Robert P. Kolker and Nathan Abrams on Stanley Kubrick: An Odyssey
On this episode, we were joined by authors Robert P. Kolker and Nathan Abrams to discuss Kubrick: An Odyssey, their authoritative new biography on the life and work of the legendary filmmaker behind The Shining, Dr. Strangelove, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Robert and Nathan spoke to us about the process of rendering the mythology of Kubrick into flesh and blood; the rogues gallery of famous personalities that provided conflicting firsthand accounts; Kubrick's creative and personal life in the UK; and of course, the films, which according to our guests, represent the most rigorous body of work in the history of cinema. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey.
Hisham Matar on 'My Friends': London, Libya, and Living in Exile
On this episode, we were joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hisham Matar to discuss his brilliant new novel My Friends which tells the story of three exiled Libyan friends living in London over the course of four decades, each marked by an act of real political violence which occurred at the Libyan embassy in St. James’s Square in 1984. The author is himself an exile, having fled the country as a child due his father’s vocal criticism of the Qaddafi regime, ultimately settling in London, where he has lived for many years. Hisham spoke to us about the long journey towards completing this highly personal novel; why he believes that authors are rarely in control of their own work; and the challenges of attempting to live freely as an exile, all the while knowing that your compatriots are struggling back home. The novel is full of warmth, brilliant storytelling, and great style, all attributes which can also be used to describe this episode's guest. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey.
Dolly Alderton on 'Good Material': Heartbreak, Millennial Hatred, and Male Pattern Baldness
On this episode, we were joined by acclaimed journalist and writer Dolly Alderton, who's latest novel, Good Material, follows a standup comedian in his mid-30s navigating 'The Madness' that follows an unexpected breakup with his longtime girlfriend, Jen. As Andy attempts to discover the flaw in himself that points to where it all went wrong, Dolly puts through him a series of alternatively hilarious and heartbreaking set pieces — a brief sojourn living on a houseboat; an album in his phone called ‘bald’ where he takes a picture of his receding hairline each day; and a disastrous karaoke date with a holier-than-thou Gen-Z hipster. In our conversation, Dolly spoke to us about charting the course of Andy’s breakup from a male point-of-view; her interest in the world of comedians; how she’s been both Andy and Jen in relationships; as well as her fascination with generations, and why she feels that millennials have never been given their due. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey.
Zadie Smith on 'The Fraud': Lies from Victorian England to OJ Simpson
On this episode, we were joined by one of the most acclaimed writers of her generation, Zadie Smith, who's latest novel, The Fraud, tells the story of the most notorious English trial of the 19th century, and rightfully places slavery at the invisible centre of the traditional Victorian novel. In our conversation, Zadie explains how she brought this vivid world of real-life characters to being; among them a famous British novelist and a freed slave from a sugar plantation in Jamaica; and why the lives of these Victorians connect so deeply to the concerns of the present day. Far from a typical interview, we also spoke about a range of interesting topics, including, but not limited to: Donald Trump; OJ Simpson; David Foster Wallace and the 90s literati; the attention economy and its effects on modern reading; and why she believes you can love things like English country houses and classic Hollywood movies and still acknowledge the dark histories that gave them their power. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey.
Roger Lewis on the 'Erotic Vagrancy' of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
On this episode, were were joined by celebrated British cultural biographer Roger Lewis, who's latest book, Erotic Vagrancy, is an extravagant, decade-in-the-making portrait of the ultimate love-hate relationship – the marriage of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. In our conversation, Roger lays bare everything that made these two such an endless subject of fascination for the public; their cinematic successes and more legendary flops; Burton's place in the West End firmament; and of course, their legendary addictions, punch-ups, divorces, hospital bills, and stays in Rome, Paris, New York, London, where chaos followed wherever they went. Roger also spoke to us about his lifelong obsession with British pop culture, having authored biographies of Peter Sellers, Peter O'Toole, and Charles Hawtrey, and why these subjects remain essential to understanding our shared cultural history – and his opinion, should probably be taught at Sixth Form. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey.
