Portraits of real people abound in books. There are novels that use transcribed conversations, like Sheila Heti’s How Should A Person Be, or fiction based on historical or even living people, like Curtis Sittenfield’s Rodham. Our guest this month is the writer Kathryn Scanlan who joined us from the States to talk about her riveting new novel, Kick the Latch, which is based upon a series of conversations that Kathryn had with a woman named Sonia about her joyful and brutal life as a trainer for racehorses. Lydia Davis called Kick the Latch a “magical act of empathic ventriloquy”, and this show is about literature that engages in similar ways with the lives of others. We’ll be getting into things like the ethics of writing from another life in fiction, the art of biography, and our favourite literary portraits, plus all our usual reading recommendations.

Recommendations on the theme, The Lives of Others:

Octavia: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Carrie: Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

General recommendations:

Octavia: Avalon by Nell Zink

Kathryn: Guston in Time: Remembering Philip Guston by Ross Feld

Carrie: Foster by Claire Keegan

Find a list of all recommended books at: https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/jan-2023-the-lives-of-others-with-kathryn-scanlan

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