OurShelves: Witches with Shahrukh Husain
Season 5, Ep. 12
Shahrukh Husain, editor of The Virago Book of Witches, who says it represents ` womanhood in all its complexity’ is not at all surprised to see a resurgence of interest in `all things witchy’. The witch knows her strength, defies authority and embodies our current fears of injustice. Shah tells Lucy how the witch can be playful but also terrifying, particularly to men, and about a childhood fascination for the witch. The writer she admires is Attia Hussain, author of Sunlight on a Broken Column, who she remembers was` so joyful’ to know Shah was writing. She, alongside Shah’s mother taught her that her cosmopolitan background – Pakistani, Indian, English – was her strength and made her ` a citizen of the world’. They are Shah’s heroines. Shahrukh's recommendations: On the nightstand: Dame Joan of Pevensey by Rev. E E CrakeOn my mind: the TV-series The Split with Nicola WalkerOn the shelf: Sunlight on a Broken Column and Phoenix Fled by Attia HosseinOn the pedestal: My mother, who worked hard for women's rights and the reform of family laws pertaining to women's rights in Pakistan soon after its inception in 1947
OurShelves: Caribbean voices with Sharma Taylor
Season 5, Ep. 11
In this special bonus summer episode Sharma Taylor, author of What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You, takes us to the heated demi-monde of Kingston, Jamaica, in the 1980s, a turbulent time in politics and gangland crime. She tells Lucy Scholes about writing in patois; the Caribbean authors right now who are representing the strength of women in society; and what her mother sacrificed to buy her books as a child.On the nightstand: The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-AgostiniOn my mind: The podcasts Unstoppable Yes You and Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Cocoa Pod On the shelf: This One Sky Day by Leone RossOn the pedestal: My mother.
OurShelves: Barbara Pym with Clare Chambers
Season 5, Ep. 10
Clare Chambers is the author of nine novels including Small Pleasures, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize. She joins Lucy Scholes to rave about the inimitable Barbara Pym, a Virago Modern Classic author whose love affairs shocked sixties society and who wrote about vicars’ tea parties with waspish humour and moving brilliance. (Tea: ‘a drink she did not much like because of the comfort it was said to bring to those whom she normally despised.’) Together they compare notes on adapting book to screen with Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends, how to evoke the inner voice and the recent, genre-defying book that made Clare think about feminism in a new way.On the nightstand: The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson and Iron Curtain by Vesna Goldsworthy.On my mind: The TV adaptation of Conversations with Friends.On the shelf: In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.On the pedestal: Fiona Spargo-Mabbs, director of the DSM Foundation, which educates young people to make safer choices around drugs.
OurShelves: Taking ownership with Cathy Thomas
Season 5, Ep. 9
How does writing about your life change the way you see it? Cathy Thomas talks to Lucy Scholes about her first book, Islanders, interlocking short stories set on her childhood home, Guernsey – the pleasure of joining the dots and how playwriting informed her structure. Discovering a shared love of Annie Ernaux’s essays, they dive deeply into whether difficult experiences – from publisher rejections to trauma – may be reframed through the power of writing.On the nightstand: We Were Young by Niamh CampbellOn my mind: Olivia Fitzsimons' recent essay, Notes on Resilience, for The Stinging FlyOn the shelf: Annie Ernaux's A Girl's Story. On the pedestal: playwright Caryl Churchill
OurShelves: Listening with Stuart Evers
Season 5, Ep. 8
How can men approach their role as feminist allies? Lucy Scholes meets Stuart Evers, award-winning author of four books including Your Father Sends His Love and The Blind Light as they discuss his introduction to the new Virago Modern Classic edition of Anna Seghers’ brilliant novel Transit, and how its depiction of people caught in the Second World War reminded him of Ukrainians caught in the complex British visa system. He argues about whether Transit is a love story or not, challenges himself to read books he thinks he’ll hate (and falls for them completely) and remembers as a young man how reading feminist novels taught him to listen.Stuart’s recommendations:On the nightstand: Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh and Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth HardwickOn my mind: Post War Modern art exhibition at the BarbicanOn the shelf: Gorilla My Love, Toni Cade BabaraOn the pedestal: Marguerite Duras
OurShelves: Voice with Katie Hickman
Season 5, Ep. 7
What does it take for a woman to migrate thousands of miles across prairies and mountains? Join Katie Hickman, author of Brave Hearted and She-Merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen as she talks with Lucy Scholes about the unique voices of the women who made the Wild West, the strength of oral storytelling and the damage that was done to abortion rights in the USA by religious organisations. From the Americas to Indonesia, the discovery of precious materials has meant a death sentence for indigenous tribes and they discuss the impact of mining on people’s lives and the women who fought to make them better. Katie’s recommendations:On the nightstand: Dear Life by Alice Munro and One Thousand and One Nights retold by Hanan Al-Shaykh. On your mind: Things Fell Apart: strange tales from the culture wars by Jon Ronson (BBC) On the shelf: Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver On the pedestal: Mama Yosepha Alonmang. Now in her eighties, this remarkable woman is an Amungme (West Papua) Tribal Leader who has been fighting all her life against environmental destruction of her Tribal lands from mining.
OurShelves: Taboos with Kate Maxwell
Season 5, Ep. 6
What happens if you don’t fall in love with your baby at first sight? Join Kate Maxwell and Lucy Scholes as they challenge silent taboos about motherhood, from Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter to Kate’s first novel Hush, about a woman who struggles with her decision to have a child on her own.Kate’s recommendations:On the nightstand: What I Loved, Siri Hustvedt and The Bread the Devil Knead, Lisa Allen-AgostiniOn your mind: WeCrashed, Apple TV seriesOn the shelf: Matrix, Lauren GroffOn the pedestal: Josie Naughton, Choose Love co-founder and CEO
OurShelves: Beauty with Chloé Cooper Jones
Season 5, Ep. 5
If you spend 288 pages deep in the life of a disabled person, can that experience shift your concept of disability? Join Chloé Cooper Jones, journalist, Pulitzer nominee and author of the new memoir Easy Beauty, as she talks with Lucy Scholes about how beauty can create a powerful mental shift. They discuss the social and political act of making the disabled body visible, the meaning of staring and ask Lewis Hamilton to teach Chloé Formula 1 Racing.Chloé’s recommendations: On the nightstand – The Coward by Jarred McGinnis and Staring by Rosemarie Garland-ThomsonOn your mind – Drive to Survive, the Formula One racing documentary. On the shelf – Gretel Ehrlich's The Solace of Open SpacesOn the pedestal – Harriet McBryde Johnson, a writer and disability activist.
OurShelves: Hunger with Claire Kohda
Season 5, Ep. 4
How does food connect us to our cultural identity? Get hungry listening to Claire Kohda talk to Lucy Scholes about her debut novel Woman, Eating, which follows a mixed-race vampire in contemporary London. Claire admits she avoided reading Dracula, explores the yōkai of traditional Japanese mythology and explains how listening to Asian recipes reminds her of her mother.Claire’s recommendations:On the nightstand: Where The Wild Ladies Are, by Matsuda Aoko, translated by Polly Barton, published by Tilted Axis Press and The Korean VeganOn my mind: Turn Away by Laura Moody (song)On the shelf: Barbara Hepworth: Writings and ConversationsOn the pedestal: Susanne Valadon