cover-ups, and what happens when a bunch of writers find out that the CIA is funding their conferences. 

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Two Contemporary American Novels: The Sellout and The Underground Railroad

April 11, 2017

Paul Beatty's The Sellout and Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad are two of the most talked about American titles of the past few years, with Paul Beatty winning the Booker Prize in 2016 and Colson Whitehead taking home the 2016 National Book Award. This week, Stephanie and Michelle discuss The Sellout and The Underground Railroad, and think about why these books have resonated so widely with audiences around the world at this particular moment in time. In this episode, Stephanie predicts that The Underground Railroad will win the Pulitzer Prize, which has now come to pass. Stephanie enjoys being right.

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