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The Best of Radio Litopia

The Best of Radio Litopia

By Peter Cox
The Best of Radio Litopia as curated by Peter Cox
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Peter Englund: The Beauty and the Sorrow
His origins were humble; a working-class boy from a small military town in  northern Sweden, not far from the Arctic Circle. Today, he is one of the most  influential figures in the world of literature, because Peter Englund is  Permanent Secretary to the Swedish Academy, the body that awards the Nobel Prize  in Literature. For someone who has within his power the making or breaking of  international writing careers, Peter, as you'll hear, is remarkably unassuming.  Perhaps one reason for this is that he's still a writer himself; he understands  the writing process profoundly, and his own books have been both bestsellers and  widely acclaimed. His most recent, just launched in London, is a stunning new  approach to the history of the First World War. Subtitled "an intimate history",  The  Beauty and the Sorrow explores the personal aspects of war: not the grand  strategies concocted in the cabinets of Europe, but the experiences of  "ordinary" people from around the world, all now unknown - were it not for  Peter's deeply moving book.
December 24, 2020
The Man Behind Sherlock Holmes
What with Benedict Cumberbatch’s radical new television interpretation of  Sherlock Holmes, and the recent big-screen Guy Ritchie / Robert Downey / Jude  Law action movies, the Baker Street seven per-center is enjoying a major revival  of interest. How appropriate, then, that the master scriptwriter of the entire Holmes  canon should join us for tonight's Litopia After Dark.  Bert Coules is  nearly as legendary as his protagonist in Holmesian circles.  He’s a man who’s  had more experience of Sherlock Holmes than almost anyone else, apart from Conan  Doyle.  Not only was he head writer on the BBC’s project to dramatise the entire  Holmes canon, but he then went on to write The Further Adventures of  Sherlock Holmes – original plots based on passing references from Conan  Doyle’s oeuvre. Bert has also adapted several Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael novels,  starring Philip Madoc as Cadfael, and has dramatised works by Ian Rankin, Val  McDermid, Isaac Asimov and other best-selling genre authors. Whether you're a Holmes fan, an aspiring scriptwriter, or simply interested  in great drama, you'll love this show - pass it on to your friends!
December 24, 2020
John Simopoulos: A Tiger Burning Bright
When we asked John Simopoulos, Founding Fellow and Dean of Degrees at St  Catherine’s College, Oxford, to read Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient  Mariner last year, we had an overwhelming response from listeners wanting to  hear more from him. We're thrilled to welcome John back to present this  special new year's "mixed bag of prose, poetry and century" that is certain to  delight and inspire you... happy new year! John reads and discusses: Meditation 17 by John Donne "The Little Black Boy" by William Blake "The Tiger" by William Blake Samuel Johnson's letter to Lord Chesterfield "Those Winter Sundays" By Robert Hayden "Heraclitus" by William Johnson Cory "On The Coast Of Coromandel" by Osbert Sitwell "The Owl And The Pussy Cat" by Edward Lear Music in the  programme is available for purchase from
December 24, 2020
Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street - Mahfouz
It's our last discussion for a while with John Simopoulos and again, we're  focusing on our series entitled Books That Matter. Galsworthy and Proust? Not  worthy to hold a candle to today's featured author, Mahfouz - says John. Naguib  Mahfouz was an Egyptian novelist who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature,  and is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature.  The trilogy of books - Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street - are  collectively titled the Cairo Trilogy, an immense monumental work of 1,500 pages  or so - "and every character in them is repulsive," says John, "but do read it -  if you've got the stomach for it!".
December 24, 2020
Our Man In The Cold
Tonight's show is a real-life thriller: featuring espionage, double-dealing,  murder and even a dash of Hollywood. And a British ambassador who sees things he  shouldn't - and decides to tell the world. Sounds like the plot of a movie?  Craig  Murray's amazing story has already been optioned by producers - if  you can't wait to see the big-screen version, you can hear him on Litopia After  Dark - you'll be riveted!
