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Interviews

Arts and Ideas

BBC Radio 3

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The best of BBC Radio 3's flagship arts and ideas programme Free Thinking - featuring in-depth interviews and debates with artists, scientists and public figures.
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21:12 | Sep 13th

Witchcraft, witch-trials and the image of the witch are explored by historian Professor Suzannah Lipscomb and Dr Thomas Waters. Hosted by New Generation Thinker Fern Riddell. Dr Thomas Waters is the author of Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft a...Show More

44:50 | Sep 12th

Caroline Dower is a psychotherapist and currently Head of the Counselling Service at Durham University. She has a special interest in the experience of psychological distress, and the experience of anxiety in young adults. Ceyda Uzun is a student at...Show More

37:30 | Sep 11th

The best selling thriller writer, Ruth Ware and the editor of the popular Letters of Note anthologies, Shaun Usher, join Sophie Coulombeau to discuss letter writing in the 21st century. Producer: Zahid Warley

20:43 | Sep 2nd

Why the bible story of Jephtha caused more controversy than your average burnt offering. Reverend Richard Coles and Old Testament scholar Dr Deborah Rooke explain it all. Presented by John Gallagher. Producer: Torquil MacLeod

34:14 | Aug 27th

Writer and broadcaster, Horatio Clare and the rapper and playwright, Testament join Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough to explore the ways in which the British landscape - urban and rural -- inspires writers. Producer: Zahid Warley

34:12 | Aug 22nd

Nina Simone - singer, pianist, civil rights activist and black feminist icon -- Kevin Legendre, Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Zena Edwards discuss her achievements and legacy. Producer: Zahid Warley

25:20 | Aug 21st

Presenter Seán Williams discusses Beethoven the man and. Through a series of readings we learn what inspired the composer’s work.

34:39 | Aug 21st

Anindya Raychaudhuri discusses Kipling's Jungle Books with children's novelist Frances Hardinge and academic Sue Walsh, recorded in front of an audience at Imperial College Union. How does Kipling use language to create character and discuss identity...Show More

21:08 | Aug 21st

Enter a world where huts walk on chicken legs, fish grant wishes and Baba Yaga sharpens her iron tooth with writers Marina Warner and Sophie Anderson. Presented by Victoria Donovan. Producer: Torquil MacLeod

43:21 | Aug 18th

New research on slavery with historians Christienna Fryar, Kevin Waite, and Andrea Livesey. A Different Drummer was the debut novel of Kelley - first published when he was 24. Compared to William Faulkner and James Baldwin, it was forgotten until an...Show More

28:57 | Aug 16th

Berlioz originally presented an early version of The Shepherd's Farewell - part of The Childhood of Christ, at this year's Proms - as the work of ‘Ducré’. It soon emerged that Ducré was not a forgotten 17th century composer, but a hoax created to sat...Show More

42:52 | Aug 15th

From Napoleon impersonators, caricature and ballads, to a play which asks what if he didn't die in exile - presenter Anne McElvoy is joined by actor and director Kathryn Hunter, biographer Michael Broers, historians Oskar Cox Jensen and Laura O'Brien...Show More

45:19 | Aug 14th

Recorded as his film Peterloo opened in cinemas and repeated now to mark this week's 200th anniversary of the Manchester massacre

36:08 | Aug 13th

The award-winning author of young adult novels, Patrice Lawrence and historian Emma Butcher - who specialises in 19th century child soldiers - discuss the construction of childhood past and present with New Generation Thinker and literary scholar, L...Show More

25:40 | Aug 12th

Tchaikovsky’s letters to his brothers and to his nephew - to whom his final Symphony, the Pathétique, is dedicated - are fascinating insights into the composer’s turbulent life and work. Though his sexuality has, in particular, long been a topic of s...Show More

21:24 | Aug 8th

Novelist and Gothic literature specialist Elizabeth Lowry joins the writer, documentarist, film-maker and psycho-geographer Iain Sinclair to discuss the dark glitter of the Gothic and the work of the American poet Edgar Allan Poe, with presenter Matt...Show More

33:10 | Aug 8th

One way that people deal with grief and suffering is to turn to tragic stories for example and catharsis. Rana Mitter discusses tragedy, ancient and modern with the award-winning poet Clare Pollard, author of ‘Ovid’s Heroines’, and the literary h...Show More

21:44 | Aug 5th

In 2017, Sacha Dench, founder of Conservation Without Borders, flew the 4,000 mile migration route of Bewick swans from Arctic Russia to the UK in a paraglider. Drawing on her experience, the ‘Human Swan’ talks about the birds that have become symbol...Show More

45:16 | Aug 5th

Since 1983, Spike Lee's production company has produced over 35 films. His 1989 film Do The Right Thing was nominated for Best Original Screenplay in the Academy Awards. Best Picture that year went to Driving Miss Daisy. 30 years on Do the Right Th...Show More

25:02 | Aug 4th

Taking their inspiration from the Russian and Finnish composers of 2019 Prom 22, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough and an audience at Imperial College London hear from Mythos Podcaster Nicole Schmidt and the musical scholar and New Generation Thinker Leah...Show More

21:45 | Jul 26th

1996 was the summer of Woodstock, the moon landing and the Beatles’ Abbey Road. Author and New Generation Thinker Preti Taneja is joined by poets Rachael Allen and Jacob Polley look at how the Sixties appear now, unaffected by nostalgia and refracte...Show More

34:33 | Jul 24th

Naomi Paxton discusses the latest science and clinical practice with psychologist Dr Daisy Fancourt, a psychologist and epidemiologist who studies the relationship between music and health, and Dr Simon Opher, a GP in Gloucestershire who prescribes m...Show More

37:30 | Jul 22nd

As the Proms marks the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landings, Professor Richard Wiseman, author of ‘Shoot For The Moon’ and Melanie Vandenbrouck the lead curator of the Moon exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich join Rana Mitt...Show More

46:27 | Jul 19th

Matthew Sweet looks at book frontispieces, dust jackets, footnotes, indexes and marginalia with Dennis Duncan, and explores a research project investigating difficulty in culture, with Professor Sarah Knight and Dr Hannah Crawforth. Plus, New Gener...Show More

45:48 | Jul 17th

Anne McElvoy and new ways of understanding post-war Germany and Austria through history, film and literature with Florian Huber, Sophie Hardach, Adam Scovell and Tom Smith. Florian Huber Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself explores a little understood...Show More

45:04 | Jul 17th

Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's Language uses corpus linguistics, a statistical method that collates data on how frequently words are used and how often particular words appear alongside each other, to investigate Shakespeare's work. And the results ar...Show More

48:23 | Jul 17th

What is the metaphysical status of an unborn fetus in relation to its mother? Is it possible to know what pregnancy will mean for you before you become pregnant? How can the distinction between having a duty to do something and acting for a reason he...Show More

