CBC Digital Archives

Writers & Company: M.G. Vassanji and John Keegan

Highlighting books and their authors, new works and old classics, fiction and non-fiction, the CBC Radio program Writers and Company is devoted to the world of reading. Hosted by thoughtful and knowledgeable broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel since its creation in 1991, the program features the best in the written word from Canada and around the world.

He never wore a uniform for any armed force, but John Keegan knows a lot about war, having made a career of writing about conflict stretching back to earliest recorded history. In conversation with Eleanor Wachtel of CBC Radio's Writers and Company, Keegan doesn't just dwell on past wars. Many more recent and ongoing conflicts, he says, are only happening because of the easy availability of cheap weapons.

In a second conversation in this episode, Wachtel talks with M.G. Vassanji, who has just won the inaugural Giller Prize for his novel The Book of Secrets. Born to Indian parents in Kenya, Vassanji came to the United States in 1978 to study physics, then moved to Canada to work at the Chalk River nuclear facility. During their talk, Vassanji ponders his novel's theme of the search for home.  

• See a CBC Digital Archives clip in which M.G. Vassanji wins the first ever Giller Prize for The Book of Secrets in 1994.
• John Keegan expanded on his view about the pointlessness of the First World War in his 1999 book The First World War. According to Keegan, it was "a tragic and unnecessary conflict'' that ''ended the lives of 10 million human beings [and] tortured the emotional lives of millions more."
Medium: Radio
Program: Writers & Company
Broadcast Date: Nov. 20, 1994
Guest(s): John Keegan, M.G. Vassanji
Host: Eleanor Wachtel
Duration: 31:20
This clip was edited for copyright reasons. Photo: CP PHOTO/Aaron Harris

Last updated: September 19, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

Writers & Company: A portrait of Henry James

Three literary experts on the works of Henry James explore recent film adaptations of his nove...

Writers & Company: Pat Barker's Regeneration

The author of a First World War trilogy takes inspiration from her grandfather's experience.

Writers & Company: Michael Ondaatje reads fro...

Novelist Michael Ondaatje reads from his Booker-winning The English Patient, now an Oscar-winn...

Writers & Company: Elie Wiesel, haunted by Au...

World-renowned author Elie Wiesel on his groundbreaking Holocaust memoir, Night, and ...

Writers & Company: Barbara Kingsolver goes ho...

The Kentucky-born author reads from a short story and a novel and talks about her own history.

Writers & Company: Richard Dawkins on Darwini...

The author of The Selfish Gene explains why it's important to make science enjoyable and under...