December 24, 2020
The Golden Years of British TV Comedy
From The Two Ronnies to Blackadder…from Benny Hill to Marty  Feldman… the golden years of British television comedy produced some of the  funniest shows and larger-than-life characters the world has ever seen. Garry’s guest tonight COLIN EDMONDS has  dominated British television comedy writing for four decades – and he knew them  all… the stars, the monsters, the legends and the lunatics! If names such as Les Dawson, Lilly Savage, Paul Daniels, Julian Clary,  Barbara Windsor and – of course – Bob Monkhouse – evoke fond memories… then  you’re going to love tonight’s show! Of course, the tradition of bawdy British comedy goes right back to the world  of the music hall… from which Colin draws his inspiration for his new novel,  Steam,  Smoke & Mirrors: with insights and extracts from the secret journals of  Professor Artemus More PhD (Cantab) FRS.  Set in a Steampunk vision  of Victorian Britain Steam, Smoke & Mirrors is “Victorian  science fiction”, says Colin: “It’s so sexy! Men in top hats and women in  thigh-length boots! Steampunk is on a roll!”
December 24, 2020
Debriefer Special with Dan Rather
"I wanted to know what went on -what really went on - inside  Viacom/CBS... about the collaboration between very big business and very big  government." So says television legend Dan Rather in this  special edition of The Debriefer. "I knew that a lot had gone on behind  the scenes [in CBS News] that wasn't right. As a reporter, I tried to dig into  that story." The scandal that Dan and his team at CBS had unearthed concerned no less a  person than George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States. At the time  of the Viet Nam war, Bush's father had used his influence to get him a posting  in the Texas Air National Guard, thus ensuing he would never risk active service  in the battlefield. "That's a fact", says Dan. "The president didn't deny it:  he's never denied it." Even more scandalously, after being posted to this "champagne unit" for the  sons of privileged and well-connected people, Bush countermanded orders and  disappeared for a year! "[Those facts] were true when we reported them", says  Dan. "And they're true now." Listen to this Debriefer special as Dan tells us what happened next to him  and his team: it will shock you. If you enjoyed this show, buy Dan's new book,  Rather  Outspoken: My Life in the News, just out from Grand Central  Publishing.
December 24, 2020
The Zelig of American History
How do you go about writing a book about one of the most powerful dynasties  on earth? That's the challenge special guest Russ Baker faced when he first  considered writing about the Bush family; one which encompasses two U.S.  Senators, one Supreme Court Justice, two Governors, two Presidents and  innumerable bankers and businessmen. The book took five years to write and is a  meticulous piece of research (there are over a thousand footnotes). According to the late Gore Vidal, Family  of Secrets is "one of the most important books of the past ten years". Dan  Rather - who you can hear right here on Radio Litopia's Debriefer show - called  it "a tour de force. " "It's made me rethink", he says, "even those events I  witnessed with my own eyes".
December 24, 2020
R.J.Ellory - A Quiet Belief In 'What-If...'
You'll recognize him as one of Britain's leading thriller writers, author of  the multi-million seller A  Quiet Belief In Angels and ten other award-winner novels. But you may  not know much about the extraordinary personal story of tonight's guest  R.J. Ellory - a life that is  just as thrilling and moving as anything in his bestsellers. Inspiring, revealing and searingly honest... we think tonight's show is quite  simply one of our best.
December 24, 2020
Litopia After Dark : The Litopia 4th July Holiday Quiz
Where do your most brilliant ideas come from? What's the most extreme thing  you've done when researching your book? What's the worst book you've ever  bought? Litopia After Dark this week begins to wind down for the summer holidays  with a writers' quiz. It all gets completely out of hand as the panelists give  each other marks and the bickering reaches a crescendo as they try to outdo each  other in the race to the finish line... tune in to see who wins.
December 24, 2020
One-on-One with Geoff Dyer
Geoff Dyer is the consummate writer’s writer: winner of the Somerset Maugham  Prize, the US National Book Critics Circle Award the E. M. Forster Award, and  more. The Daily Telegraph newspaper has called him “the best living writer in  Britain”. Zadie Smith believes he is “a national treasure.” This is a specially extended Litopia After Dark - we hope you enjoy this  opportunity to get to know one of the finest writers in the world today.
