Writers & Companywith Eleanor Wachtel


Of mazes and men: Carol Shields explores both in Larry's Party

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. To celebrate that milestone, Writers & Company will be revisiting interviews with past winners.

P.D. James at 100: The thrills and mysteries of her life as a crime writer

Aug. 3, 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of P.D. James, one of England's most celebrated crime writers. Writers & Company revisits Eleanor Wachtel’s 2000 conversation with the author, who died in 2014 at the age of 94.

The imaginative leaps of German filmmaker Wim Wenders

In this 2011 interview, the German director spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about making road movies, the magic of dance and his documentary about the late German choreographer Pina Bausch.

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

The gifted soprano spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about her life and work at the Toronto Reference Library in early 2019. Norman died on Sept. 30, 2019.

The legacy of Milton Glaser: Designer of the iconic I Love New York logo

Milton Glaser died on June 26. In this 2010 interview, the influential graphic designer spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about his profound experience of creating life through pictures.

Eva Hoffman on getting lost — and found — in time, language and memory

In this 2010 interview, the Polish-American author of Time and Lost in Translation spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about our ever-changing perception of time and place.

From The Book of Salt to The Sweetest Fruits, Monique Truong's fiction explores the hunger of the soul

The Vietnamese American novelist and essayist spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about her personal connection to the literary themes of food, hunger and displacement.

A life in movies: John Boorman on Point Blank, Deliverance and his new memoir, Conclusions

In conversation with Eleanor Wachtel, the British filmmaker reflects on the primal power of storytelling — and how modern cinema has evolved.

The enduring appeal of Charles Dickens: still entertaining us, 150 years later

British biographer and author Claire Tomalin spoke with Eleanor Wachtel in 2011 about why Dickens's fiction is still as popular as ever.

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

The American poet and 2020 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.

The poet of solitude: How Emily Dickinson was fuelled by the light of her brilliant interior world 

American journalist and Dickinson scholar Martha Ackmann spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about the remarkable life and legacy of the influential 19th-century poet.

Flemish writer Stefan Hertmans pursues a tale of star-crossed love in the Middle Ages

Hertmans spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about The Convert, a tragic story of forbidden lovers set at the time of the Crusades.

Sharon Olds on the joy and peril of writing deeply personal poetry

The Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet spoke with Eleanor Wachtel at the Vancouver Writers Festival in 2016. Olds is among the nominees for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Zimbabwe's Petina Gappah casts new light on David Livingstone's search for the source of the Nile

The Zimbabwean lawyer and writer spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about her fascination with the 19th-century explorer and his obsession with one of the world’s longest waterways.

Two-time Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel wraps up her blockbuster Tudor trilogy with The Mirror & the Light

The English writer spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about saying goodbye to Thomas Cromwell.

From Virginia Woolf to Dorothy L. Sayers — one London square and five remarkable women who lived there 

British biographer Francesca Wade spoke to Eleanor Wachtel about social change, personal freedoms and literary ambition between the First and Second World Wars.

Ruth Reichl's bittersweet adventures in food — from her mother's kitchen to The New York Times

In this 2006 conversation with Eleanor Wachtel, the American author and culinary editor spoke about the life of a food critic — and how a love for cuisine has defined her life and career.

Translator and writer Jennifer Croft on her extraordinary childhood and the places it's led her 

The American author and translator's memoir is a poignant exploration of language, sisterhood and overcoming personal tragedy.

Christopher Ricks on why Bob Dylan is "the greatest living user of the English language"

Literary critic and scholar Christopher Ricks discusses why Nobel Prize laureate Bob Dylan deserves to be included among the greatest writers of all time.

From Soviet Russia to Trump's America, Masha Gessen on the nature of power and morality

The Russian-American journalist, author, translator and activist spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about the abuse of power and rise of modern totalitarianism.

Maaza Mengiste on the untold story of Ethiopia's women warriors during Italian occupation

In conversation with Eleanor Wachtel, the Ethiopian-American writer spoke about writing historical fiction that looks at the real-life pride and power of an African nation.

Star choreographer Alexei Ratmansky makes breathtaking ballet out of classic literature

The Russian-born choreographer spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about training as a young dancer in St. Petersburg and getting his start at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Jeanette Winterson brings humour and understanding to a fraught childhood

In honour of International Women's Day, we revisit Eleanor Wachtel's 2012 conversation with the celebrated British writer.

Chris Ware on how Peanuts, his mother and being bullied in school made him a cartoonist

The American cartoonist spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about how his childhood shaped his distinctive art style and outlook on life.

From Tripoli to Tuscany: Libyan writer Hisham Matar finds new connections between art and life

In conversation with Eleanor Wachtel, Matar talks about the ways that place, art, loss and grief can intersect.