39:09 | Jul 17th

Greater Manchester was created in the 1970s, bringing together areas that had previously been parts of Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cheshire, as well as the City of Manchester itself. These areas all had (and have) quite different accents, so Erin Carr...Show More

40:09 | Jul 17th

Hetta Howes learns that the absence of dental floss in the Neolithic era has left archaeologists with invaluable information about how our ancestors lived and where they travelled to. While piles of pig bones near Stonehenge reveal a communal societ...Show More

45:31 | Jul 16th

Writer, feminist and author of such books as Sexual Personae and Provocations, Camille Paglia joins Philip Dodd to talk about feminism and free speech in the 21st century, and how her Italian heritage has contributed to her character. Producer: Cra...Show More

58:47 | Jul 11th

Ex marine and journalist Elliot Ackerman talks with Iraq war political advisor Emma Sky. A novel by Shiromi Pinto tracing the life of Sri Lankan architect Minnette de Silva. New Generation Thinker Christina Faraday researches the history of pop-up an...Show More

45:51 | Jul 10th

The Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove on staging Ayn Rand's ideas in The Fountainhead. 'The theme of my novel', said Ayn Rand, 'is the struggle between individualism and collectivism, not in the political arena but in the human soul. Plus Shahidh...Show More

44:20 | Jul 10th

Matthew Sweet and guests look at the thought and writing of Iris Murdoch 100 years on from her birth, re-reading her work of moral philosophy she published in 1970, drawing on lectures she had given at universities in England and America. With Lucy ...Show More

45:26 | Jul 4th

Philip Dodd hosts a special programme recorded in Cleveland, Ohio. Once a booming manufacturing metropolis located on the southern shore of Lake Erie, this 'rust belt' city has for many years been synonymous with industrial decay and high unemploymen...Show More

44:35 | Jul 4th

Rana Mitter considers fearing Russia past and present with Mark B Smith, and the way Russia controlled fears over Chernobyl. Plus Tamar Koplatadze from the University of Oxford on her research into contemporary post-Soviet/colonial women writers’ res...Show More

45:25 | Jul 3rd

Preti Taneja talks to the winner of the 2019 Dylan Thomas Prize, Guy Gunaratne, Egyptian graphic novelist Deena Mohamed, poet and broadcaster, Michael Rosen, Iranian-American author Dina Nayeri and Somali-British poet Momtaza Mehri. Guy Gunaratne's...Show More

46:46 | Jun 28th

Amitav Ghosh on linking refugees, climate change, Venice & Bengali forests in his fiction. New Generation Thinker Islam Issa on Epstein's Lucifer sculpture. Rana Mitter presents. Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh weaves the ancient legend about the goddess...Show More

45:54 | Jun 26th

The art of Cindy Sherman; art critic Laura Cumming on finding out the history behind the days her mother disappeared as a child on a Lincolnshire beach, New Generation Thinker Susan Greaney on local history museums. Naomi Paxton presents and joining ...Show More

45:38 | Jun 26th

Jane Goodall is giving a talk at the British Academy on the work of the Jane Goodall Foundation with chimpanzees, protecting the environment with local communities and improving health and education for girls in rural Africa. Elif Shafak's latest no...Show More

19:15 | Jun 21st

New Generation Thinker Alistair Fraser on the fates and fortunes of Glaswegian tough guys. Recorded with an audience at the York Festival of Ideas. To hear audience questions download the Essay as an episode of the BBC Arts&Ideas podcast. The image...Show More

45:13 | Jun 20th

Philip Dodd is in conversation with the American author James Ellroy, whose books include LA Confidential and his latest, This Storm, part of his ongoing project to write a novelistic history of the USA from 1941 to 1972. As he tells Philip Dodd, i...Show More

20:06 | Jun 20th

New Generation Thinker Sarah Goldsmith's Essay introduces an audience at York Festival of Ideasto Beau Brummel and others who have understood the mixed messages of suits through time. England football coach Gareth Southgate's pitch-side waistcoats ...Show More

45:25 | Jun 20th

Anne McElvoy, former Colonel Lincoln Jopp MC & novelist Benjamin Markovits on the new TV Catch-22. Jade Halbert on recycling fashion. Poet Fred D'Aguiar on winning the Cholmondeley Prize and Wu Mali on socially engaged art. Producer: Zahid Warley

21:04 | Jun 19th

New Generation Thinker Tom Smith's Essay argues that the East German army had a reputation for unbending masculinity so it's surprising how central queerness was to the enterprise. Recorded with an audience at the York Festival of Ideas. Brutality ...Show More

50:31 | Jun 19th

Eimear McBride is the author of A Girl is a Half-formed Thing and The Lesser Bohemians Professor Finn Fordham from Royal Holloway, University of London is the author of Lots of Fun at Finnegans Wake: I do I undo I redo: and he edited Finnegans Wake f...Show More

19:07 | Jun 18th

New Generation Thinker Emma Butcher on the first soldier memoirs to talk about pain, terror and trauma. The Napoleonic Wars, like all wars, had their celebrities. Chief among them, Wellington and Napoleon, whose petty rivalry and military bravado ens...Show More

21:54 | Jun 17th

New Generation Thinker Alun Withey on what made 18th-century men shave off centuries of manly growth. Recorded before an audience at the York Festival of Ideas. You can hear audience questions from the event as an episode of the BBC Arts&Ideas podcas...Show More

45:47 | Jun 14th

Johny Pitts, Caryl Phillips and Nat Illumine discuss the idea of Afropean identity with Matthew Sweet. Plus New Generation Thinker Dina Rezk on Jehane Noujaim's Oscar nominated documentary The Square and Egyptian politics. Georgia Parris discusses he...Show More

44:56 | Jun 13th

The American sculptor Michael Rakowitz on how his own Iraqi heritage drove him to make art about the disappearance of artefacts and people. From shame to sympathy - New Generation Thinker Emily Cock looks at the way the British State used facial disf...Show More

44:56 | Jun 12th

The American sculptor Michael Rakowitz on how his own Iraqi heritage drove him to make art about the disappearance of artefacts and people. From shame to sympathy - New Generation Thinker Emily Cock looks at the way the British State used facial disf...Show More

44:48 | Jun 11th

Rana Mitter hears about a project that assesses the experiences of Muslim women in the UK cultural industries and talks to political artist John Keane. Author Katherine Rundell explains why adults should be reading children's books. Plus New Generati...Show More

53:34 | Jun 6th

Peter Pomerantsev, Joanna Kavenna, New Generation Thinker Lisa Mullen and Dorian Lynskey join Matthew Sweet to debate George Orwell's vision of a world of surveillance, war and propaganda published in June 1949. How far does his vision of the future ...Show More

46:19 | Jun 5th

A panel of researchers share insights into the law and warfare, gender and AI & Anne McElvoy talks to David Brooks and Hilary Cottam about compassion and creating communities. Part of a week long focus Free Thinking the Future. You can find more int...Show More

