The Sunday Magazine with Piya Chattopadhyay


The Sunday Magazine for January 16, 2022

Dr. Roberta Bondar reflects on 30 years since her landmark spaceflight, Monia Mazigh and Megan Leslie remember former federal NDP leader Alexa McDonough, Maxwell Smith weighs the ethics of tools to curb COVID-19, and novelist Naben Ruthnam interrogates workplace diversity initiatives.

Roberta Bondar flew into space 30 years ago and never saw Earth the same after that

It's been 30 years since Roberta Bondar was strapped into a five-point harness on the space shuttle Discovery and blasted into space and into fame as Canada's first female astronaut.

The rising ethical stakes of a prolonged pandemic

Bioethicist Maxwell Smith weighs the ethical considerations of tools being explored to curb COVID-19 at this point in the pandemic – from taxing the unvaccinated to broadening vaccine mandates,

Remembering Alexa McDonough, former NDP leader and trailblazer for women in politics

Alexa McDonough, whose leadership of the Nova Scotia NDP in 1980 made her the first woman to lead a major political party in Canada, has died at the age of 77. Monia Mazigh, and Megan Leslie join Piya to reflect on Mcdonough's life, career, and the legacy she leaves behind.

Naben Ruthnum interrogates workplace diversity initiatives with new novel

The Canadian author speaks with Piya Chattopadhyay about his novel A Hero of Our Time, and his frank and funny take on why even the most well-meaning initiatives need to be probed in order to achieve meaningful change.

The Sunday Magazine for January 9, 2022

Stephen Marche projects perilous American futures, John Koenig shares invented words for universal feelings, Dr. Madhukar Pai urges taking a global approach to end the pandemic, and Hanya Yanagihara returns with her new novel To Paradise.

Will Omicron finally spur wealthy nations to back vaccine equity?

As the Omicron COVID-19 variant overwhelms people and health care systems in Canada, Dr. Madhukar Pai is pleading with elected officials to look beyond borders and boosters to focus on true global health equity as the key to ending the pandemic.

From 'sonder' to 'dès vu': A dictionary of invented words we didn't know we needed

Writer John Koenig has spent more than a decade coining hundreds of new words for universal experiences. He speaks with Piya Chattoadhyay about his Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, and the English language's limits when it comes to describing emotions.

Is the United States on the verge of its next civil war?

Canadian writer Stephen Marche speaks with Piya Chattopadhyay about his speculative non-fiction book The Next Civil War, which sketches several possible future scenarios of Americans taking up arms against each other.

Hanya Yanagihara interrogates the promise of the United States as paradise

A Little Life author Hanya Yanagihara speaks with Piya Chattopadhyay about the themes she explores in her new novel To Paradise: freedom, utopia, borders, and disease over the span of three centuries, and through three different versions of the American experiment.

The Sunday Magazine for January 2, 2022

We discuss 'Big Tech’s' place in the global order, How science fiction can offer hope, Guy Vanderhaeghe muses on the consolations of historical fiction, Neuroscientist and author Lisa Genova on the science of forgetting and the art of remembering

Big tech companies rival nation-states in power and influence, says Ian Bremmer

As the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection approaches, Ian Bremmer is speaking out about the disproportionate role tech companies played in censuring those involved – and how their power could threaten the global world order.

Premee Mohamed ditches apocalypse tropes to tell more complex stories

The Edmonton-based scientist and writer pulls from her own experience as the children of immigrants to weave a post-climate collapse story that focuses on rebuilding and adaptation and the real hard work of getting on with it after everything has changed.

Guy Vanderhaeghe on the fragility of humanity in times of crisis

The three-time Governor General's Award winner speaks with Piya Chattopadhyay about his new novel August into Winter and how times of crisis can both expose the worst in us and provide an opportunity for kindness and humanity.

This neuroscientist wants you to embrace your forgetfulness

If you've ever forgotten where you parked the car or the name of someone you've just met, you know that it makes you question whether you're losing your mind. But bestselling author Lisa Genova says you're not. Her new book, Remember, explores the science of memory and the art of forgetting.

The Sunday Magazine for December 26, 2021

We look back on 2021's lows and highs, Omar Holmon makes the case to expand the spectrum of nerdom, Richard Powers talks about his latest novel Bewilderment, and Buffy Sainte-Marie reflects on her decades of art and activism.

Why listening to your old faves can be such an effective antidote to stress

There's a reason listening to favourite old songs surged over the past two years. One expert says feelings of nostalgia can act as an antidote to stress.

Facing flagging ridership, transit needs more investment, not less, to survive the pandemic: Andy Byford

Transit systems around the world are facing the major challenge of convincing commuters, who have stopped using trains and buses in record numbers throughout the pandemic that it will be safe to do so again, according to long-time transit guru Andy Byford.

Our reading habits changed with pandemic lockdowns — here's how

The pandemic has changed a lot about how we live in the last couple of years, from how we shop and how we socialize to how we work. It's also had an effect on our reading habits, changing everything from how much we read to the kinds of books we choose

Wrapping up the weird year that was

Piya Chattopadhyay sits down with Elamin Abdelmahmoud, Emer O'Toole and Niigaan Sinclair to reflect on 2021, from pandemic valleys and peaks, to news stories that changed the dial and more.

Buffy Sainte-Marie at 80

As an artist and an activist, Buffy Sainte-Marie has always been ahead of her time — whether it comes to messages about the Vietnam War, residential schools, or the environment. She speaks with Piya Chattopahdyay about what's made her the inspirational figure she is today.

Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Powers confronts our most urgent challenges in new novel

The Overstory author continues his exploration of pressing environmental and existential questions in his Booker Prize-nominated follow-up, Bewilderment.

Expanding the spectrum of what it means to be a nerd

Black Nerd Problems co-author Omar Holmon talks about the problem of gatekeeping in nerd culture, when diversifying media can help and hurt representation, and what happens when the real world thwarts escapism.

The pandemic put fun on the backburner. It's time to prioritize it, says science journalist

As the holidays approach and the Omicron variant continues to dominate headlines, it’s harder to come by the kind of joy many of us expect to find this time of year. But science journalist and author Catherine Price says it’s more important than ever to prioritize what she calls 'True Fun.’

Why an Oji-Cree community is trying to rebuild its Catholic church

Despite the scars left by church-run residential schools on members of the St. Theresa Point First Nation, many in the community are devoted Catholics. So there was devastation when their local church burned in suspected arson last year, and now they're trying to rebuild.