Art and Culture Podcasts
Series 10, Episode 5
M. John Harrison – Living in an Age of Fantasy
Both an icon and an iconoclast, M. John Harrison has spent fifty years shifting the boundaries of what ought to be possible in literary and genre fiction.
Series 9, Episode 28
Mick Herron – Slow Horses and Bad Actors
Mick Herron ‘is at the summit of a new golden age of spy fiction’ (Sunday Times); the creator of the embittered, second-rate MI5 agents known as the Slow Horses.
Series 9, Episode 30
Eleanor Janega – Going Medieval on Women’s Roles in Society
A hilarious and thought-provoking podcast looking at sex, gender, and misogyny in the Middle Ages – with medieval pick-up artists, beauty tips based on the Bible, and much else besides.
Series 9, Episode 27
Adam Gopnik – The Mystery of Skill and Mastery
Inspired by the genius of the people he writes about for the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik embarked on a quest to discover how we obtain skill and mastery.
Series 9, Episode 24
Luke Turner – Men at War
Award-winning journalist Luke Turner looks beyond the myths of heroes and villains to reveal a much more nuanced portrait of the multitude of men who served in the Second World War.
Series 9, Episode 23
Curtis Sittenfeld – Romantic Comedy
Skewering all our certainties about why we fall in love, Curtis Sittenfeld’s new novel Romantic Comedy sees her at her daring and compassionate best.
Series 9, Episode 22
Julian Baggini – How to Think Like a Philosopher
Join bestselling public philosopher Julian Baggini for a ‘complete treat: a breath of fresh air and a bracing detox for our beleaguered, battered brains’ (Derren Brown).
Series 9, Episode 18
Sir Tony Robinson Meets Peter Frankopan – How a Changing Climate Shaped Civilisation
The way that humans have interacted with the natural world and with the climate has shaped and will change our world – but this story has gone untold. Until now.
Series 9, Episode 15
1hr 25 mins
Bernie Sanders Meets Frankie Boyle – It’s Okay to Be Angry About Capitalism
The longest-serving independent in Congress, the leader of democratic socialism in America, and a hero to progressives across the globe, Senator Sanders joins Frankie Boyle to take on the 1%.
Series 9, Episode 14
Blake Morrison – The Power of Art in Grief
Can writing help us find solace in grief? One of Britain’s best loved poets and memoirists, Blake Morrison, makes a powerful case.
Series 9, Episode 13
Caroline Dodds Pennock – How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe
The story of Colombus’s ‘discovery’ of America has been told endlessly; but that of the indigenous Americans who travelled to the ‘savage shores’ of Europe remains almost untold. Until now.
Series 9, Episode 12
Ray Nayler – What Octopuses and AI Teach Us About Consciousness
What does the intelligence of animals and machines tell us about human nature? Diplomat Ray Nayer investigates in his deeply philosophical new novel, The Mountain in the Sea.
Season 9, Episode 8
Tom Rob Smith – Antarctica and Apocalypse
The internationally bestselling author of Child 44 and The Farm puts human nature under the microscope in a new speculative thriller.
Series 9, Episode 3
Alan Moore – The Magic of Storytelling
Robin Ince joins the legendary author of Watchmen, Jerusalem, and V For Vendetta for a journey into the fantastical underside of reality.
Series 8, Episode 26
Jools Holland and Mark Cooper – Celebrating Thirty Years of Music and Mayhem
Jools Holland, Mark Cooper and a grand piano come together in a delightful ensemble of songs and stories to celebrate the greatest music show ever made.
Series 8, Episode 21
Lost Realms – An Epic New History of Britain from the Romans to the Vikings
Join bestselling author and historian Thomas Williams for the true history of Britain’s forgotten kingdoms.
Series 8, Episode 19
Harry Sidebottom – The Mad Emperor Heliogabalus
Join bestselling Oxford historian Harry Sidebottom for the story of Heliogabalus, a teenage Roman emperor whose wild reign makes Joffrey Baratheon seem meek and mild.
Series 8, Episode 15
Joyce Tyldesley – The Life, Death, and Afterlife of Tutankhamun
One hundred years after the discovery of his tomb, Joyce Tyldesley tells the story of Egypt’s most famous pharaoh.
Series 8, Episode 13
George Saunders – Liberation Day
The Booker Prize winning author of ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ returns to the podcast to share his idiosyncratic take on the human condition.
Series 8, Episode 12
Geena Davis – Dying of Politeness
The two time Oscar winning actor and activist joins us to share stories from her incredible life in Hollywood and beyond.
Series 8, Episode 11
Kate Summerscale – The History of Phobias and Manias
Are you frightened of clowns, spiders, or buttons? Award-winning author Kate Summerscale dives into the strange history of our fears and obsessions.
Series 8, Episode 10
Kate Mosse – Warrior Queens and Quiet Revolutionaries
The bestselling author and founder of the Women’s Prize joins us for a celebration of incredible women from history.
Series 8, Episode 9
Amy Jeffs – Tales of the Medieval Wilderness
The acclaimed artist and author joins us to share forgotten stories from the medieval imagination.
Series 8, Episode 8
Irvine Welsh – Confessions of a Novelist
The legendary author of TRAINSPOTTING joins us for a one-way trip into his febrile, sordid, singular imagination. Not for the faint of heart.
Series 8, Episode 7
Clover Stroud – The Red of My Blood
Journalist and acclaimed author Clover Stroud joins us with the raw and powerful story of surviving the loss of her sister.