45:02 | Jun 4th

Joy Buolamwini founder of the Algorithmic Justice League and MIT media lab researcher, Anders Sandberg of the Future of the Human Institute at Oxford, artist Anna Ridler & Sheffield Robotics' Michael Szollosy join Matthew Sweet and an audience at the...Show More

46:31 | May 29th

Rachel Carson’s passionate book, Silent Spring, first published in 1962 is said to be the work which launched the environmental movement. But how does it speak to us now? For a recording of Free Thinking’s Cultural Landmark series at the Hay Festiv...Show More

42:40 | May 22nd

Author Nicola Upson has imagined the life of Stanley Spencer from the viewpoint of his maidservant. Ella Parry-Davies researches the lives of women from the Philippines who work as domestic and care workers. The novel The Farm by Joanne Ramos imagine...Show More

54:00 | May 22nd

Matthew Sweet hears from Naomi Wolf about ways in which the state interfered in the private lives of its citizens in the 19th century, resulting in a penal codification of homosexuality with long-reaching consequences. They're joined by literary scho...Show More

44:56 | May 16th

The walking & photographs of WG Sebald on show in Norwich, American poet Carolyn Forché on the stranger who gave her an insider's view of politics in El Salvador whilst she was in her '20s. Plus an exhibition of money and Jewish history. Laurence Sco...Show More

48:18 | May 15th

Should we widen the net of who has a say over river management and would this be better for our rivers and ultimately ourselves. What are rivers themselves trying to tell us. Shahidha Bari meets four people with artistic, scholarly and personal rela...Show More

1:14:32 | May 15th

With an audience at the British Library, Professor Bhabha gives a short talk and discusses ideas about nations and a postcolonial approach to politics, literature and history. Shahidha Bari hosts in a Free Thinking event organised with the Royal Soci...Show More

45:06 | May 14th

The worlds large water infrastructure projects often result in geo-political flashpoints - Rana Mitter hears from Majed Akhter about problems from the US to Pakistan while Dustin Garrick outlines a water crisis that is also a crisis in governance and...Show More

45:53 | May 10th

Matthew Sweet talks Spaghetti Westerns and Sergio Leone with Christopher Frayling and Samira Ahmed. They also look at the film worlds of Stanley Kubrick as an exhibition runs at London's Design Museum. Plus magic, mind games and the role of the magic...Show More

48:58 | May 8th

Anne McElvoy reads a new biography of Chaucer by Marion Turner called Chaucer: A European Life and talks to writer Bernardine Evaristo about her depiction of 12 characters aged 12 to 93 in her novel Girl, Woman, Other and to Candice Carty-Williams ab...Show More

1:11:56 | May 8th

Rana Mitter and an audience at the British Academy hear from the six historians on this year's shortlist. The books are: Building Anglo-Saxon England by John Blair Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice by Mary Fulbrook ...Show More

50:59 | May 7th

Elaine Showalter, Michael Schmidt, Peter Riley and Katie McGettigan with Laurence Scott on the 19th century writers who shaped the idea of America. 1819 was the year that Herman Melville, Walt Whitman and Julia Ward Howe were born. Whitman's Leaves...Show More

44:27 | May 2nd

Kierkegaard humiliated the woman he was due to marry by publicly breaking the engagement - yet one of his most important books is a detailed analysis of the meaning of love. Socrates loved asking the question 'What is love?' but his conversations on ...Show More

53:17 | Apr 30th

Poet Jackie Kay & performer Selina Thompson plus Jonathan Rollins and Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins the children of Audre Lorde discuss the influence of the US writer & civil rights activist whose work considers feminism, lesbianism, civil rights and black...Show More

53:33 | Apr 25th

From Berlin techno music to the Glasgow ‘rag trade’, divisive dams to fake news - hear the research topics of 10 early career academics introduced by New Generation Thinker Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough at the Free Thinking Festival New Generation Th...Show More

51:42 | Apr 24th

We talk about “human emotion” as if all people, everywhere, feel the same. But three thinkers with an international perspective discuss how the expression and interpretation of emotions differs around the world. China specialist and Radio 3 presenter...Show More

49:39 | Apr 23rd

Two animal psychologists and a historian of animal studies join Eleanor Rosamund Barraclought to discuss whether it's possible to recognise similar traits in humans, chimps, crows, hawks, dogs and cats in terms of affinity and attachment, despite dif...Show More

54:12 | Apr 18th

Charles Dickens. Walt Disney. The Romantic poets..These renowned artists and entertainers were all accused of being “over-sentimental”. But is our own age topping them all – with its culture of grief memoirs, gushing obituaries and feel-good fiction?...Show More

48:32 | Apr 17th

Poet and critic Bridget Minamore, TV drama expert John Yorke and film expert Melanie Williams join Matthew Sweet for a Brief Encounter at the Free Thinking Festival to look at the devices – music, close ups and the cliffhangers that cinema and TV emp...Show More

1:12:10 | Apr 17th

Pascale Petit’s collection of poetry, Mama Amazonica, which explores motherhood, illness and pain through the foliage and creatures of the Amazon rainforest, won the 2018 Prize. Peter Pomerantsev’s winning book in 2016, Nothing Is True and Everythin...Show More

58:02 | Apr 16th

Anne McElvoy debates at the Free Thinking Festival with intensive care doctor Aoife Abbey, GP & Prof Louise Robinson, Naeem Soomro expert in using robotic surgery and Michael Brown medical historian. Does emotion have any place in relationships with ...Show More

14:35 | Apr 12th

You don't have to be religious to believe that, as the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, "all human beings have the right to be free and treated equally." However, drawing on a wide range of examples including Shakespeare'...Show More

20:34 | Apr 11th

Michael Talbot asks how can power be exerted over water? What do borders mean in the featureless desert of the ocean? These were questions faced by the Ottoman Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries when an imaginary line was used to create a legally ...Show More

53:42 | Apr 11th

Sarah Moss is a novelist and Professor at the University of Warwick. Her most recent book Ghost Wall articulates the tangled space of love, abuse and resistance. Her previous novels include Cold Earth, Night Waking, Signs for Lost Children and The Ti...Show More

22:26 | Apr 10th

You are a liberal who opposes art being banned. But would a movie that calls for you to be killed change your view of censorship? This was the quandary facing Salman Rushdie when filmmakers in Pakistan produced a James Bond-style action thriller in w...Show More

44:37 | Apr 10th

Can we ever really know the feelings of byegone generations? Author and TV historian Tracy Borman shares the clues we have to the emotional lives of Tudor royalty and archaeologist Penny Spikins explains what million year old human remains tell us ab...Show More

20:45 | Apr 9th

Was George Orwell’s wife his forgotten collaborator on one of the most famous books in the world? Lisa Mullen takes a new look at Animal Farm from the perspective of the smart and resourceful Eileen Blair – and uncovers a hidden story about sex, fert...Show More

45:29 | Apr 9th

According to Madmen’s ad executive Don Draper, “what you call love was invented by guys like me… to sell nylons.” So how does advertising and gaming grab us by our emotions? Can we know when we’re being manipulated? And is there anything we can do ab...Show More

50:58 | Apr 9th

Harriet Shawcross is a film-maker whose first book Unspeakable reflects on how, as a teenager, she stopped speaking at school for almost a year, communicating only when absolutely necessary. It mixes personal experience with travel diaries and interv...Show More

48:09 | Apr 9th

Shahidha Bari hosts an evening of live drama and conversation from the Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead produced by Fiona McLean and David Hunter.