December 24, 2020
Litvinenko: Murder Most Foul
At the age of 43, a few weeks after he secured British citizenship, former  KGB and FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko was murdered: the world's first victim  of polonium 210 poisoning.  The Litvinenko killing revealed that London has  quietly become not only the single greatest centre of Russian capital outside  Moscow, but also a turbulent seat of Russian opposition. Our special guest tonight is Alan Cowell, senior correspondent for the  New York Times, based in London and Paris.  Few people know more about this  extraordinary subject than Alan; his book  “The  Terminal Spy” is the definitive work on the topic, and he continues  to report on the story as it unfolds for Alan typifies old-school journalism at its best.  He was the last Reuters  correspondent to file dispatches by carrier pigeon, and has covered stories in  over 90 countries.  He won a George Polk Award for his coverage of the  broadening turmoil in South Africa that led to the end of apartheid.  He was  expelled from the country by the government of P.W. Botha in early 1987. Since then, he has headed The New York Times’s bureaus in Greece, Egypt,  Italy, Germany and London, where he the Nathaniel Nash Award. Alan has written three other books: an African memoir, “Killing  the Wizards”; and two novels, “A  Walking Guide” and its sequel, “The  Paris Correspondent”, which deals in part with the challenges of the new  digital era in news gathering and reporting.
December 24, 2020
The Causes of the First World War
It was supposed to be "the war that will end war" - according to the  misplaced optimism of British author H.G. Wells, and countless others like him  who cheerfully expected "our boys" to be home by Christmas 1914.   Involving all  the world's great powers, more than 70 million combatants, and over 9 million  fatalities, it became one of the largest wars in history. And perhaps most tragically, those who died in the trenches, or on the shores  of Gallipoli, had no inkling of the underlying causes, quarrels and agendas for  which they were to sacrifice their lives.  While its origins are still hotly  debated by historians, this is no mere academic discussion.  As you'll hear in  tonight's totally engrossing show, the legacy of the Great War is still very  much with us today - setting the agenda for many of the current events in the  Middle East and beyond. Our special guest is acclaimed historian Professor Sean McMeekin,  whose radical and assiduous scholarship has shed much new light on this  much-misunderstood conflict. Sean's books include The  Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany's Bid for World  Power,  The  Russian Origins of the First World War,  and the forthcoming July  1914: Countdown to War.
December 24, 2020
Sex and the Bipolar Explorer
We've got a lovely Easter chocolate-box full of naughtiness for you this  week!  All tied up in a saucy bow.  Choose from a tempting selection of  fillings, including: How do Polar explorers have sex? The worst celebrity books of all time Jimmy Savile's Personal Grooming Tips How Barbara Cartland's face was held together by tape Why the Keeper of the Royal Stool should resign And our favourite chestnut... JK Rowling's breast size The entirely wonderful, not to say intrepid, Kari Herbert is back with  us: her new book Polar  Wives tells the stories of the remarkable women behind the world's most  daring explorers - a great read if the Easter weather takes a turn for the  worse.  And should you accidentally over-indulge yourself with holiday treats,  don't panic - the hilarious and witty  Jane Wenham-Jones is  ready and waiting with 100  Ways to Fight the Flab – The Wannabe Guide to a Better Bottom.
December 24, 2020
The Love of Money
British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne  are  currently enforcing "savage" spending cuts that, in Cameron's own words, "will  change our whole way of life". Why? What have the British people done  to deserve this punishment? Tonight's guest, Professor  L. Randall Wray, has got some very revealing answers. If you want to  know how we got in this mess - listen to this show. If you want to know  what's going to happen next - listen to this show. And if you want to  know what we might be able to do about it... you know what to do. This is one of  our very best - and most important - shows.  Please: tell all your friends about  it.
