Writers & Company with Eleanor Wachtel


Superstar artist Olafur Eliasson engages with the natural world in his thought-provoking installations

The Icelandic Danish artist, known for his sculptures and large-scale installation art, spoke with Eleanor Wachtel in 2012 about art, creativity and political empowerment.

Jericho Brown's prize-winning poetry speaks with power and urgency about racism and violence

In this 2020 interview, the American poet and Pulitzer Prize winner spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about his poetry collection The Tradition, the legacy of racial violence and hopes of finding justice in an unjust world.

30 books to celebrate 30 years of Writers & Company

Writers & Company with Eleanor Wachtel celebrates its 30th anniversary season this year. To celebrate, here's a look back at 30 outstanding books the show has covered since 1990.

Chan Koonchung's dystopian novel The Fat Years imagines state-engineered amnesia in China

Chan Koonchung's controversial 2012 novel follows a group of friends investigating a mysterious amnesia that takes over China.

Witi Ihimaera and Ali Cobby Eckermann on the power of Indigenous storytelling

In this 2018 conversation, the Maori author of The Whale Rider and the Australian Aboriginal poet behind Ruby Moonlight discuss historical wrongs that stories help us face.

The legendary Christopher Plummer: from Shakespeare to The Sound of Music to Knives Out

Eleanor Wachtel spoke to the Academy Award-winning actor on Wachtel on the Arts in 2011. Plummer died on Feb. 5, 2021 at the age of 91.

From Gertrude Stein to true crime, acclaimed journalist Janet Malcolm followed her curiosity

In this 2008 interview, Eleanor Wachtel spoke with Malcolm about the ethics of journalism and literary nonfiction writing. Malcolm died on June 16, 2021 at the age of 86.

Rivka Galchen's reimagining of a 17th century witch trial is a story that speaks to our time

The Canadian-born American writer spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about her new novel, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch, and the historical connections between science, reason and magic.

Bosnian writer Semezdin Mehmedinović on the trauma of war — and the power of love

The Bosnian author and editor spoke with Eleanor Wachtel on writing about memory, language, identity and existence.

Remembering Leonard Cohen: biographer Sylvie Simmons on Montreal's beloved poet

In this 2017 interview, Eleanor Wachtel speaks to music journalist and biographer Sylvie Simmons about the man behind the music, poetry and fiction. Cohen's posthumous album, Thanks for the Dance, has been nominated for a 2021 Juno Award in the album of the year category.

In her prizewinning fiction, Sigrid Nunez deals with life — and death — with empathy and wit

The American novelist spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about friendship, grief and the enduring power of fairy tales.

Dante's Inferno: Why The Divine Comedy still captivates readers, 700 years later 

In this 1996 interview, American essayist and preeminent Dante scholar John Freccero speaks with Eleanor Wachtel about the enduring legacy of one of literature’s greatest works.

Charles Yu's Interior Chinatown looks at anti-Asian racism through the eyes of a Hollywood actor

The American television and fiction writer spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about exploring the influence of stereotypes and representation in his award-winning novel.

Nuala O'Faolain reflects on fleeting fame, aging and Irish history — and writing about it all

An onstage conversation with the Irish journalist and memoirist, originally recorded live in 2003 at the Literary Arts Festival in Victoria.

Alison Bechdel tackles the world of fitness in her new graphic memoir, The Secret to Superhuman Strength

The American author and cartoonist spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about her creative process and her lifelong love affair with exercise.

Polish poet Adam Zagajewski wrote with urgency and eloquence about history, homeland and loss

One of the leading writers of his generation, poet, essayist and novelist Adam Zagajewski died on March 21, 2021. In this 2005 interview, he spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about writing poetry shaped by the complex legacy of Polish history.

Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro on the emotional power of storytelling in a high-tech world 

The British novelist, screenwriter and musician spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about his eighth novel — one that looks at love and loyalty through the eyes of an android.

In Dostoevsky in Love, Alex Christofi captures the tortured brilliance of the great Russian writer

In conversation with Eleanor Wachtel, the British author talks about why the 19th-century writer's work remains powerful and relevant today.

30 years of Writers & Company: Conversations 'In the Field' with 4 remarkable writers from around the world

In celebration of Writers & Company's 30th anniversary season, we revisit classic author interviews that were recorded on location. Listen to Eleanor Wachtel's past conversations with Khushwant Singh, Mandla Langa, Alexis Wright and Tayeb Salih.

Florian Zeller explores family, memory, love and loss in his Oscar-nominated drama, The Father 

The celebrated French novelist, playwright and director spoke to Eleanor Wachtel about emotion, narrative and how he writes for theatre and screen.

Behind the scenes of a life in literature: Michael Ondaatje interviews Eleanor Wachtel

In this special episode, we go back to 2010, when the celebrated host of Writers & Company became the guest on her own program at a live Toronto event.

Lydia Millet's novel A Children's Bible is an imaginative reckoning with climate change

The Toronto-raised American novelist spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about how she sees the world — and why she welcomes the anger of young people about environmental issues.

Ben Macintyre tells the fascinating true story of the only woman to become a top Soviet spy

The British author spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about the allure of espionage and writing about the remarkable Cold War secret operative known as Agent Sonya.

Catherine Lacey imagines a character without race or gender in her latest novel, Pew

The American author spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about writing a novel that examines faith, forgiveness and identity politics.

Veep creator Armando Iannucci finds the comic in the absurd, from The Death of Stalin to David Copperfield 

The Scottish satirist, writer and director spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about his love of Charles Dickens and why he finds truth in satire.