19:58 | Apr 8th

What was more important in the construction of an eighteenth-century man’s body: the dumbbell or the dumbwaiter? Who had the most enviable body shape: the svelte Apollo Belvedere or the rotund John Bull? Dr Sarah Goldsmith, from the University of Lei...Show More

46:01 | Apr 8th

Matthew Sweet and a panel of experts stand-up for their emotion of choice in a debate about the most pertinent emotion for understanding Britain today. Is it Joy? Anger? Anxiety? Schadenfruede or shame? The panel express their feelings and an audienc...Show More

20:26 | Apr 5th

Elsa Richardson uncovers the early history of the wellbeing industry and introduces Eustace Hamilton Miles, a diet guru who made his name selling health to Edwardian Britons. Reformers promoted the ‘simple life’, one that emphasised fresh air, exerci...Show More

54:33 | Apr 5th

What does it mean to feel that your political position is righteous? At a time of rising tempers among electorates, should we all “calm down - or harness our rage? Kehinde Andrews is Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University. His books...Show More

17:57 | Apr 4th

Commercial surrogacy – the practice of paying another woman to carry a pregnancy to term – has been criticised for being exploitative, particularly when poorer women are recruited. Even if these women were paid more, and the exploitation element were...Show More

19:13 | Apr 3rd

Have you ever been somewhere you shouldn't? In this essay, New Generation Thinker Ben Anderson creeps around, and explains how trespassers in the early-twentieth century helped create new attitudes to nature by stepping off the path. Descriptions of...Show More

54:25 | Apr 3rd

How much emotion should you show if you are a diplomat, a news reporter or a conciliation expert? Anne McElvoy chairs a Free Thinking Festival debate at Sage Gateshead with Gabriel Gatehouse, Gabrielle Rifkind and William J Burns. In the world of i...Show More

22:50 | Apr 2nd

Daisy Black looks at religious imagery, food, anti-semitism and product placement in medieval mystery plays. Eaten by characters, dotted around the stage as saliva-prompting props, or nibbled by audiences - a medieval religious drama is glutted with ...Show More

47:32 | Apr 2nd

Worrying is a natural part of growing-up. And yet the incidence of serious anxiety and depression is rapidly increasing. Psychologist Stephen Briers from TV's Teen Angels, student Ceyda Uzun and Durham University's head of counselling Caroline Dower ...Show More

21:05 | Apr 2nd

From the story of Jonas Salk, who left the city of Pittsburgh for a medieval Italian town to create the space to think which led to the invention of the polio vaccine to the novelist JG Ballard depicting urban high rise living and the work of biologi...Show More

46:29 | Apr 1st

Many legal systems have allowed the accused the defence of a “crime of passion”: attributing their act to a sudden explosion of feeling, rather than pre-meditated violence. Prosecutors, though, have argued that “passion” is simply another word for “i...Show More

59:56 | Apr 1st

The idea of ‘emotions’ did not exist until the nineteenth century but now they are the subject of study and Professor Thomas Dixon was the first director of Queen Mary University of London's Centre for the History of the Emotions. He is currently re...Show More

46:01 | Mar 27th

The writers of TV sitcoms The Likely Lads, Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet talk to Matthew Sweet. As a restoration of the film version of The Likely Lads is released, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais discuss depicting working lives in the 1960s, the...Show More

45:14 | Mar 26th

From politics to religion, gangster films to espionage, Philip Dodd considers acts of betrayal, with theologian, Elaine Storkey, columnist Peter Hitchens, author Jenny McCartney and historian Owen Matthews. Producer: Craig Templeton Smith

44:58 | Mar 21st

A history of orphans in Britain, fears about post war brainwashing, childrens' letters to C19 newspapers and portraits on show at Compton Verney. Anne McElvoy presents. New Generation Thinker and historian Emma Butcher is researching writing from c...Show More

45:03 | Mar 20th

Authors Max Porter, Samantha Harvey and Alisdair Benjamin discuss empathy and the role it plays in writing and reading. How does it work? Is it the same in fiction and non-fiction? And how is it faring in a world where data sometimes seems to have re...Show More

44:53 | Mar 19th

Valeria Luiselli talks to Laurence Scott about the desert border between Mexico and USA & capturing the sound, history and contemporary politics in her novel Lost Children Archive. The poet George Szirtes' first prose work brings his Hungarian mother...Show More

53:33 | Mar 14th

Artist Hew Locke and historians Suzannah Lipscomb, Aanchal Malhotra & Anindya Raychaudhuri talk to Rana Mitter about using objects and archives to create new images of the past, from Guyana to India and Pakistan to women in C16th France. Suzannah Li...Show More

45:57 | Mar 13th

Painter George Shaw, crime writer Dreda Say Mitchell and drama expert Katie Beswick join Matthew Sweet to look at depictions of estate living - from the writing of Andrea Dunbar to SLICK on Sheffield's Park Hill estate to the images of the Tile Hill ...Show More

58:46 | Mar 12th

Gazelle Twin (Elizabeth Bernholz), Julia Bardsley, Hannah Catherine Jones, Luke Turner & William Fowler join Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough and an audience at Café OTO at the Late Junction Festival for a debate about trends within British culture. Ga...Show More

45:36 | Mar 7th

Lying about a sexual attack, resisting parental pressures to marry, using the law to fight for inheritance and divorce. Shahidha Bari talks to the fiction writers Ayelet Gundar-Goshen and Layla AlAmmar about their new books which depict girls who fee...Show More

45:51 | Mar 6th

How self-revealing and frank should a writer be? Lara Feigel, David Aaronovitch, Melissa Benn and Xiaolu Guo join Matthew Sweet to look at the life of Doris Lessing and her 1962 novel in which she explores difficult love, life, war, politics and drea...Show More

49:19 | Mar 5th

The photographers, David Bailey and Don McCullin, came to prominence in the 1960s but their pictures did more than define a decade. Don McCullin's work in Vietnam, Biafra, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and the Middle East have come to epitomise what we me...Show More

44:54 | Mar 4th

Shahidha Bari talks to Fatimah Asghar about poetry and the Emmy nominated web series Brown Girls. We have a look at the miniatures of Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver – court painters to Queen Elizabeth and James the first who both feature in an ex...Show More

44:58 | Feb 28th

Laurence Scott, Will Self and New Generation Thinkers Lisa Mullen and Danielle Thom look at redundant features in design plus a visit to Collect: International Art Fair for Modern Craft and Design, presented at the Crafts Council, at the Saatchi Gall...Show More

45:43 | Feb 26th

Historian Hallie Rubenhold reveals the previously untold stories of the five women killed by the Ripper and challenges the myths that have grown up around the Whitechapel Murders of 1888.