December 24, 2020
The Listener in the Shadows
It's not often we have a real-life spy as our special guest on LAD - but  tonight, stepping out of the shadows and into our spotlight is special guest  Major David Thorp - a man who has spent his entire life in signals  intelligence (SIGINT)... from the Cold War to the Falklands, and everything  in-between. SIGINT is one of the least-known but most important aspects of battlefield  and peacetime intelligence gathering.  David's book, The  Silent Listener - Falklands 1982: The Inside Story of British Electronic  Surveillance and Intel Controversies, ignited a firestorm of controversy  when it was published... and tonight we get our teeth into his insider's  revelations about the sinking of the Belgrano and much more besides.
December 24, 2020
Hollywood Lives: The Stunt Woman's Tale
"Behind the phony tinsel of Hollywood" quipped Oscar Levant,  lies the real  tinsel".  Maybe true, but for our guest tonight, action actress Spice Williams-Crosby,  the bruises, broken ribs and concussions are real enough.  Spice has Hollywood  in her DNA; you've seen her in motion pictures such as Star Trek, From  Dusk Till Dawn,  and A Simple Plan and on countless television  dramas, including Scrubs, Roseanne and Buffy the Vampire  Slayer.  Spice has crashed cars, dove through glass windows, taken stair  falls, executed 30-foot ratchets, 50-foot high falls, and hung from helicopters  350 feet above the ground.  Oh, and wrestled Jim Carrey, too. This is the first time we've had a genuine Klingon on the show -  Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam!
December 24, 2020
The R Word
When award-winning Canadian author Joseph Boyden flounced  off Litopia After Dark, we were dismayed. It's the only time in our history that  a guest has done that. Yes, we do pose very direct questions – it  wouldn’t be Litopia After Dark if we didn’t. Still, we couldn't understand what  had upset him so much. So we asked Dr. Leo  Killsback, professor of American Indian Studies and citizen of the Northern  Cheyenne Nation, to help us.  And unlike Boyden's immature temper-tantrum - this  is a show worth listening to!
December 24, 2020
I'm JK Rowling! Do Not Make Me Angry!
It's been a summer of high weirdness!  Featuring all our favorite topics...  Harry Potter, Tolkien, and... let's hear it for the Singing Dentist!  Welcome  back, Debriefists... we've missed you! Presented by leading lawyer Donna Ballman  with literary agent Peter Cox
December 24, 2020
Three Faces of War – The Assassin
Making a welcome return tonight is journalist-turned-investigative-historian,  Tim Butcher.  Tim specialises in covering awkward places at difficult moments:  Kurdistan under attack in 1991 by Saddam Hussein, Sarajevo during the Bosnian  War of the 1990s, the Allied attack on Iraq in 2003, Israel's 2006 clash with  Hizbollah in southern Lebanon among other crises. All good preparation, then for  tonight’s skirmish with Ian... But it’s not all fol-de-rol and bon mots  ce soir. Tim’s  new, widely-praised book is a quest to find history's most famous terrorist  before Osama bin Laden... Gavrilo Princip, the teenage assassin who triggered  the catastrophic series of events that led to the First World War. You may think that everything that could possibly be told about this  particular Bosnian Serb has already been written. Not so. Listen to tonight’s  show – and read Tim’s excellent book, The  Trigger – and you will appreciate why reviewers have been showering  it, and him, with praise. We’re indeed proud to host him tonight.
December 24, 2020
Three Faces of War – The English Lady
She does her job with typically understated bravery. To meet her, you might  think (for a moment) that this headscarved and very English lady is, perhaps, a  headmistress, a rose grower or possibly something a bit nebulous in the  arts. But this is Lindsey  Hilsum. The woman for whom the expression sang-froid might  have been invented. Specialising in remaining imperturbable under fire, and  always meeting her deadline. As International Editor for Britain’s Channel 4 News, she reported from  Belgrade in 1999 when NATO bombed Serbia, from Baghdad during the 2003 US  invasion, and covered the Fallujah assault in November 2004. Her reports from  Africa, the Middle East and Russia have earned her many awards. In 1994, she was  the only English-speaking journalist in Rwanda when the genocide started. It’s an obvious question, but we still want to know – what’s it like being a  woman in the front line? How do you cope when your friend and colleague, Marie  Colvin, dies covering the siege of Homs in Syria? And – when you come back from  the world’s most perilous places, having seen things that no normal person  should ever see – how do you sleep at night? Tonight, fresh from Damascus, Lindsey joins us in London to help us make  sense of Crimea, Syria – and the genesis of Isis.