Benjamín Labatut on 'The Maniac': From the Atomic Bomb to Artificial Intelligence
On this episode, we were joined International Booker Prize shortlisted author Benjamín Labatut, who’s first novel written in English is The Maniac, a dark exploration of genius, telling three gripping stories about the consequences of scientific breakthroughs untethered by moral or ethical boundaries. Benjamín spoke with us about his interest in humanity’s search for new forms of consciousness, be it through modern computers or the centuries old use of psychoactive drugs by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. He also explained that in matters of literature, something considered “morally good” should be not confused with being interesting. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey.
Anna Funder on 'Wifedom': The Lost Woman Behind George Orwell
On this episode, we were joined by Anna Funder, acclaimed author of Stasiland, to discuss her new book Wifedom, which invites us into the mind of George Orwell's first wife Eileen O'Shaughnessy, who's talent, creative intelligence, and fascinating personal history were essential to the creation of Animal Farm and 1984 – all without credit in Orwell's previous biographies. This episode was hosted by Ryan and his wife, Emily Rushton, a teacher and Doctoral Researcher at the University of Cambridge, who was finally given a public forum to take the piss out of her husband.
Wes Anderson on 'Do Not Detonate', Film Criticism, and the Literary Influences of 'Asteroid City'
On this episode of The Hatchards Podcast we were joined by writer/director Wes Anderson - Parisian, Texan, filmmaker and cinephile - who spoke to Ryan & Matt about his latest film, 'Asteroid City', and the accompanying book, 'Do Not Detonate Without Presidential Approval,' edited by Jake Perlin. Wes spoke to us about the art of film criticism, his favourite film literature, the joy of rewatching movies and the wide array of influences - including mid-century American theatre, noir and science fiction - that fed into the making of his latest masterpiece, 'Asteroid City'. With thanks to Wes, Focus Features, and Adam at Pushkin for arranging this interview. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey.
David Grann on 'The Wager': Shipwreck, Sedition & Martin Scorcese
On this episode, we were joined by David Grann, author of the The Wager, the gripping story of a doomed 18th-century imperial expedition to South America which culminated in shipwreck, mutiny, and near-impossible survival He spoke to us about piecing together a story from several competing narratives; his love of sea tales and adventure stories; why his books lend themselves so well to the screen; and how stories such as these expose the ugly contradictions at the centre of colonial Europe. We also hear about his own dangerous boat journey to Wager Island, where no amount of anti-motion sickness medicine could lessen the impact of the storm-wracked seas. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey
Ian Dunt on 'How Westminster Works...and Why It Doesn't'
On this episode, we were joined by Ian Dunt, political journalist and broadcaster, Twitter personality, and author of the new bestseller, How Westminster Works... and Why It Doesn't. Breaking down Westminster institution-by-institution, Dunt's impressively detailed book is a marvel of non-fiction storytelling, filled with humour, righteous indignation, and an overwhelming desire to wrestle British politics back from the brink. Ian spoke to us about how exactly we got into this mess; the 'chicken or egg' effect of Brexit; the corrosive effects of 'machismo'; and why the political class loathes non-partisanship and expertise. What emerges from our conversation is his refreshingly funny and optimistic approach to a subject of deep moral seriousness, and the occasional audio appearance of his tiny dachsund. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey
Alice Winn on In Memoriam: From Tennyson to the Trenches
On this episode, we were joined by Alice Winn, author of the Hatchards Fiction Book of the Month, In Memoriam, her highly-acclaimed debut. Beginning at the onset of WWI, Winn's novel follows lifelong friends Gaunt and Ellwood from the confines of their cloistered English boarding school to the horrors of trench warfare, as a forbidden romance of fits-and-stars slowly blossoms between them. Alice spoke to us about the parallels in attitude felt by young people during that time period and the present; taking ideas from the life of Siegfried Sassoon; and the dangers of complacency within a peacetime society. We also learn how inspiration for the novel came from reading archival newspapers published by her alma mater, Marlborough, regularly listing the wounded and dead amongst former students throughout the war. Finally, her cat makes a most welcome appearance on mic; a first for The Hatchards Podcast. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey.
