You know nothing, HBO: Medievalism, and the racial and sexual politics of Game of Thrones

August 2, 2017

To say Game of Thrones is popular is to wildly understate the case: the first episode of the most recent series caused Foxtel to (temporarily) crash. This week, Stephanie and Jimmy are joined by Professor Louise D'Arcens to discuss the popularity of the series and the enduring appeal of the medieval, as well as try to untangle the racial and sexual politics of Westeros. 


Remembering Jane: Is Austen really, “the greatest novelist the world has ever seen”?

July 18, 2017

On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death on July 18, 1817, Stephanie and Michelle are joined by Dr Geoff Payne to talk all things Austen. They debunk some Austen myths, discuss their favourite novels and characters, and agree that Jane Austen is the greatest novelist the world has ever seen. 


25 Years later and we’re still Looking for Alibrandi

July 5, 2017

Melina Marchetta's young adult novel Looking for Alibrandi was published 25 years ago this year. The novel has become a landmark piece of Australian children's literature, and continues to be as popular amongst young people today as it was when it was published. Stephanie, Jimmy and Michelle are joined by Dr Victoria Flanagan to discuss the legacy of the novel, as well as gender, ethnicity, romance, and the experience of reading the novel in 2017. 


S-Town: Stories of Time and Madness

June 21, 2017

Are podcasts the new novels? Stephanie, Michelle and Jimmy podcast on a podcast: S-Town, the new hit show from the team that bought you Serial and This American Life. They discuss John B. McLemore, Alabama, Southern Gothic, tattoos, and why fact really is stranger than fiction. 


13 Reasons Why: An Exploration of Suicide or Revenge?

June 7, 2017

The Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why, based on the popular book of the same name by Jay Asher, has attracted a huge amount of controversy because of its graphic depiction of teenage suicide. While some mental health groups have argued that its content could be triggering to young viewers, others have argued that the series has raised important areas of discussion around bullying and mental health issues for teenagers. This week, Stephanie and Michelle are joined by one of their students, Bohdi Byles, to discuss the television series. 


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. 


Harry Potter and the Silent Intertexts

May 10, 2017

Why is Harry Potter the global sensation that it is, twenty years after the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone? Stephanie and Michelle chat with fantasy expert Dr Kirstin Mills about Harry Potter and the internet, other fantasy literature you should be reading, and why Rowling just can't seem to let Harry go. 


SWF - Our Top Festival Picks

May 3, 2017

Stephanie and Michelle love going to the Sydney Writers' Festival, and they think you should too. We talk about Macquarie University's involvement in the festival, which runs from May 22 to May 28, their top festival picks, and ponder what Stephanie should wear to the panel she's chairing. 


The Handmaid’s Tale : Offred the Unman of Atwood’s Dystopic Future or the woMan of Today’s Feminist Nightmare

April 26, 2017

On the eve of the new television adaptation, Stephanie and Michelle discuss Margaret Atwood's feminist classic, The Handmaid's Tale. Why does this novel, published in 1985 but rapidly rising up the bestseller lists in 2017, still continue to speak to us so urgently today?


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.