December 24, 2020
Three Faces of War – Very Special Forces
On this day in 1918 – the eleventh day of the eleventh month, at the  11th hour – the hostilities of the First World war formally  ended. This is Remembrance Day, aka Poppy Day. But why poppies? Well, contrary to  popular belief, poppies have been associated with war since at least Napoleonic  times, when a writer first noted how poppies grew over the graves of soldiers.  It is theorized that the damage done to the landscape in Flanders during WW1  greatly increased the lime content in the soil, leaving the poppy as one of the  few plants able to survive. At the war’s conclusion, it was an American professor who first suggested  that wearing a red poppy year-round would fittingly honour the war’s fallen.  Soon, the red silk poppy had been adopted as an official symbol of remembrance  by the American Legion. And then the idea spread to Britain, where Field Marshal Douglas Haig – the  "Butcher of the Somme” – used the motif to promote The Royal British Legion,  which he co-founded. And yet, the poppy symbol remains an enigma. What we are actually  celebrating, or remembering, when we buy one? Is it the glory of war? Or its  poignancy? Are we remembering selfless heroism? Or the futility of human  conflict? Our guest tonight, Ben  Griffin, has clear views on this. Ben is no ordinary foot soldier.  As a member of Britain’s elite special forces, the SAS, Ben has served his  country in Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Afghanistan and Baghdad. Ben is  eloquent, lucid and deeply moving. If you want to know what it is actually like  to fight a war in the 21st century, listen to this show. Ben’s organisation, Veterans for Peace, can be contacted here.
December 24, 2020
El Narco: Inside Mexico's Deadly Drugs Wars
Seventy thousand dead.  Twenty thousand disappeared.  Severed  heads with threatening messages dumped by the side of the highway. A  terrorist insurgency on the verge of toppling governments. Iraq?  Syria?  The Congo?   Ukraine? No. This is Northern Mexico— one  of the most violent places on earth.  Why?  Because Western culture likes  to take drugs.  Tons of them.  Drugs we brand illegal and on which we’re  waging war. To walk us through the kill zone— from the peasants picking coca in the hills  behind Bogota to the contract killers of Ciudad Juarez— tonight we’re joined by  the amazingly-still-alive Ioan Grillo,  acclaimed journalist and author of El  Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency. Intimately familiar with the deadly cartels, Ioan breaks down Mexico’s bloody  “trampolines”, the  reality of Breaking Bad— in the form of Mexican crystal meth  “super-labs”— the  splashy death of Pablo Escobar, and the largest cash seizure in modern  history. We also discuss confirmed  CIA complicity in importing cocaine into America and the character  assassination and suspicious death of reporter Gary  Webb— whose star-studded biopic Kill the  Messenger was recently released in theaters.
December 24, 2020
The Viral Mind of Susan Blackmore
Meet Susan Blackmore,  the world’s foremost expert on memes. The intro to her seminal work The  Meme Machine was written by none other than genius biologist and  fundamentalist atheist blowhard Richard Dawkins. Her lectures  on TED receives millions of views— even despite TED's dishwater-dull format  when compared to Litopia After Dark (rowr!) “Man becomes, as it were, the sex organs of the machine world,” said Marshal McLuhan.  Never has this been more true. (Full quote: Man becomes, as it were, the sex organs of the machine  world, as the bee of the plant world, enabling it to fecundate and to evolve  ever new forms.) But  do memes actually exist?  Or are they simply metaphors to observe our  shifting culture? And who is Susan Blackmore anyway? After an out of body experience she studied  the paranormal for 24 years, only to arrive at the conclusion it  was bollocks— all of it.  So who’s to say she won’t soon say the same about  memes? But wait, there’s more! Now she’d like for us to consider what she calls  temes— technology assisted memes. Replicators so powerful they may yet  turn our computers against us— and sooner than you think. Just ask Stephen  Hawking. Because your Macbook Pro is spreading words, tunes, images and ideas much  faster than your feeble human mind can imagine. Check everything  you think you know about memes at the door. Because this show is no lecture.  This show is virus inside of your mind.