Series 8, Episode 6
John Higgs – Bond, the Beatles, and the British Psyche
James Bond and the Beatles are cultural twins. But they present opposing values and ideas about masculinity that still affect the British psyche in 2022.
Series 8, Episode 4
Cornelia Parker Meets Carlo Rovelli – The Hidden Nature of Things
Visual artist Cornelia Parker and theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli come together to explore the revelations of quantum physics and the nature of reality.
Series 7, Episode 14
Daniel Pink – The Power of Regret
No regrets! The mantra adorns tattoos, T-shirts and posters; celebrities from John Travolta to Laverne Cox say they live by it. But should they?
Series 7, Episode 10
1hr 10 mins
Bonnie Wright – How to Nurture Yourself and the Planet
Lessons for living sustainably and protecting the future of our planet with actresses and activists Bonnie Wright and Evanna Lynch.
Series 7, Episode 9
Francesco Dimitri – The Search for Wonder
Italian author and screenwriter Francesco Dimitri shares stories from his lifelong search for finding wonder and enchantment in the everyday.
Series 7, Episode 7
Michael Ignatieff – Finding Solace in Dark Times
Political leader, philosopher, historian, journalist, broadcaster, and Booker shortlisted literary novelist: Michael Ignatieff is a twenty-first century Renaissance man.
Series 7, Episode 6
Ken Liu – Storytelling is Our Most Important Technology
The award-winning novelist explores why speculative fiction is so bad at predicting the future — and so good as revealing hidden aspects of the present.
Series 7, Episode 5
Susan Cain – How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole
Susan Cain’s Quiet changed the way we think about introverts forever. Now she is back to challenge our thinking again, revealing the strength and power in vulnerability and pain.
Series 7, Episode 3
1hr 18 mins
Colm Toibin and Terence Killeen – Ulysses Unbound
Celebrating the centenary of the novel widely regarded as the greatest ever written, Colm Toibin and Terrence Killeen untangle Joyce’s knotty classic to reveal the wonders beneath.
Series 7, Episode 2
Alice Roberts – Buried
Combining archaeological evidence with cutting edge DNA research, the bestselling anthropologist joins us with a bold new account of death in the so-called Dark Ages.
Series 6, Episode 29
1hr 10 mins
John Cleese Meets Iain McGilchrist – On Consciousness, Culture, and Creativity
John Cleese meets preeminent neuroscientist Iain McGilchrist to explore the science of human consciousness and creativity.
Series 6, Episode 28
1 hr 10 mins
Minnie Driver – Managing Expectations
As one of our most loved actors, Minnie Driver has spent her life mostly telling other people’s stories. Until now.
Series 6, Episode 26
Robin Ince Meets Neal Stephenson – Termination Shock
‘Sometimes when you’re reading Neal Stephenson, he doesn’t just seem like one of the best novelists writing in English right now; he seems like the only one.’ – TIME magazine
Series 6, Episode 24
Ann Patchett – These Precious Days
‘I don’t think that there’s a book of hers that I haven’t put down at the end and been haunted by for weeks after’ (Gillian Anderson).
Series 6, Episode 20
Matthew Green – A Journey Through the Shadowlands
From Old Winchelsea to Skara Brae, Matthew Green transports us to Britain’s shadowlands – the once thriving towns and cities that are now lost to time and memory.
Series 6, Episode 19
Julia Samuel – Every Family Has a Story
What predicts family breakdown? Why do our families drive us mad? What is it the enables some families to thrive despite enormous adversity, when others fragment?
Series 6, Episode 18
Philip Oltermann – The Stasi Poetry Circle
The Guardian’s Berlin bureau chief reveals the strange but true story of the book club that tried to win the Cold War through lyrical verse.
Series 6, Episode 16
Max Porter – Why Art Should Challenge Us
The genre-defying author joins us to explore his lifelong obsession with Francis Bacon, the undefinable magic of language, and pushing readers outside their comfort zones.
Series 6, Episode 15
1hr 4 mins
Alan Moore and B. Catling – The Power of Imagination
The comics legend and Oxford sculptor turned literary novelist come together to explore humanity’s greatest superpower: imagination.
Series 6, Episode 9
Salena Godden Meets Yrsa Daley-Ward – How To Know Yourself
Shot to fame in her early twenties as model and actor, Yrsa Daley-Ward quickly established a reputation as a poet and storyteller of rare honesty, vulnerability, and emotional power.
Series 6, Episode 8
Jameela Jamil and Michael Schur – How to Be Perfect
Jameela Jamil and Michael Schur join us to explore the question of their hit series The Good Place: how can we live a more ethical life?
Series 6, Episode 6
William Dalrymple and Sathnam Sanghera – British Imperialism in India
A story of powerful empires, covert political machinations and bloody resistance, Sathnam Sanghera and William Dalrymple join us with the history of the world’s first corporate power.
Series 6, Episode 5
Fi Glover and Jane Garvey – Did I Say That Out Loud?
At a time of constant anxiety and uncertainty, BBC radio legends Fi Glover and Jane Garvey joined us on stage in London to tell us that they haven’t got a clue what’s going on either.
Season 6, Episode 3
Claire Fuller – Unsettled Ground
Claire Fuller, author of the Costa Novel Award 2021 winner Unsettled Ground, explores folk music, memory, and the surreal everyday in this week’s episode of the How To Academy Podcast.