Sarah Watling on Tomorrow Perhaps the Future: Solidarity and the Spanish Civil War
In the latest episode of the Hatchards podcast our guest was the historian Sarah Watling, author of Tomorrow Perhaps the Future, an enthralling group biography of a handful of female writers and rebels who aided the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War during the 1930s. We spoke to Sarah about the role of the writer in war; explored some of the fascinating personalities featured within her book – most notably the pioneering American journalist Martha Gellhorn; the Spanish Civil War in the popular imagination, and why it is so stubbornly synonymous with just a handful of famous men; parallels between the war in Spain and contemporary causes such as the Ukraine war and Black Lives Matter; and whether or not Nancy Cunard would be an entertaining or insufferable presence on Twitter. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey
Bret Easton Ellis on The Shards: Lost Youth in Los Angeles
In our first episode of 2023, we spoke to Bret Easton Ellis on his new book The Shards, as well as what it was like to revisit the early 1980s as a formative period of his youth; the irresistible pull of the music and fashions and sense of freedom he remembers from 1981; blending more traditional “auto-fiction” with the genre trappings of a horror story; his indifference to reviews; and whether he cares about being called “controversial”. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey.
Bill Nighy on Hatchards, 'Living', and Kazuo Ishiguro
For our final episode of 2022, one of our most loyal customers dropped in for a festive chat: the sharp-suited national treasure, bookshop-haunter, and newly-Golden Globe-nominated actor, Bill Nighy. Bill kindly took time out for a busy schedule promoting his new film, 'Living,' to talk to us about working with Kazuo Ishiguro; his teenage dreams of literary stardom; his feelings about being known as 'Mr. Christmas' following the success of 'Love Actually'; and his enduring affection for Hatchards. Hosted by Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey.
Jerry Saltz on Why Art is Life
According to former lorry driver turned Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic, Jerry Saltz, art represents 'the greatest operating system our species has ever devised to explore consciousness'. That is, of course, until they invented the podcast. On this episode, Ryan and Lydia Porter had the distinct pleasure of talking all things visual with America's most famous, and in some corners of the internet, infamous, art critic.
Nick Hornby on Charles Dickens & Prince
The Hatchards Podcast has always been about hard graft. In this episode, resident workaholics Ryan Edgington and Matt Hennessey discuss the life & times of two other (arguably less celebrated) grafters, Charles Dickens and Prince, alongside our special guest, the bestselling novelist and screenwriter, Nick Hornby.
Melissa Newman on Paul Newman, Her Iconic Father
In this episode we spoke to Melissa Newman – daughter of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward – about her father’s posthumous memoir, 'Paul Newman: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man.'
David Hepworth on Abbey Road
On the latest episode of The Hatchards Podcast, Ryan and Matt make their (triumphant?) return to interview the illustrious music journalist David Hepworth on the occasion of the release of his new book, 'Abbey Road: The Inside Story of the World's Most Famous Recording Studio'.
Katy Hessel on The Story of Art Without Men
On this special episode, male-identifying hosts Matt Hennessey and Ryan Edgington have been excommunicated from the programme in favour of guest hosts Lydia Porter and Alessia Arcuri who spoke to Katy Hessel about her new book, 'The Story of Art Without Men'.
Tess Gunty on The Rabbit Hutch
The latest installment of the Hatchards Podcast is a global affair, recorded variously in Los Angeles, Paris, and North London and featuring our guest Tess Gunty, author of the phenomenal debut novel, 'The Rabbit Hutch'.
Geoff Dyer on Death & Bob Dylan
In this episode, we spoke to the inimitable Geoff Dyer, author of books including 'Out of Sheer Rage', 'Zona', 'But Beautiful', 'The Ongoing Moment', and 'Broadsword Calling Danny Boy'.
Edward Chisholm on Waiting in Paris
Dear listener, we strongly recommend that you pour yourself a tall glass of Bordeaux before you listen to the latest episode of The Hatchards Podcast, lest you want to feel like the only sober person in the room. He spoke to us about his experiences in Paris as a young British ex-pat, where his vain hopes of finding gainful employment in the arts or humanities rapidly emptied his bank account. As a consequence, he sought a role as a waiter in an archetypal French Bistrot where any romantic notions he may have held about this profession were quickly shattered within minutes of beginning his first shift. If you think you've got party stories, wait until you hear from Edward Chisholm.