December 24, 2020
Ripped Off By The BBC?
The BBC – the world’s oldest and biggest public service broadcaster – appears  to have a serious ethics problem. That’s the devastating conclusion from this  edition of The DEBRIEFER. How else could you explain the plight of bestselling  author and screenwriter M.R.  Hall, whose THE  CORONER series of books bears a striking similarity to the BBC’s a new  television series entitled – somewhat unimaginatively – THE CORONER. Listeners to THE DEBRIEFER will be familiar with horrific accounts of  rapacious Hollywood studios “borrowing” ideas from defenceless authors. The  twist, this time, is that the allegations concern a public service  broadcaster… not a commercial entity, but an organisation that is supposed  to serve the public good. Service, not profit, is the motivator… or is supposed  to be. Troublingly, this case is not  unique. One of our guests on Litopia After Dark, former  British ambassador Craig Murray,  believes his autobiography Murder in Samarkand was plagiarized for the  BBC comedy The Ambassador. “The production company had actually invited  me to their offices”, says Craig, “for a meeting to ask me to sell them the  rights to Murder in Samarkand. I attended the meeting but I refused to  sell them the rights. They went ahead and made the series anyway.” This isn’t fair, it’s not cricket, and it isn’t in the spirit of public  service broadcasting. Come on, BBC – show some leadership and get your house in  order – while you still have a chance.
December 24, 2020
Mother Night - Kurt Vonnegut
Traitor? Spy? Loyal American or self-serving amoralist?  Howard W Campbell Jr  tries to write his own get out of jail free card in in Kurt Vonnegut's 'Mother  Night'. Vintage.
December 24, 2020
Satan in Goray - Isaac Bashevis Singer
The Messiah is coming! His arrival is imminent! That’s the bad news... The  good news is his arrival and social schedule are narrated with a combination of  enthralled immediacy and distrustful distance by a Nobel Laureate, Isaac  Bashevis Singer. And yet, is it ‘all that’? Some readers will be super-pumped,  others might not catch messiah fever. All the colours of the rainbow.
December 24, 2020
The Porn Supremacy
In the week that Microsoft bought a fifth of Barnes & Noble’s digital  businesses, and we learned that e-books sales grew 360% in the UK last year, we  thought at The Naked Book we’d ignore all that - and focus on 'mummy  porn'. Why? Well, it was the public wot did it. Four pence in every pound spent on a  book last week went on the adventures of Anastasia Steele and the manipulative  billionaire Christian Grey: whose dangerous couplings take place in E L James'  Twilight-inspired trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty  Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed. The erotic hits are  revitalizing a genre gone flaccid, and prompting publishers to unsheathe their  erotic back-list. Scott Pack, publisher at HarperCollins imprint The Friday  Project, was so excited he decided to 'do' the show naked. Dr Brooke  Magnanti, formerly known as the blogger and call-girl Belle de Jour,  suggested playing a drinking game. Needless to say the innuendos, along with the  liquor flowed freely. The discussion, ably assisted by regulars Sam  Missingham and Catherine Neilan  was, ahem, deep. Hopefully most of the smut will get past the censors. Maybe  some of the insight too. The big Question from the show - we don't like "mummy  porn". What shall we call it instead? Presented by Philip  Jones, deputy editor of The  Bookseller.
December 24, 2020
Peter James - King of Crime
He's a crime boss - but not the way you'd expect. British writer Peter James was awarded an honorary  Doctorate of Letters in recognition of his ongoing contribution to the arts,  which tells you something of his significance to writing and publishing  generally. The Daily Mail called him a cross between Stephen King and Michael  Crichton, and with sales of his 25 titles running into the multi-millions, he's  a serious force in commercial publishing. Crime is one of the biggest of all  publishing genres; it accounts for about a quarter of all books sold. In  tonight's extended show, we get under the surface of both the writer himself and  the whole genre - what does it take to succeed in this area? Peter, who is  also chair of the Crime Writers  Association, is clearly the best man to ask. Peter's latest book Perfect  People has just been published in the UK, and his most recent paperback, Dead  Man's Grip, has just gone to the No. 1 position in the paperback charts  (knocking off Jamie Oliver!).
