The Sunday Magazine

In conversation with Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens was a renowned and sometimes reviled journalist, essayist, polemicist, committed atheist and contrarian. He eviscerated dictators, fundamentalists, fanatics of all stripes, racists and charlatans. Mother Theresa, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II all felt the pointy end of his prose and rhetoric.

His book Letters to a Young Contrarian explores the entire range of 'contrary positions'

Journalist and author Christopher Hitchens photographed outside his hotel in New York on June 7, 2010. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

During his final show as host of The Sunday Edition in June, Michael Enright said of all the thousands of people he's interviewed, his favourite guest was probably Christopher Hitchens.

Hitchens was a renowned and sometimes reviled journalist, essayist, polemicist, committed atheist and contrarian. He hated humbug, hypocrisy and intellectual cowardice, and loved few things more than George Orwell and a good argument.

He had the pedigree of an intellectual elite with an Oxford education and for much of his life was a staunch Marxist, but drew the ire of the left with his support for the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He eviscerated dictators, fundamentalists, fanatics of all stripes, racists and charlatans. Mother Theresa, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II all felt the pointy end of his prose and rhetoric.

Hitchens died in December, 2011, after a year-long battle with esophageal cancer, at the age of 62.

In November 2001 Enright interviewed Hitchens in the early days of the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and shortly after Hitchens published his book, Letters to a Young Contrarian.

Click 'listen' above to hear the full conversation.

 

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now