Ben Macintyre with Nihal Arthanayake
45 min

Author and historian Ben Macintyre talks to Nihal about his new book ‘Agent Sonya’ - the story of the greatest female spy of the 20th Century. 


Ben chats to Nihal about how ‘Sonya’s’ gender helped her stay under deep cover for so many years. Ben’s inspirational objects include a jar of chutney given to him from M15 and the jaw-dropping story of his great uncle’s pocketbook (which literally saved his life). #PenguinPodcast


‘Agent Sonya’ is available to buy as an audiobook now - https://apple.co/32NX94J 

 

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The Book Club Review
The Book Club Review
The Book Club Review
81. The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa
We discuss The Memory Police, a haunting dystopian novel that explores questions of power, trauma and state surveillance written by Yoko Ogawa, one of Japan's leading contemporary novelists. Set on an unnamed island, the narrator of The Memory Police describes how every so often something in the inhabitants' lives will disappear. Birds, roses, books, one by one these things vanish overnight and the next day people wake up to find they have lost the memory of them. The Memory Police then arrive to enforce the disappearance, rounding up and destroying all evidence of the disappeared thing. They are also on the hunt for those few members of the population who have the ability to retain their memories, something hard to disguise. These people too must disappear, but what happens to them? The narrator tries to save her friend, R, by hiding him in a concealed room. But as more and more things disappear it starts to become unclear what she is saving him for. An uncomfortable read that provoked mixed feelings among Laura's book group, but which, on reflection, we think could have been one of the best book club books we have ever done. Listen in to hear more, why Yoko Ogawa is the Georgette Heyer of Japan, and how Laura is about to become a disappeared thing herself. Plus our recommendations for your next book club read. Books mentioned on the show: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Never Let Me Go and The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin and The Happy Reader magazine. Find full show notes, plus our archive of over 80 episodes, book reviews and articles on our new website: thebookclubreview.co.uk
36 min
Talk Art
Talk Art
Russell Tovey and Robert Diament
Lauren Weedman
For the final episode of Season 7, Russell & Robert meet Lauren Weedman, best known for her standout role as Doris on HBO's television series Looking (alongside Russell!). As well as being a leading actress and comedian (not comedienne - as we discuss!!!!!!), one of her longterm passions is painting and making art. On her instagram @ThisOneIsTitled, started during lockdown, Weedman revealed 'The Quarantine Series' of unique figurative paintings, which she sells from $200 via Instagram and have become incredibly popular with collectors all over the world! As a self taught artist, including series where she makes one new work a day, we consider her link to Outsider and Outlier artworks but also explore her wide ranging artistic influences including Laura Owens, Tim Burton, David Lynch but primarily Edvard Munch and Van Gogh, whose authentic and emotional-charged works became even more important during her time spent living in Amsterdam. We also discover her love of London's very own National Portrait Gallery, in particular an installation she saw there of William Blake's death mask! Plus we introduce Lauren to the work of Grayson Perry and his recent 'Art Club' TV series which focused on ideas of creativity and the processes behind making art. Check out Lauren's paintings at her official website: www.LaurenWeedmanStudio.com which includes very cool videos of her discussing individual artworks! Follow Lauren's two Instagram accounts: @Lauren_Weedman and her art page @ThisOneIsTitled. You can watch Lauren & Russell in HBO's 'Looking' on Netflix, Amazon Prime or all good streaming services. Thanks for listening to Season 7! We will return on 4th December 2020 with a brand new Season 8, so fear not, we have another art-thrill-ride lined up for you!!! For images of all artworks discussed in this episode visit @TalkArt. Talk Art theme music by Jack Northover @JackNorthoverMusic courtesy of HowlTown.com We've just joined Twitter too @TalkArt. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to Talk Art, we will be back very soon. For all requests, please email talkart@independenttalent.com   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
1 hr 12 min
Literary Friction
Literary Friction
Literary Friction
Literary Friction - The Political Essay with Otegha Uwagba
