Writers & Companywith Eleanor Wachtel

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Looking back at the extraordinary Simone de Beauvoir on the 70th anniversary of The Second Sex

Three Beauvoir enthusiasts joined Eleanor Wachtel in 2008 for a discussion about the lasting legacy of the late French intellectual, novelist and memoirist.

How the true story of the 'American Taliban' led to John Wray's new novel, Godsend

The American writer on why his fifth novel explores identity, rebellion and radicalism through the eyes of a teenager.

William Atkins on the beauty, myths and harsh realities of life in the desert

The British author talked to Eleanor Wachtel about the literary allure and mystique of the world's driest, hottest places.

Aatish Taseer on religion, caste and power in modern India

The author and journalist spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about his Indian-Pakistani heritage, spiritual identity and the ancient Indian city of Benares.

How John Grisham turned his passion for justice into bestselling legal thrillers

The bestselling author on how his previous life as an attorney in the American South shaped his storytelling and activism.

To mark St. Patrick's Day, a conversation with Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney

The late Irish poet and playwright talked to Eleanor Wachtel in 2010 about his illustrious body of work.

Nora Krug asks tough questions about her German family's wartime past

The German-American author and illustrator spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about a personal search for identity in the shadow of Germany's dark history.

Sarah Moss on Brexit, borders and the ghosts of England's Iron Age

The British author and academic spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about why, throughout history, society seems to find a scapegoat to abuse and blame.

Opera superstar Jessye Norman reflects on political activism and her 50-year career in music

The gifted soprano talked to Eleanor Wachtel about her life and work.

Diana Athill: looking back at a remarkable literary life and career

Writers & Company looks back at the amazing life and career of editor and memoirist Diana Athill. She died on Jan. 23, 2019, at the age of 101.

Vesna Goldsworthy on re-imagining The Great Gatsby and Anna Karenina

Inspired by literary classics, Vesna Goldsworthy’s novels engage with life in London through the lens of Eastern European and Russian characters.

Juan Gabriel Vásquez on how Colombia's violent past has shaped his fiction and his life

The acclaimed novelist talks to Eleanor Wachtel about understanding his country's past by re-imagining its troubled history.

Esther Kinsky on the ebb and flow of memory in River

The German author speaks to Eleanor Wachtel about the emotional bond between person and place.

Ondjaki captures the humour and heartache of life in his hometown, Luanda

The Angolan author speaks to Eleanor Wachtel on how heritage, history and hardship informed his novel Transparent City.

Nadine Labaki's new film, Capernaum, highlights the heroism of children in Beirut

In Capernaum, Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki's third feature, a 12-year-old boy sues his parents for giving him life.

Kiese Laymon bears the weight of a difficult past in his powerful memoir, Heavy

The American author and academic on exploring identity, addiction and childhood trauma growing up in the Deep South.

Patti Smith on the immediacy of photography — and why she prefers Polaroids

The American punk music icon talks about her photo exhibit Camera Solo in this 2013 interview with Eleanor Wachtel.

Alain Mabanckou on his profound connection to the Republic of the Congo

The celebrated Congolese-French writer joined Eleanor Wachtel onstage at the Vancouver Writers Festival in 2016.

The enduring magic of The Little Prince: with Stacy Schiff, Mark Osborne and Éric Dupont

The three longtime fans of the classic book joined Eleanor Wachtel for a discussion about its enduring and universal appeal.

Pat Barker on giving voice to the enslaved women of Homer's Iliad

The Silence of the Girls is a powerful retelling of The Iliad, reimagined from the point of view of Briseis, the 15-year-old queen who becomes Achilles’s captured slave.

Bernardo Bertolucci on the art and poetry of cinema

Writers & Company revisits Eleanor Wachtel's 2001 conversation with Bernardo Bertolucci, regarded by many as the preeminent Italian filmmaker of his generation.

Susan Orlean on loving libraries — and burning books

The American author of The Library Book on the past, present and future of the cherished institution for book lovers.

'My mother was a Communist informant.' András Forgách explores his family's secret past

The Hungarian novelist and playwright speaks with Eleanor Wachtel about writing fiction based on a real-life family betrayal.

War veteran Elliot Ackerman on the scars that remain once the battle is over

The American author explores the deeply personal impact of war in his new novel Waiting for Eden.

Jeet Thayil on Baudelaire, drug addiction and his provocative novel, Narcopolis

The prize-winning author spoke with Eleanor Wachtel in 2013 about substance abuse, recovery and the beauty of poetry.