44:14 | Feb 21st

Fumio Obata and Jocelyne Allen discuss graphic art and manga.

1:13:54 | Feb 21st

What is required of a good leader in an age of disruption? Jamie Bartlett, Professor Mary Kaldor, Dame Louise Casey, Dame Heather Rabbatts, Rupert Reid debate at the London School of Economics. Anne McElvoy chairs. Jamie Bartlett is writer and techn...Show More

44:33 | Feb 20th

Shahidha Bari talks poetry and the web series Brown Girls, plus the history of sewing.

44:56 | Feb 19th

How loud should you be? Italian American performer Patti LuPone talks to Philip Dodd about why she doesn’t consider herself an American, her politics, unsuccessful auditions, backbiting, corporate entertainment, #Me Too. Her career has taken her from...Show More

58:45 | Feb 15th

Shahidha Bari discusses new research on the the ins and outs of Renaissance culture: John Gallagher on civility, Emily Butterworth on news and gossip, Lauren Working on material culture, Sarah Knight and Hannah Crawforth on 'difficultness'. This pod...Show More

46:54 | Feb 14th

Poet Andrew McMillan, philosopher and psychologist Laura Mucha, poet and novelist Lavinia Greenlaw & writer Elanor Dymott explores who and why we love. Presented by Anne McElvoy. Laura Mucha has written Love Factually: the science of who, how and wh...Show More

44:49 | Feb 13th

West Africa has a fundamental place in the shaping of the modern world and its story is told in a new history by Toby Green. He joins Rana Mitter in the Free Thinking studio alongside Xue Xinran who explores China's recent history through the lives a...Show More

46:05 | Feb 12th

The film-maker Spike Lee talks to Matthew Sweet about black power and prejudice, the politics of blackface, and the Oscars as his film BlacKkKlansman is nominated for six Academy Awards. Since 1983, his production company has produced over 35 films...Show More

46:41 | Feb 7th

Self-knowledge, intellectual vices & conspiracy theories are debated by Professor Quassim Cassam and presenter Matthew Sweet. Plus New Generation Thinker Simon Beard discusses an exhibition of artwork commissioned by the Cambridge Centre for the Stud...Show More

46:27 | Feb 6th

Jimmy Wales talks Diderot & collecting knowledge + Tariq Goddard on Mark Fisher aka k-punk. The French writer Diderot was thrown into prison in 1749 for his atheism, worked on ideas of democracy at the Russian court of Catherine the Great and collabo...Show More

45:53 | Feb 5th

Gilet jaune and novelist Edouard Louis, food expert Fabio Parasecoli, journalist, Gavin Mortimer and the historians Jerry White & Joanna Marchant with Philip Dodd. Whether it’s Berlin, Moscow or the Paris of the gilet jaunes - streets play a vital ...Show More

51:30 | Jan 31st

Conceptual artist Katie Paterson on art which produces candles scented with planetary odours – one of Saturn's moons has a hint of cherry…and how she and co-exhibitor the Romantic painter JMW Turner share an interest in the precise nature of moon lig...Show More

45:11 | Jan 30th

Can causing offence be a good thing? Philip Dodd explores this question with the Slovenian philosopher, the American author and the Danish journalist. On the 15th February 1989 the Ayatollah Komeni issued a fatwah following the publication of Salma...Show More

45:24 | Jan 29th

Following this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, Anne McElvoy looks at new writing which reflects on this history and at a festival marking the impact on British culture of refugees and artists who fled from the Nazis. Ed Williams from leading marketing...Show More

46:32 | Jan 24th

Kate Maltby, Lucy Powell, Zoe Strimpel join Shahidha Bari. Virtue Rewarded is the subtitle of Samuel Richardson's 1740 novel Pamela, which began as a conduct book before he turned it into the new literary form of the novel. Playwright Martin Crimp ha...Show More

45:20 | Jan 23rd

As new shows featuring the Post-impressionist, Pierre Bonnard and the video artist, Bill Viola, open in London, Laurence Scott and his guests discuss the way we experience art from the current vogue for slow looking to the 30 second appraisal scienti...Show More

46:14 | Jan 22nd

Matthew Sweet and critics Catherine Bray and Ryan Gilbey look at films making waves as the Academy announces this year's nominations. Writer Jan Asante and cultural theorist Bill Schwarz assess James Baldwin's legacy in the light of the film adaptati...Show More

46:04 | Jan 17th

Do our heroes and heroines have to be perfect? How do religious ikons link to iconoclasm and the labelling of film idols & politicians "icons of our time". Matthew Sweet is joined by film historian Pamela Hutchinson, bioethicist Tom Shakespeare, hist...Show More

45:19 | Jan 16th

The must see sights on the Grand Tour, in Cold War Moscow & tourist hot spots now. Rana Mitter is joined by Roey Sweet, Sarah Goldsmith, Nick Barnett, Cindy Yu and Simon Calder. Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

45:24 | Jan 15th

Novelist John Lanchester, journalist Tim Marshall and historians David Frye and Kylie Murray join Anne McElvoy to discuss why we build walls rather than bridges and what it says about civilisations past, present and future from Persia to Berlin, the ...Show More

45:35 | Jan 10th

Shahidha Bari, Josh Cohen, Madeleine Bunting, Lisa Baraitser, Rachel Long, and Sam Goodman explore the value of doing nothing and our wider experience of time. Josh Cohen is the author of Not Working: Why We Have to Stop. Lisa Baraitser is Professo...Show More

45:24 | Jan 9th

The social campaigning, engineering and writing of three Victorians - art critic and philanthropist John Ruskin, poet and assistant to Florence Nightingale Arthur Hugh Clough and the builder of London's sewer system Joseph Bazalgette. Greg Tate, Suza...Show More

46:14 | Jan 8th

Lucy Porter, Neil Brand and David Quantick join Matthew Sweet to talk about Cric e Croc or Flip i Flap or even Dick und Doof though, if you're not Italian, Polish or German, it's far more likely that Hollywood's most famous comedy duo will be known t...Show More

57:37 | Dec 21st, 2018

What’s the connection between Jane Austen’s particular choice of words in an afternoon in 1812, the oldest manuscript of Beowulf, fake news in 17th century England, and high definition digital photography? Laurence Scott talks to Kathryn Sutherland o...Show More

45:05 | Dec 20th, 2018

An ecological fable about a perfect society which terrified children when it was first animated. Matthew Sweet reads Richard Adams' classic as a new version arrives on UK TV screens. He's joined by Dr Diana Bell, conservation biologist at UEA; Victor...Show More

