10 Writers & Company interviews that stood out in 2017

A list of the authors and ideas that shaped the program this past year.

Relive the busy year at Writers & Company with 10 notable interviews.

Authors sat down with Eleanor Wachtel to discuss the social and personal histories behind their work.

Adam Hochschild

Adam Hochschild is the author of King Leopold's Ghost. (Mariner Books)

Journalist Adam Hochschild writes about all sorts of history. He has covered his personal past in Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son as well as stories about colonial Congo under Belgian rule. His historical accounts earned him the recognition of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012. His Spain in Our Hearts examines the role of Americans within the Spanish Civil War and inspired the conversation which aired on January 29, 2017.

Robert Lepage 

In his one-man show, titled 887, Robert Lepage recalls memories of his childhood growing up in Quebec City during a time of social and political unrest. (Érick Labbé)

Robert Lepage is a film and theatre director. He's worked on music productions for Peter Gabriel, collaborated with the Metropolitan Opera of New York to stage Wagner and directed Cirque du Soleil's Totem. His theatrical body of work has received plaudits from the international community and incorporates elements of his French-Canadian heritage. Lepage discussed why his play 887 is the most intimate of his creations during the April 9, 2017 episode of Writers & Company.

Francisco Goldman, Imbolo Mbue and David Treuer

From left: David Treuer, Imbolo Mbue, Eleanor Wachtel and Francisco Goldman at the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival. (Gabriel Safdie)

Cameroonian novelist Imbolo Mbue won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her debut Behold the Dreamers. Ojibwe anthropologist and writer David Treuer has written a memoir and four works of fiction, including Prudence. Francisco Goldman is a journalist and fiction writer whose debut The Long Night of White Chickens focuses on contemporary Latin America. They gathered at the Blue Metropolis to discuss the origins of their prize-winning novels with Eleanor Wachtel. The conversation aired on the May 14, 2017 episode of the program. 

Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie began writing his memoir after the death of his mother in 2015. (Lee Towndrow)

Poet, fiction writer and filmmaker Sherman Alexie has a celebrated literary career. His YA novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian received the 2007 U.S. National Book Award for Young People's Literature and the poems and short stories in War Dances won the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He spoke to Eleanor Wachtel about his Indigenous heritage as it relates to his memoir You Don't Have to Say You Love Me. Their conversation originally aired on June 18, 2017.

Arundhati Roy 

Eleanor Wachtel (left) spoke to Arundhati Roy in Toronto, Ont. Eleanor interviewed the Man Booker Prize-winning author for the first time in 1997. (Sandra Rabinovitch)

Novelist and activist Arundhati Roy won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997 for The God of Small Things. She has penned screenplays for Indian television productions and has written essays covering international politics. After 21 years, she released her second novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which appeared on the 2017 longlist for the Man Booker Prize. She retraced her career during the June 25, 2017 episode of the program.

John le Carré 

Eleanor Wachtel has interviewed John le Carré three times. (Jane Eustace)

Bestselling author John le Carré built his career on stories of espionage. He is known for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and for creating the spy George Smiley, the protagonist of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. A total of 10 of his works have been adapted into feature films since 1965. He was interviewed on the September 10, 2017 episode of Writers & Company about his novel A Legacy of Spies and the return of Smiley.

Kei Miller

Augustown charts the poetic spaces of a Jamaican enclave amidst a landscape of uneven development.

Poetry is Kei Miller's literary preoccupation. He composed The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion, a poetic discussion between a mapmaker and a Rastafarian, which one the 2014 Forward Prize for Poetry. Having earned a PhD in English literature from the University of Glasgow, he now teaches creative writing in London. Miller explained the drive behind his third novel, Augustown, on the September 17, 2017 episode of the program.

George Saunders  

Eleanor Wachtel and George Saunders at the Toronto Public Library.

Experimental novelist and short story writer George Saunders was a 2006 MacArthur Fellowship recipient. His collection of short stories, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, was among the finalists for the 1996 PEN/Hemingway Award. He spoke about the influences behind the 2017 Man Booker Prize winner Lincoln in the Bardo in an episode that originally aired October 22, 2017. 

Min Jin Lee

Nationhood and identity come under scrutiny in Min Jin Lee's epic Pachinko. (Elena Seibert/ Central Publishing)

Lawyer and writer Min Jin Lee works through Korean-American concerns in both of her novels. Free Food for Millionaires explores consumerism among immigrant families and was selected as a 2007 New York Times Editor's Choice. Lee's second novel, Pachinko, deals with the story of Koreans living in Japan and was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction. She addressed questions of identity during her interview on the program, which aired on October 29, 2017.

Anuradha Roy  

Sleeping on Jupiter is Indian author Anuradha Roy's third novel. (F. Mantovani)

Artist and novelist Anuradha Roy addresses postcolonialism across her work. The Folded Earth followed the life of a woman living near the Himalaya and was longlisted for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize. She told the story of an assault in India in Sleeping on Jupiter, which was longlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. The subject of violence returned to the foreground in her Writers & Company interview. The episode originally aired on November 19, 2017.


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