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Sam Leith

Sam Leith is UK literary editor of The Spectator and the author of Write To The Point: How To Be Clear, Correct and Persuasive on the Page.

Europe

Is Britain’s new prime minister the next Jeremy Corbyn?

The rise of Liz Truss suggests the Tories are making the same mistake Labour did

By Sam Leith

Europe

Sanna Marin and the rise of fake controversy

It has become far too easy to let nonsense pollute our information ecosystem

By Sam Leith

Books

Salman Rushdie and the incitement of violence

Death threats have become part of our everyday discourse rather than shocking aberrations

By Sam Leith

The Book Club

The centenary of Kerouac

This year marks the centenary of the birth of Jack Kerouac. As Penguin publishes a lavish new edition of On The Road to mark the occasion, I’m joined by two Kerouac scholars. Holly George-Warren is working on the definitive biography of Kerouac (her previous work includes Lives of Gene Autry and Janis Joplin), and Simon Warner co-edited Kerouac on […]

By Sam Leith

The Book Club

Siri Hustvedt: Mothers, Fathers and Others

My guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is the writer Siri Hustvedt, whose latest book is a collection of essays: Mothers, Fathers and Others. She tells me what literary critics get wrong, why she has a rubber brain on her desk, how Ancient Greek misogyny is still with us, why the seventeenth-century Duchess of Newcastle […]

By Sam Leith

The Book Club

Paul Muldoon: Howdie-Skelp

On this week’s Book Club podcast, I’m joined by one of the most distinguished poets in the language, Paul Muldoon, to talk about his new book Howdie-Skelp. He tells me of his unfashionable belief in inspiration; why he thinks poetry — even his — needn’t be difficult just because it’s difficult; how writing song lyrics differs from […]

By Sam Leith

The Book Club

Claire Tomalin: The Young H.G. Wells

In this week’s Book Club podcast, my guest is Claire Tomalin. Claire’s new book, The Young H.G. Wells: Changing the World, tracks the extraordinary life and rocket-powered career of one of the most influential writers of the Edwardian age. She tells me how drapery’s loss was literature’s gain, why casting the goatish Wells as a #MeToo […]

By Sam Leith

The Book Club

James Holland: Brothers In Arms

In this week’s Book Club podcast Sam is joined by the historian James Holland to talk about his fascinating new book Brothers In Arms: One Legendary Tank Regiment’s Bloody War from D-Day to V-E Day. James’s story follows the Sherwood Rangers from El Alamein to the D-Day Landings, and on through the last push through Europe […]

By Sam Leith

The Book Club

Chuck Palahniuk: Greener Pastures

Chuck Palahniuk — best known as the author of Fight Club — has just announced that he’s publishing his next novel not with a mainstream publisher but through the online subscription service Substack. He joins me on this week’s Book Club podcast to tell me why; and to talk about how 9/11 changed literature, why […]

By Sam Leith

The Book Club

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen: Freud’s Patients

In this week’s Book Club podcast I’m joined by Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, a historian of psychoanalysis whose latest book is Freud’s Patients: A Book of Lives. Mikkel has sifted through the archives to discover the real stories anonymized in the case studies on which Sigmund Freud based his theories, and the lives of the patients who […]

By Sam Leith

The Book Club

Frederick Forsyth: The Day of the Jackal at 50

My guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is Frederick Forsyth, whose classic thriller The Day of the Jackal has been in print for 50 years this summer. He tells me about banging it out in a few weeks on a typewriter with a bullet hole in it, the shady characters who informed his research […]

By Sam Leith

The Book Club

Anne Sebba: A Cold War Tragedy

In this week’s Book Club podcast my guest is Anne Sebba — whose Ethel Rosenberg: A Cold War Tragedy tells the story of the first woman in US history to be executed for a crime other than murder. She tells me how attitudes to this notorious espionage case changed over the years; and why, while […]

By Sam Leith

Education

How to kill the English language

Modifying clauses, modal verbs, adjectives, shifts of voice — these are all just objects in the toolkit

By Sam Leith

The Book Club

Laura Thompson: Life in a Cold Climate

This week’s Book Club podcast celebrates the 75th anniversary of the publication of Nancy Mitford’s breakthrough novel The Pursuit of Love. Laura Thompson, author of the biography Life In A Cold Climate, joins me to talk about the way the book was written, how it helped create the Mitford myth — and how it shaped […]

By Sam Leith

The Book Club

Nicholas Shakespeare: remembering John Le Carré

In this week’s Book Club podcast, we remember the great John Le Carré. I’m joined by one of the late writer’s longest standing friends, the novelist Nicholas Shakespeare. He tells me about Le Carré’s disdain for — and debt to — Ian Fleming, his intensely secretive and controlling personality, his magnetic charm, his thwarted hopes […]

By Sam Leith

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