49:05 | Dec 19th, 2018

University Challenge star Bobby Seagull, writer and critic Jordan Erica Webber, games consultant and researcher Dr Laura Mitchell, and British Museum curator Irving Finkel join Shahidha Bari and others in the Free Thinking studio to get out the playi...Show More

44:44 | Dec 18th, 2018

Why Are We Here? What is a sentient being? These are questions we don't normally explore using plants but perhaps we should. Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough hears how identifying more closely with living beings who produce our oxygen and store the Sun's...Show More

45:21 | Dec 13th, 2018

Anne McElvoy wraps up warm for an account of life in Antarctica through prose and poetry, how the idea of the North Pole has fired the human imagination for centuries and an artist's interpretation of the Arctic through sound. Also how the spectacula...Show More

45:17 | Dec 12th, 2018

"My generation, which was the rebel generation of black youth, has changed England and in changing England we've changed ourselves" - the words of Linton Kwesi Johnson - the man who invented dub poetry and used it to chronicle some of the key events ...Show More

1:06:15 | Dec 11th, 2018

Deborah Levy, Adam Phillips and Amia Srinivasan join Matthew Sweet at the British Library for a Royal Society of Literature debate. Why do we read? Why do we write? What do we reveal when we do? A writer, a psychotherapist and a philosopher discuss...Show More

44:06 | Dec 6th, 2018

Who's pulling your strings - from advertisers and peer pressure to political campaigns and self-deception - hidden persuaders are everywhere. Journalist Poppy Noor, historian Sarah Marks, psychologist and magician, Gustav Kuhn, the philosopher, Quass...Show More

46:01 | Dec 5th, 2018

Geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, current director of the Francis Crick Institute, and Tristram Hunt, historian and now director of the V&A, debate the impact of robots, the winners and losers in funding, whether our education system has the balance right b...Show More

45:07 | Dec 5th, 2018

As her award-winning debut play, Nine Night, comes to London's West End, Natasha Gordon tells Anne about the grieving ritual that binds in the Jamaican diaspora. Nine Night at Trafalgar Studios, London, until February 23rd On the 50th anniversary o...Show More

45:49 | Nov 29th, 2018

The director of the 1971 film Get Carter, which starred Michael Caine, has now written his own crime novellas. Mike Hodges talks to Matthew Sweet. If Nordic Noir has reshaped an image of Sweden away from Abba into a society showing cracks - journalis...Show More

58:38 | Nov 28th, 2018

A long lost classic by William Melvin Kelley, who coined the term "woke" back in 1962 in a New York Times article, Esi Edugyan's Booker shortlisted novel, and new research on slavery with historians Christienna Fryar, Kevin Waite, and Andrea Livesey....Show More

45:22 | Nov 27th, 2018

Should we worry about the world getting healthier? Thomas Bollyky thinks we should. Jane Stevens Crawshaw looks at cleanliness and disease in Renaissance cities & Penny Woolcock films Oxford and LA. Rana Mitter presents. For the first time in recor...Show More

45:06 | Nov 23rd, 2018

Doris Kearns Goodwin on POTUS, crisis management and ambition - from Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt through FDR and LBJ to Donald Trump. Novelist Georgina Harding and Philip Woods compare notes on the impact of the war in Burma and depictions in fict...Show More

44:05 | Nov 21st, 2018

Eric Kaufmann talks to Philip Dodd about white identity, immigration and populism. Plus Hungarian politics with cultural historian, Krisztina Robert, journalist, Matyas Sarkozi and Zsuzsa Szelenyi of the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna. Eric K...Show More

44:58 | Nov 21st, 2018

Peter Frankopan brings his history of ties across Asia into the present while Maya Jasanoff, winner of the world's richest history prize, uses the novels of Joseph Conrad to show that the novelist was wrestling with the same problems and opportunitie...Show More

50:55 | Nov 15th, 2018

A 3,000 year old Iranian ritual, archaeology on a council estate, and London's Greek Cypriot community: Matthew Sweet hops on the 29 bus route, puts on some VR glasses, and visits the hospital which was home to "the Elephant Man" as he talks to resea...Show More

45:16 | Nov 14th, 2018

From death cafes to bronze age burials, C19th mourning rings to the way healthcare professionals cope when patients die. Eleanor Barraclough looks at research showcased in the Being Human Festival at UK universities. Laura O'Brien at Northumbria Un...Show More

45:38 | Nov 14th, 2018

New Scots words to add to the The Dictionar o the Scots Leid and a quiz about words from medieval Ireland are 2 of the Being Human Festival projects explored by Shahidha Bari. Plus how researchers are using film to explore social history and a major ...Show More

44:36 | Nov 8th, 2018

Journalist Peter Hitchens; the Rector of St James’s Church Piccadilly Lucy Winkett; performer and director Neil Bartlett and Professor Steve Brown from the Open University join Anne McElvoy at the Imperial War Museum for their 2018 Remembrance Lectur...Show More

46:18 | Nov 8th, 2018

Shahidha Bari is joined by cultural historian Ana Carden-Coyne, literary scholar Santanu Das, and Julia Neville, co-ordinator of the Exeter First World War Hospitals Project, to discuss the 1914-1918 War. Their research turns the War into a mosaic of...Show More

48:38 | Nov 7th, 2018

Better than Proust -- the man who made literature out of colloquial French -- the arch chronicler of human depravity --- some of the things that are said about Louis Ferdinand Céline, author of Journey to the End of the Night - one of the masterpiece...Show More

51:29 | Nov 6th, 2018

Gillian Clarke, Sabrina Mahfouz and Michael Symmons Roberts respond to the war poet Wilfred Owen with their own new commissions from the Royal Society of Literature. Shahidha Bari hosts a discussion recorded with an audience at the British Library on...Show More

46:10 | Nov 1st, 2018

Henry Hardy has written In Search of Isaiah Berlin: A Literary Adventure Diving For Seahorses: A Journey Through the Science of Memory by Hilde Østby and Ylva Østby explores the study of memory from the Renaissance to the present day. Dafydd Daniel i...Show More

45:26 | Oct 31st, 2018

The exile of English Catholics 450 years ago, suffragette Punch and Judy plus Shahidha Bari interviews Kapka Kassabova, the winner of a prize for fostering global understanding. The British Academy’s Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Underst...Show More

45:19 | Oct 30th, 2018

The memes that make us laugh - have we become meaner or can schadenfreude be a positive thing? Philosophical traditions around the world - can you outline the ideas of Nishida as well as Nietzsche? Is Japan facing a key moment of change in what it me...Show More

53:06 | Oct 26th, 2018

From a hanged man who came back to life to walk from Swansea to Hereford, to a woman who travelled from London to Evesham in a wheelbarrow, studying pilgrimage opens up a unique window on the world of the middle ages. Catherine Clarke, Anthony Bale, ...Show More

