LRB Conversations

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

Catholics and Lumpen-billionaires

Mike Davis and Adam Shatz, 30 October 2020

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, 30 October 2020

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, 30 October 2020

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, 27 October 2020

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, 28 October 2020

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, 27 October 2020

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, 27 October 2020

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, 30 October 2020

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.

Early and Late Kermode

Stefan Collini, Mary-Kay Wilmers, Thomas Jones and Andrew O’Hagan, 27 October 2020

11 August 2020 · 46mins

Stefan Collini talks to Thomas Jones about the life and work of Frank Kermode, and Mary-Kay Wilmers remembers him as a contributor to the LRB.

Press the Red Button

William Davies and Thomas Jones, 27 October 2020

28 July 2020 · 52mins

William Davies talks to Thomas Jones about the new political polarisation, and what it owes to the online culture of instant feedback. What does politics look like, Davies asks, once the provocation of reaction, positive or negative, precedes the slow work of excavation, research, reporting and administration?

States of Shock

Pankaj Mishra and Adam Shatz, 27 October 2020

21 July 2020 · 51mins

Pankaj Mishra talks to Adam Shatz about his latest piece for the LRB, which looks at the ways the US and UK have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests, and what those botched responses reveal about the broader failures of Anglo-America.

Everyone misplaces my keys

Amia Srinivasan and Thomas Jones, 27 October 2020

7 July 2020 · 31mins

Amia Srinivasan talks to Thomas Jones about the long search for a third person singular, gender-neutral pronoun, and the resurgence of the pronoun debate in recent years.

How do you change things?

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Adam Shatz, 29 October 2020

30 June 2020 · 57mins

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor talks to Adam Shatz about the intellectual and historical background to the Black Lives Matter movement, and why she’s optimistic that the current protests might bring change.

Maigret Returns

John Lanchester and Thomas Jones, 27 October 2020

2 June 2020 · 37mins

John Lanchester talks to Thomas Jones about the author of the Maigret stories, whose output was so prodigious that even he didn't know how many books he wrote.