17 Dec 2019

Best of 2019: the writers

11:02 am on 8 January 2020

Some of the world's literary heavy-hitters including James Ellroy, Ian McEwan, Douglas Coupland, Arundhati Roy and Margaret Atwood appeared on our programmes last year.

Louis Theroux: the TV version of me is semi-fictional

Filmmaker Louis Theroux loves to immerse himself in unusual worlds - he's made documentaries about neo-Nazis, drug addicts, religious fanatics and sex workers.

Louis Theroux

Photo: Carsten Windhorst

Crime writer James Ellroy on LA Confidential and more

“I've never used a computer for anything, I don't have a cell phone, I'm computer illiterate, I write these massive books of mine by hand. I'm always looking backward.”

James Ellroy

Photo: Penguin-Random House

Stephanie Land: 'I kind of survived off protein bars and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches'

American writer Stephanie Land never expected to be poor, but after leaving an abusive relationship she found herself supporting herself and her young daughter Mia.

Stephanie Land

Photo: supplied

Jake Brennan on rock'n' roll crime

Misbehaving and rock'n'roll have always gone hand in hand - even Elvis had a dark side. Jake Brennan explores musical crimes in his book Disgraceland.

Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Page, Elvis Presley

Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Page, Elvis Presley Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ian McEwan: 'I’m a total news junkie'

In his latest book, the acclaimed English writer imagines a parallel 1980s London where the Beatles have reformed, Margaret Thatcher advocates for public transport and robots live alongside humans.

Ian McEwan

Photo: Penguin / supplied

Douglas Coupland: I Miss My Pre-Internet Brain

“You only get to live once on earth and it’s the only place in the universe with life and god, how do you not spend every moment of life trying to examine that and make sense or beauty from it.”

Douglas Coupland

Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0

Arundhati Roy on writing and politics

Arundhati Roy catapulted to fame with her 1997 Booker Prize-winning debut novel The God of Small Things. Her new book of political essays explores Hindu-nationalism, of which she is a vocal critic.

Arundhati Roy by Mayaank Austen Soofi

Photo: Mayaank Austen Soofi

Clive James remembered

Prolific writer, critic and TV presenter Clive James spoke to Kim Hill about life, mortality and poetry back in 2015.

Clive James

Photo: Screengrab

Margaret Atwood on how good conquers evil

Award-winning author Margaret Atwood says writing The Handmaid's Tale in the 1980s was not a "prophecy" and the world could have "gone another way".

Margaret Atwood

Photo: Supplied


Robert Harris: 'We live such artificial lives'

Best-selling author Robert Harris fictionalises the dangers that await humanity in his latest novel The Second Sleep.

Robert Harris, author of Munich.

Photo: Supplied

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