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Book Talk: Lucy Ribchester, Elisabeth Gifford, Lucy Hughes-Hallett

February 5, 2015

In our first set of interviews for 2015, Ryan Van Winkle talks to Lucy Ribchester, Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Elizabeth Gifford about suffragettes, mythology and the fascist poet who wanted to create his own utopia.

Lucy Ribchester is the Edinburgh-based author of the recently-published The Hourglass Factory, her first novel. As well as being shortlisted for this year’s Costa Short Story Awards, Lucy is a previous recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. The Hourglass Factory tells the story of Frankie George, a young reporter who becomes entangled in the messy, passionate worlds of the circus and the suffragettes when she meets Ebony Diamond, a mesmerising trapeze artist who uses her skills to fight for votes for women. Lucy opens up to Ryan about her inspirations, the fascinating world of those early suffragettes and why it took her five years to finish the book.

Elisabeth Gifford is the author of Secrets of the Sea House, a fascinating novel which explores the interaction between history and myth. Based in the Hebrides, the book looks at the mythology of the islands and of the sea, and what happens when the two appear to come together in the form of a dark discovery. The book enjoys a very definite sense of place, and Elisabeth chats to Ryan about the culture of the Hebrides, the link between the sea and those who live by it, and the responsibility she felt in dealing with such an interesting culture. Elisabeth’s new novel Return to Fourwinds is out now.

Finally, Ryan speaks to Lucy Hughes-Hallett, a Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction winner and author of The Pike: Gabriele d’Annunzio, a searing biography of the man who believed he was the greatest Italian poet since Dante. The book was awarded the 2013 Costa Book Award for Biography of the Year, and the subject matter is certainly eye-opening. d’Annunzio was a creative, daredevil and fascist whose life goal was to establish a utopia based on his political and artistic ideals. Lucy talks Ryan through the intensely thrilling world of this strange man and the way his life unfolded.

Podcast contents

00:00 – 01:09 Introduction
01:10 – 13:19 Lucy Ribchester interview
13:20 – 19.08 Elisabeth Gifford interview
19:09 – 29:33 Lucy Hughes-Hallett interview

Book Talk is produced by Colin Fraser of Culture Laser Productions.

Book Talk: David Mitchell, Ajay Close

September 24, 2014

In this edition of Book Talk, host Ryan Van Winkle talks to Ajay Close and David Mitchell about time, ethics and mortality.

Novelist and dramatist Ajay Close discusses her latest book, Trust. Trust follows the lives of a disparate group of characters working in mining and banking and the effects or two major events, the miner’s strike and the banking crisis, on their lives. Ajay discusses where the idea for the story came from and how it developed over time.

If the last edition of Book Talk left you wanting to know more about David Mitchell and The Bone Clocks you’re in luck – this edition of the podcast features an extended discussion with the man himself. Spoiler warning: this discussion reveals detail about characters and plot.

David tells us about the process of creating the book and how he was able to effectively portray time’s passage: “stay true to life and how we perceive the passing decades and you probably won’t go too far wrong”. Morality, mortality and the future are also discussed.

Podcast contents
00:00 – 00:28 Introduction
00:28 – 08:52 Ajay Close
08:52 – 30:00 David Mitchell

Kirsty Logan, Tim Sinclair and Ken MacLeod on the Scottish Book Trust Podcast

March 21, 2014

In this edition of the Book Talk podcast Ryan Van Winkle interviews Kirsty Logan about her debut collection of short stories, discusses parkour with novelist and poet Tim Sinclair and imagines the Scotland of the future with sci-fi author Ken MacLeod.

The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales is the debut short story collection from former New Writers Award recipient Kirsty Logan. Written over the course of five years, the stories are set in locations as diverse as 1920s New Orleans, the Australian Outback and Paris.

Kirsty reads her moving short story The Light Eater and discusses how writing helped her to process difficult emotions.

Australian novelist and poet Tim Sinclair talks about his latest young adult novel, Run. Written in concrete poetry, where words function both linguistically and visually, the book explores the world of parkour, where participants “move through the urban environment in a way that doesn’t allow for boundaries”. When ego gets involved, trouble quickly follows.

Finally, acclaimed sci-fi writer Ken MacLeod discusses his new book about “flying saucers, hidden races and Antonio Gramsci’s theory of passive revolution”. Descent follows the teens and twenties of an ordinary Greenock man whose bad behaviour is blamed on a possible alien encounter.

Moving from science fiction to science fact, Ken also explains his involvement with Hope Beyond Hype, a comic book he wrote in collaboration with OptiStem, an EU-funded stem cell research project. The comic was downloaded over 100,000 in times in the first few days following release; listen now to discover how the book was developed.

Podcast contents
00:00-00:53 Introduction
00:53-09:20 Kirsty Logan interview
09:20-16:30 Tim Sinclair Interview
16:30-30.00 Ken MacLeod interview

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