LRB Conversations

Various discussions on topics and writers drawn from the pages of the LRB.

End in Sight

Rupert Beale and Thomas Jones, 18 January 2021

8 December 2020 · 33mins

Rupert Beale talks to Thomas Jones about the new Sars-CoV-2 vaccines, how the mRNA technology works, why social distancing still matters, and why he’s worried about Christmas. (The conversation was recorded before the publication of the AstraZeneca/Oxford trial data.)

On Denise Riley

Ange Mlinko and Joanne O’Leary, 18 January 2021

1 December 2020 · 56mins

Ange Mlinko talks to Joanne O’Leary about the work of Denise Riley, following the publication last year of Riley’s Selected Poems: 1976-2016 and her essay Time Lived, without Its Flow. They look in particular at Riley’s celebrated poem ‘A Part Song’, a long elegy for her adult son, Jacob, who died from undiagnosed cardiomyopathy in 2008.

Haiti’s Revolution

Pooja Bhatia and Thomas Jones, 12 January 2021

17 November 2020 · 36mins

Pooja Bhatia talks to Thomas Jones about the Haitian revolution of 1791, the world-historical debut of the movement for Black liberation.

From Fulton to Miami-Dade

Randall Kennedy, Mike Davis and Adam Shatz, 13 January 2021

10 November 2020 · 1hr 05mins

Adam Shatz talks to Randall Kennedy and Mike Davis about the results of the US elections.

‘Little girl, ya neck stinks. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh’

Patricia Lockwood and Joanne O’Leary, 12 January 2021

3 November 2020 · 58mins

Patricia Lockwood talks to Joanne O’Leary about how she became possessed by Vladimir Nabokov, what it’s like to read Lolita as a teenage girl, the diagnostic value of Bend Sinister, and her anxiety about writing after having Covid-19.

Catholics and Lumpen-billionaires

Mike Davis and Adam Shatz, 12 January 2021

27 October 2020 · 1hr 04mins

Adam Shatz talks to Mike Davis about some of the underlying and long-term political shifts at play in next week’s US elections.

‘The categories are stupid’

Alex Abramovich and Thomas Jones, 12 January 2021

21 October 2020 · 47mins

Alex Abramovich talks to Thomas Jones about the history of country from Jimmie Rodgers to Lil Nas X, by way of Dolly Parton (and Eddie Van Halen), and the problems with the labels that get applied to American vernacular music.

Really Hot Hands

David Runciman and Benjamin Markovits, 12 January 2021

13 October 2020 · 42mins

Benjamin Markovits talks to David Runciman about Michael Jordan, home advantage, how basketball has tackled racial inequality, the difference between writing about sport in fiction and non-fiction, and why it turns out that players really are sometimes hot and sometimes not.

Aeschylus’ Ghosts

Emily Wilson and Thomas Jones, 12 January 2021

6 October 2020 · 33mins

Emily Wilson talks to Thomas Jones about three new translations of the Oresteia. They discuss what the texts of the tragedies may tell us about the state of democracy in fifth-century Athens, the difficulties of Aeschylus’ language, why Hamilton may be the best modern analogue to Ancient Greek drama, and how Wilson came to do her own translation of the Odyssey.

No Wave Feminism

Jenny Turner and Joanna Biggs, 12 January 2021

22 September 2020 · 36mins

Jenny Turner talks to Joanna Biggs about the history of the Women’s Liberation Movement, the loneliness of feminist work, and the seemingly unavoidable question: How do you think your life compares to your mother’s? 

400 Million Guns

Deborah Friedell and Thomas Jones, 12 January 2021

15 September 2020 · 27mins

Deborah Friedell talks to Thomas Jones about the origins, and origin myths, of the National Rifle Association, how it spends its money, and why it's wary of winning.


Rupert Beale and Thomas Jones, 12 January 2021

1 September 2020 · 30mins

Rupert Beale talks to Thomas Jones about Covid-19 vaccine candidates, and reasons not to rush them; how worried we should be about reported cases of re-infection; possible reasons for the apparent drop in the infection fatality rate; and the prospects for reopening schools.

The Absurdities of Race

Paul Gilroy and Adam Shatz, 12 January 2021

18 August 2020 · 58mins

Adam Shatz talks to Paul Gilroy about his intellectual background and the recent anti-racist protests in the UK and US.