December 24, 2020
Seth Godin: The New Face Of Publishing
There are some people who just get what's going on: faster, more accurately, and  more cogently than the rest of us. Seth Godin is one of those people. A legend  on the 'net, Seth authored the most popular e-book ever written ("Unleashing The Idea  Virus") and commands speaker's fees that run into telephone numbers. For  Radio Litopia, however, Seth's fee is... simply your attention. This is one  of those shows that you'll want to listen to many times. The wisdom is intense  and the conclusions enlightening.
December 24, 2020
Martin Bell: A Front Row Seat At The Making Of History
"I liked the idea of having a front-row seat at the making of history.  I felt myself move into another gear when I hit a war zone. And sometimes be not  a terribly nice person." Martin Bell - "the man in the white suit" - is a  British institution. Just as Walter Cronkite was "the most trusted man in  America", so Martin Bell represents journalistic integrity and straight-talking  to several generations of Britons. In this extended show, we talk to Martin  about his life, his war experiences, the experience of being a politician,  and... his poetry! It's a treat - don't miss it. Martin's book of light and  dark verse, For  Whom The Bell Tolls, has just been published.
December 24, 2020
Go Ahead, Steampunk, Make My Day!
We're partying like it's 1899 tonight as special guest Robert Brown of steampunk  band Abney Park takes us inside the intrepid world of one of the hottest writing  and music genres at the moment. Steampunk - once a niche market - is going  mainstream everywhere you look. But what is its appeal - and what does it say  about the zeitgeist? As usual, Litopia After Dark keeps you two steps ahead of  the trends - so pop on your goggles & boilersuit, and let's get this  dirigible inflated! Our all-star panel tonight features Graham Marks, Nic  Alderton and Dave Bartram - who makes a welcome (musical) return...
December 24, 2020
Jeffrey Archer: The Archer Still Has Two Fingers
With 270 million copies of his books in circulation, Jeffrey Archer can justly  claim to be one of the world's all-time bestselling novelists. From his first  book way back in 1976 - rejected by fifteen publishers - to his current  worldwide hit The  Sins Of The Father - his writer's journey has been a wild ride of  extremes. This absorbing in-depth interview, during which Jeffrey fields  questions both from our panel and from the live audience in the chat room, is  utterly unmissable. No topic is off-limits. Candid, witty and very much the  consummate pro, Jeffrey packs a lifetime of advice into sixty spellbinding  minutes. If you've ever wanted to attend a masterclass in how to become a  bestselling novelist - start listening now.
December 24, 2020
The World’s Deadliest Country
Get your jabs, people! Our guest (and fixer tonight) is none other than the  great travel writer Tim Butcher -  journalist, war-correspondent and author of the best-selling Blood River: A Journey to Africa's  Broken Heart, which describes his hair-raising attempt to retrace Henry  Morton Stanley's 19th century route up the Congo River. For the armchair traveler in all of us, Tim will be our escort to the scene  of “the greatest human drama on the planet” – welcome to the Democratic Republic  of the Congo, home to more chaotic warfare than a drunken child can shake his  gun at – and from there, we head to Sierra Leone - arguably the world's poorest  country - in the aftermath of bloody civil war. Tim doesn’t do tourism – he does travel – the rugged kind. The sort  that Graham Greene did. And Paul Theroux doesn’t
December 24, 2020
My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
Elena is friends with Lila, whom hurts Elena in all kinds of ways that  Elena finds fascinating, and painful. Slums, slums, slums, creepy older men, and  not a single moment of levity. Prepare yourself. >>> From recent débuts to classics, fiction to non-fiction, memoirs,  philosophy, science, history and journalism, Burning Books separates the smoking  from the singeworthy, looking at the pleasures (and pains) of reading, the craft  of writing, the ideas that are at the heart of great novels as well as novels  that try to be great, but don’t quite make it.
December 24, 2020