Emma Smith on Burning Books
In this episode, 'This is Shakespeare' author Emma Smith joins us to discuss her latest book, 'Portable Magic,' an iconoclastic new story of the book in human hands, exploring when, why, and how it acquired its particular hold over us.
Ben Hinshaw on Exactly What You Mean
In this episode, we spoke to debut novelist Ben Hinshaw about his new book, 'Exactly What You Mean', a series of 11 interconnected short stories revolving around the island of Guernsey.
Oliver Bullough on Butlers, British Tax Criminals, and Bertie Wooster
What is a butler? In this vital conversation, Bullough poses what is perhaps the most pertinent question facing the nation since the collapse of the empire: if we were to leave the butlering business once and for all, what would our new role be?
Colm Tóibín on Thomas Mann
In this episode, Matt and Ryan were afforded the immense pleasure of speaking to one of the greatest living novelists of our time, Colm Tóibín. Tóibín joined us on the occasion of his latest novel, 'The Magician', being released in paperback.
Philip Oltermann on The Stasi Poetry Circle
In this episode, we're taking listeners back to the Cold War, covering everything from '80s pop culture to perestroika.
Max Porter and James Birch on Francis Bacon
In this episode, we invited author Max Porter ('Lanny,' 'Grief is the Thing With Feathers') and the author and art curator James Birch ('Bacon in Moscow') to discuss the life and works of the famed 20th-century figurative artist.
Caleb Azumah Nelson on Open Water, Southeast London, and Moonlight
On this episode, we were joined via Zoom by the delightful Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of the acclaimed debut novel 'Open Water'. In this conversation, Caleb spoke to us about his unique background, his inspirations, his love of music and photography, and his cultural touchstones like Zadie Smith and the 2016 feature film, Moonlight. He also waxes lyrical about the myriad pleasures of deepest Southeast London, perhaps a city unto itself.
Roger Katz on the Golden Age of Bookselling
In this episode, we spoke to Roger Katz, the former manager of Hatchards, about selling his library of over 500 signed first editions, as well as working in the book trade throughout the 1990s, an era that he dubs the 'Golden Age of Bookselling'.
Natasha Brown on Assembly and Deadpool
On this episode, we were joined by Natasha Brown, author of the breakout debut novel of 2021, Assembly. Brown spoke to us about her journey towards becoming an author and developing a prose style to match the icy, transactional nature of the novel's universe. She provided insights into pitching a debut novel in the publishing world, and how the book's reception has influenced her understanding of its meaning.
The Advent Calendar: Joanna Lumley and Gyles Brandreth
In this special Advent Calendar mini-episode, we were joined by two veritable icons of British entertainment, Joanna Lumley and Gyles Brandreth.
The Advent Calendar: Dominic Sandbrook
In this special Advent Calendar mini-episode, we were joined by Dominic Sandbrook to discuss his new series of Children's History books entitled 'Adventures in Time'.
The Advent Calendar: Henry Eliot
In this special Advent Calendar mini-episode, we were joined by Henry Eliot, author of The Penguin Modern Classics Book, a beautifully detailed history of this iconic collection of modern literature, where names like Woolf and Proust stand alongside rediscovered gems and rarities.
The Advent Calendar: William Sieghart
In this special Advent Calendar mini-episode, we were joined by William Sieghart, author of the bestselling series, The Poetry Pharmacy.
The Advent Calendar: Clare Jackson
In this special Advent Calendar mini-episode, we were joined by Clare Jackson, author of Devil Land, an epic chronicle of England during its bloody 17th century, perhaps the most turbulent time in its history. Jackson spoke to us gleefully about the negative perceptions of England held throughout the world during this period, and whether parallels could be drawn between this country in the 17th century and our current state of affairs today.
The Advent Calendar: Philip Hook
In this special Advent Calendar mini-episode, we were joined by the art historian Philip Hook, who has spent much of his career as an impressionist and modern art expert at Sotheby's.
William Boyd and the Swinging Sixties
In this episode, we were visited by one of Britain's greatest living novelists, William Boyd.
John Cleese on Comedy, Craft, and Creativity
We were delighted to welcome icon of British comedy, John Cleese, as our guest on the inaugural episode of The Hatchards Podcast. He discussed his recent book 'Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide' – a brisk, insightful challenge to the idea that creativity is an inherent trait that cannot be learned or finessed.