Does the written word really have the power to change things? How do you make a good argument in writing? Does the form of the essay lend itself particularly well to politics? Join us as we talk to the writer Otegha Uwagba about her brilliant essay Whites, a clear sighted, powerful comment on race in our society which examines her feelings in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and the failures of white allyship. Picking up from our discussion of the form of the essay with Brian Dillon in 2017, we’ll be exploring the strengths and limitations of the form and talking about our favourite political essayists, from George Orwell to James Baldwin to Rebecca Solnit, plus all the usual recommendations. Our recommended political essays: Octavia: Daddy Issues by Katherine Angel https://peninsulapress.co.uk/product/daddy-issues Carrie: On Witness and Repair by Jesmyn Ward https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2020/08/jesmyn-ward-on-husbands-death-and-grief-during-covid General Recommendations: Octavia: A Very Easy Death by Simone de Beauvoir https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/10378/a-very-easy-death-by-simone-de-beauvoir/ Otegha: America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/549486/america-is-not-the-heart-by-elaine-castillo/ Carrie: Intimations by Zadie Smith https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/321/321775/intimations/9780241492383.html Email us: litfriction@gmail.com Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction
1 hr
Comedy of the Week
Comedy of the Week
BBC
Earwig
Earwig is a new naturalistic sketch show by BAFTA-winning comedy writer Brian Dooley (The Smoking Room). While not immediately topical, our characters will of course discuss the main talking points of the day. As people do. They say the age of the expert is over, but this is what you get when amateurs wade in on the big issues. Every episode we hop around different conversations the length and breadth of Britain. Covering every age, sex, race and class. A snapshot of the country today. An everyday family in Cardiff, a young couple dining out in Canterbury, an office of app-developers in Newcastle, a couple of bricklayers in Sheffield - as varied as possible. 
Much of the comedy is observational, but noting everyday eccentricities - and how enjoyably surreal those can be. Each episode takes a different theme, but loosely so, and not grandly tackling the big questions, though they do of course arise. The theme will be obvious after the first couple of sketches. The theme of the pilot episode is Britain is going through a November heatwave. 
At the heart of Earwig is the comedy of overheard conversations, played deadpan and real; a look at what's happening when nothing's happening. To aid this, we recorded on location with an excellent diverse comedy cast (Debbie Chazen (Sherlock, The Smoking Room), Nimisha Odedra (Newsjack), Nathan Bryon (Benidorm), Jason Forbes (Daphne) and Duncan Wisbey (Dead Ringers) that brought genuine regionality to the series. Earwig is written by Brian Dooley The cast are Debbie Chazen, Nimisha Odedra, Nathan Bryon, Jason Forbes and Duncan Wisbey. Production co-ordinator Mabel Wright Produced by Simon Nicholls A BBC Studios Production
30 min
Woman's Hour: Daily Podcasts
Woman's Hour: Daily Podcasts
BBC
Sparking a love of nature; the Keira Bell judgement; Evil women; US female voters
The Woman’s Hour Power List 2020: Our Planet is celebrating the women making a significant contribution to the environment. Today, we’re speaking to two women who strive to spark a lifelong love of nature in others. Beccy Speight is the CEO of the RSPB, the UK’s largest conservation charity and Miranda Lowe is a curator at the Natural History Museum in London. The High Court has ruled that children under 16 with gender dysphoria are ‘unlikely’ to be able to give informed consent to undergo treatment with puberty-blocking drugs. The case had been brought against Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. Health Correspondent for BBC Newsnight Deborah Cohen joins Krupa to explain the judgment and its potential implications for clinical practice. In the recent US election an estimated 90% of black women voters supported President-elect Joe Biden. And while college-educated white women further cemented their shift to Democrat support, white women overall continued to vote for President Donald Trump. We speak to Professor of Political Science, Wendy Smooth from Ohio State University about what created this divide, the significance of the women’s vote and the overall pattern of women’s political choice. What makes an ‘evil woman’? From Eve and her original evil, to the true horrors of Myra Hindley, Professor Joanna Bourke’s new series of Gresham College lectures explore some of the women described as such – and how the bar for evil has changed over time.
45 min
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