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.

Culture Laser: Live from the Forest Café

January 11, 2015

Highlights from our final Culture Laser Live event of 2014, recorded at the Forest Cafe in Edinburgh. Apologies for the lower than usual sound quality in this podcast – we had some holiday season gremlins in the mics. Featuring a short excerpt from Jo Clifford, a longer excerpt from novelist Nick Holdstock with music from Jack O’ Diamonds and GOL. Presented by Ryan Van Winkle of Culture Laser Productions. Series producer Colin Fraser. With financial support from Creative Scotland

Scottish Poetry Library Podcast: Donna Stonecipher

January 10, 2015

Ryan Van Winkle caught up with poet Donna Stonecipher in Berlin. They discuss her fascination with Model Cities and how the changing nature of Berlin has affected her poetry. Presented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions @culturelaser

Culture Laser: This is How we Die

November 7, 2014

Christopher Brett Bailey discusses his unique show This Is How We Die, a motor-mouthed collage of spoken word and storytelling. tales of paranoia, young love and ultra-violence. He talks about the origin of the project, why it eschews easy narrative and we get the chance to hear a few excepts from the show.
Find out more about Christopher on his website: christopherbrettbailey.comPresented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions @culturelaserTheme by Mikel Krumins. We acknowledge the financial assistance of Creative Scotland in the production of this podcast.

Culture Laser Live at the Dundee Literary Festival

October 22, 2014

The good people at STV interviewed me about the Culture Laser, about living in Edinburgh and our friends at the Forest Cafe. It also mentions the Live edition of the Culture Laser happening this Friday 24 October at the Dundee Literary Festival, at which it would be a delight to see you.

Book Talk: Patrick Ness, Mikey Cuddihy and John Gordon Sinclair

October 21, 2014

00:00 – 00:45 Introduction
00:45 – 11:05 Patrick Ness
11:05 – 20:28 Mikey Cuddihy
20:28 – 32:50 John Gordon Sinclair

In this edition of Book Talk. Host Ryan Van Winkle talks to Patrick Ness, Mikey Cuddihy and John Gordon Sinclair about spite, happiness and motivations for writing.

Two-time winner of the Carnegie Award, Patrick Ness is the author of a number of books for adults and young adults including A Monster Calls, The Crane Wife and More Than This, the novel under discussion in the previous episode of Book Talk. In this interview, Ness offers his own insight into some of the topics we discussed and also talks more about his writing process including how he decides whether a book is aimed at adults or teenagers, how to get started as a writer even when people tell you you can’t do it: “Do it anyway… Spite is a really good place to write from. It’s a really good motivator.”

Mikey Cuddihy discusses her memoir A Conversation About Happiness. In the book, Cuddihy takes the reader back into her childhood, which was spent at Summerhill School, where children are allowed to live freely and lessons are optional. Cuddihy talks about how she was able to go back into the voice of her 9 year old self, and whether she was truly happy in an environment where the happiness of children was considered paramount.

Finally, Ryan talks to John Gordon Sinclair. Sinclair may be most famous as an actor – in particular for his role in Gregory’s Girl – but his second novel Blood Whispers has just been published. The book features Keira Lynch, a Glasgow lawyer representing a prostitute on the run from a Serbian gang leader. John discusses both his writing and acting careers and how they overlap and why he wanted to bring emotion into crime writing.

SPL Podcast: August Kleinzahler

October 20, 2014

We talk with the critically acclaimed American poet August Kleinzahler on this week’s episode. In a robust interview, he reads some poems from his latest collection The Hotel Oneira as well as discussing his views on poetry as an art form and the modern poetry world. Presented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions @culturelaser

Culture Laser: I Wish I Was Lonely

October 9, 2014

Fringe First winners Chris Thorpe @piglungs and Hannah Jane Walker @hanwalker talk to Ryan Van Winkle about their moving exploration of the effect of 24/7 connectivity on our lives and gradual erosion of our ability to be alone. Presented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions @culturelaser With thanks to Creative Scotland for their financial support.

Culture Laser: How We Used to Live

September 26, 2014

We talk to director Paul Kelly and co-writer Travis Elborough about their film How we used to live, an elegant and strikingly original film about London made using colour film footage from the BFI and a bespoke soundtrack from Saint Etienne. They performed live in the Barbican on 13 September and you can find out more about the film at Presented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions @culturelaser We acknowledge the financial assistance of Creative Scotland.

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