45:36 | Oct 25th, 2018

Michael Rosen and Kimberley Reynolds talk to Anne McElvoy about socialist fairy tales and radicalism in books for children. Nikita Gill and Katherine Webber on giving traditional tales a modern twist. Reading & Revolution: An Anthology of Radical Wr...Show More

45:53 | Oct 24th, 2018

The film director talks to Matthew Sweet about his career and his approach to dramatising history. His new film Peterloo depicts the 1819 massacre at a rally in Manchester where a crowd of 60,000–80,000 were demanding the reform of parliamentary repr...Show More

45:44 | Oct 23rd, 2018

How do you put the Bible on stage or make a modern medieval mystery play? Shahidha Bari talks to the National Theatre of Brent's Patrick Barlow as his play The Messiah starts at UK tour. New Generation Thinker Daisy Black watches a new medieval myste...Show More

46:44 | Oct 18th, 2018

Matthew Sweet takes to the woods with thoroughly modern witch, William Hunter, and writer and folklorist, Zoe Gilbert, to look for green men and suitable spots for a ritual. If modern magic is all about re-enchanting the world then old magic was more...Show More

50:07 | Oct 18th, 2018

What's it like to be banned from your own country or to have your writing spark a row? Rana Mitter's guests talk identity, borders, forest landscapes and the long impact of the Ottoman empire. The American political scientist Francis Fukuyama is ass...Show More

45:30 | Oct 16th, 2018

Putting women back into the C20th history of British philosophy. Shahidha Bari talks to Alex Clark about the 2018 Man Booker Prize, considers the thinking of Mary Midgley whose death at the age of 99 was announced last week and puts her alongside Eli...Show More

38:20 | Oct 16th, 2018

Is soap opera the heir to the gothic novel? Is America seeing a resurgence of gothic TV and fiction? Shahidha Bari looks at new Gothic research with Nick Groom and Xavier Aldana Reyes. Vampires weren’t invented by horror writers, but were first enco...Show More

45:34 | Oct 11th, 2018

Helena Kennedy on #MeToo and the message it sends that the British legal system needs to get its house in order. Plus power in Pinter's plays and rape in Chaucer. Shahida Bari talks to theatre directors Jamie Lloyd and Lia Williams about language and...Show More

44:51 | Oct 11th, 2018

The Scottish Clearances by Tom Devine, Professor Emeritus, University of Edinburgh. The Farm, a new novel by Hector Abad is translated by Anne McLean The Future of Capitalism by Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik...Show More

46:30 | Oct 10th, 2018

Does LSD open the doors of perception or just mess with your head? Leo Butler tells Matthew Sweet about writing a play inspired by taking part in the world's first LSD medical trials since the 1960s. Philosophers Peg O'Connor and Barry Smith lock hor...Show More

40:54 | Oct 6th, 2018

How does Chaucer write about rape and consent ? What links Kim Kardashian West & Margery Kempe - an English Christian mystic and mother of 14 children who wrote about her religious visions in the 1420s in what has been called the first autobiography ...Show More

44:22 | Oct 4th, 2018

. Museum directors from USA, Austria and Britain look at the challenges of displaying their collections for new audiences. Anne McElvoy's guests include Michael Govan, Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art LACMA, Sabine Haag, Director, K...Show More

46:16 | Oct 3rd, 2018

Matthew Sweet talks to the author of The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry, about her re-imagining of the Melmoth story, first published in 1920 by the Irish playwright, novelist and clergyman Charles Maturin. His Melmoth the Wanderer was a critique of Cath...Show More

49:31 | Oct 2nd, 2018

Gandhi's power, portable citizenship and Indian writing. Rana Mitter talks to Ramachandra Guha about his new biography of Gandhi, hears about "portable citizenship from Indrajit Roy and discusses Indian writing and literary tradition with Amit Chaudh...Show More

44:55 | Sep 27th, 2018

Lisa Appignanesi, prize-winning writer and Freudian scholar, with a personal memoir that explores public and private loss and anger. Presenter Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough also looks at a Festival of Canadian and North American writing meeting author...Show More

51:59 | Sep 26th, 2018

Can causing offence be a good thing? Philip Dodd explores this question with the Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Zizek, the American author, Camille Paglia and the Danish journalist, Flemming Rose. Camille Paglia is a Professor at the University of the...Show More

45:58 | Sep 25th, 2018

Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie talk to Matthew Sweet about how humour changes and the targets of their TV comedy show which ran during the '70s and early '80s. A box set of the 67 half hour episodes is being released. Producer: Har...Show More

46:20 | Sep 20th, 2018

How Nietzsche might have responded to current debates, including Trump, 'post-truth', identity and Europe. Kwame Anthony Appiah talks about his new work on identity and biographer Sue Prideaux and philosophers Hugo Drochon and Katrina Mitcheson join ...Show More

45:11 | Sep 19th, 2018

Rana Mitter talks to poet and writer Ben Okri and writer and journalist Agnes Poirier about the contemporary resonance of The Outsider by Albert Camus (1913-1960), and as a new biography of the anthropological giant, Claude Levi-Strauss by Emmanuelle...Show More

44:52 | Sep 18th, 2018

Ideas of tryanny, martyrdom, sin and grace in a new play set against Indian politics today and an exhibition which might be called pornographic. April De Angelis has relocated a Lope De Vega play to contemporary India, and a backdrop of political unr...Show More

21:55 | Sep 18th, 2018

Bettany Hughes and Alex Clark discuss feminist retellings of The Iliad. Rachel Stirling reads extracts.

44:46 | Sep 13th, 2018

The author of Birdsong talks to Anne McElvoy in one of the first conversations about his new novel. Sebastian Faulks discusses depicting France past and present from World War I to Algeria and immigration now as he publishes his latest novel called P...Show More

45:01 | Sep 12th, 2018

Deborah Frances-White host of podcast The Guilty Feminist joins Catherine Fletcher. Novelist Michèle Roberts reviews a portrait of artist Louise Bourgeois woven from conversations, and comedian and classicist Natalie Haynes discusses co-writing a mod...Show More

45:59 | Sep 11th, 2018

A silent room and a design to encourage disobedience are amongst the exhibits that Matthew Sweet and Laurence Scott visit at the London Design Biennale as they consider the role of Design in the week the V&A opens a new museum in Dundee. New Generati...Show More

36:14 | Sep 3rd, 2018

The Booker long-listed crime writer, Belinda Bauer and the novelist, Patricia Duncker, join Matthew Sweet to discuss sex and death in literature. Embracing everything from Emily Bronte to Margaret Atwood they consider the challenges and the pitfall...Show More

20:38 | Aug 29th, 2018

The appearance of the aurora borealis has entranced and intrigued people from cultures across the world, inspiring art, music and stories, including tonight's Proms world premiere of Iain Bell's Aurora. But what creates it? Why is it green? Physicist...Show More

31:29 | Aug 29th, 2018

W H Auden called his longest poem, The Age of Anxiety a baroque eclogue - a description which hints at its rich complexity. Its account of a meeting between four strangers in a New York bar inspired Leonard Bernstein’s second symphony and was much a...Show More

37:22 | Aug 23rd, 2018

Novelist Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard and Stone Cradle, talks to writer Damian Le Bas, author of The Stopping Places, about their shared Romany heritage and the culture of the wider Romany diaspora. Presenter: Sophie Coulombeau

31:53 | Aug 21st, 2018

Fairy tales are not just familiar stories told to children but are also a means of conveying dark truths about morality and behaviour to adults. There are similarities between stories shared in different cultures . Composer Kerry Andrew has publishe...Show More

44:57 | Aug 20th, 2018

Novelist Will Self, shark expert Gareth Fraser and film expert Ian Hunter join Matthew Sweet for a discussion about sharks, whales and the impact of the book and film Jaws. Jaws started out as a novel which reads as a sociological study of a smal...Show More

21:37 | Aug 14th, 2018

Christopher Harding talked to the philosopher Mark Vernon and New Generation Thinker Hetta Howes about figures from the past and present who have searched for a sense of transcendence and experienced ecstatic states.

26:46 | Aug 12th, 2018

Historians Laura Rowe and Saul David discuss the controversy surrounding the 1915 German torpedo attack that sank the RMS Lusitania, killing 1198 passengers and crew. Presented by Anindya Raychaudhuri.

32:29 | Aug 10th, 2018

The Bible has provided much fruitful inspiration to poets, novelists and composers over the past two thousand years. BBC New Generation Thinker Dr Joe Moshenska teaches Milton at the University of Cambridge. He discusses ideas of doom, chaos and Bib...Show More

34:52 | Aug 6th, 2018

A series of classical tales, from the Iliad to the Inferno have been recast by modern poets. Sean O’Brien has written a version of Dante’s Inferno, and, for the stage, Aristophanes’ The Birds; he is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle Univer...Show More

21:23 | Aug 6th, 2018

Poets Gillian Clarke and Peter Mackay discuss the rich seam of folklore that has influenced their work and the danger of losing our connection to these tales. Gillian is a former National Poet of Wales and winner of the Queen’s Medal for Poetry. Pete...Show More

36:16 | Jul 31st, 2018

Novelists John Lanchester and Diana Evans, both chroniclers of contemporary London, discuss the many and diverse communities and villages that make up the UK capital, exploring the differences between north and south, east and west, the suburbs and t...Show More

33:16 | Jul 30th, 2018

The Alps have loomed large in the artistic imagination since the Romantic poets explored them in search of ‘the sublime’. Historian Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough talks to writer Abbie Garrington and climber Dan Richards. His book Climbing Days tells t...Show More

20:42 | Jul 28th, 2018

Inspired by Beethoven's penchant for musical jokes, Sahidha Bari is joined by writer Meg Rosoff for a selection of readings of comic fiction from Kingsley Amis to Paul Beatty. The reader is Carl Prekopp.

36:31 | Jul 27th, 2018

Ever since the ancient Greeks, writers have waxed lyrical about rural life, associating it with beauty, innocence and goodness. Will Abberley, BBC New Generation Thinker and senior lecturer in English at the University of Sussex is joined by writer M...Show More

33:42 | Jul 27th, 2018

Helen Macdonald, author of H Is For Hawk and Tim Birkhead, Professor of Behaviour and Evolution at the University of Sheffield and author of Bird Sense, share their experiences of observing birds closely and their pick of writing inspired by real and...Show More

21:32 | Jul 25th, 2018

Lauren Elkin, author of 'Flaneuse' and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker Seán Williams talk to Rana Mitter about the joys of a wandering life and the inspiration that walking brought to writers from the 18th century to the present day. Producer: ...Show More

20:36 | Jul 21st, 2018

Sarah Dillon and novelist Richard Beard on narrative voices in literature

21:14 | Jul 17th, 2018

Longus’s charming pastoral novel Daphnis and Chloe about teenage love and pirates was written in the second century AD. Tim Whitmarsh, AG Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge, discusses his work, alongside that of other early Greek writer...Show More

50:04 | Jul 12th, 2018

Why We Need the Novel Now. Man Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson delivers a keynote lecture and talks to presenter Shahidha Bari and an audience at the Southbank Centre in London as part of the Man Booker 50 Festival. In the age of Twitter and no-p...Show More

48:34 | Jul 12th, 2018

Helaine Blumenfeld is a sculptor who divides her time between her family in England and her work-family in Italy. As an exhibition featuring much new work opens in Ely Cathedral, she talks to Anne McElvoy about expressing her thoughts in marble, the ...Show More

45:02 | Jul 10th, 2018

At the height of summer, Matthew Sweet and guests turn their minds to tennis, beaches and walking. As Wimbledon continues, Benjamin Markovits and William Skidelsky consider the philosophy of tennis; New Generation Thinker Des Fitzgerald explores ...Show More

45:32 | Jul 6th, 2018

Playwright Charlotte Jones, author Laurence Scott, New Generation Thinkers Lisa Mullen and Iain Smith join Matthew Sweet. Charlotte Jones discusses her new play set in a Quaker community during the Napoleonic Wars. Matthew Sweet visits Compton Ver...Show More

44:44 | Jul 4th, 2018

The Italian architect and engineer, Renzo Piano, talks to Philip Dodd about his career from the Pompidou in Paris (with Richard Rogers) to the Shard in London and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. 50 years of his work are being mark...Show More

44:49 | Jul 4th, 2018

Nandini Das and John Gallagher look at words for strangers in Tudor and Stuart England and ideas about civility. Plus Shahidha Bari talks to Makena Onjerika the winner of the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing. And, as the NHS approaches its 70th...Show More

45:58 | Jun 28th, 2018

Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir 'Fun Home' on stage at the Young Vic in London reviewed by Jen Harvie from Queens Mary University of London, a novel inspired by Kathy Acker from Olivia Laing, Film historian and broadcaster Ian Christie on the 40th an...Show More

44:54 | Jun 28th, 2018

Can beauty be an ethical ideal? What did being handsome mean in C18 England? How do we look at images by Egon Schiele and Francesca Woodman or a Renaissance nude and is that affected by changing attitudes towards the body now? Anne McElvoy talks to t...Show More

44:31 | Jun 27th, 2018

Rana Mitter discusses food in history. James C Scott on the role of grain and coercion in the development of the first settled societies, and how the Victorians changed lunch, with New Generation Thinkers Elsa Richardson and Chris Kissane. Plus, fol...Show More

17:50 | Jun 22nd, 2018

170 years ago one woman launched the beginning of the modern women’s rights movement in America. New Generation Thinker Joanna Cohen of Queen Mary University of London looks back at her story and what lessons it has for politics now. In the small t...Show More