The LRB Podcast

Weekly conversations, and occasional readings, drawn from the pages of the LRB, with hosts Thomas Jones, Adam Shatz and Joanne O'Leary, and including the ongoing 'Close Readings' series. Produced by Anthony Wilks.

On John Craxton

Rosemary Hill and Thomas Jones, 19 October 2021

19 October 2021 · 29mins

Rosemary Hill talks to Thomas Jones about the painter John Craxton: why he wasn’t a romantic, why he wasn’t interested in being famous, and his relationship with Lucian Freud, who very much was.

On Christopher Ricks

Colin Burrow and Thomas Jones, 19 October 2021

5 October 2021 · 00 seconds

Tom talks to Colin Burrow about a new book by Christopher Ricks, regarded by some as the greatest living literary critic. They also look back at his previous studies of, among others, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot and Bob Dylan, and consider the rewards and limitations of the Ricks critical method, characterised by close verbal analysis and a tendency to treat all texts equally.

The Peter Thiel Paradox

David Runciman and Thomas Jones, 18 October 2021

21 September 2021 · 39mins

David Runciman talks to Thomas Jones about Silicon Valley’s best known investor-provocateur, his prescience, his mistakes, and why, despite his ultra-libertarian ideology, he owes so much to the state.

'Swish! Swish! Swish!'

Patrick Leigh Fermor and Dominic West, 4 October 2021

14 September 2021 · 20mins

Dominic West reads Patrick Leigh Fermor's piece about the olive harvest on the Mani peninsula.


Daniel Soar and Thomas Jones, 21 September 2021

7 September 2021 · 38mins

Daniel Soar talks to Thomas Jones about the sixth taste, variously translated as ‘mouthfulness’, ‘thickness’  and ‘lingeringness’, apparently discovered by the Japanese company Ajinomoto, and its origins in the twisty and opaque story of MSG in North America.

What Just Happened?

David Trotter and Joanne O’Leary, 20 September 2021

10 August 2021 · 44mins

David Trotter talks to Joanne O’Leary about the novels and stories of Elizabeth Bowen, from her weird families and idiosyncrasies of style, to her mastery of atmospherics and prescient use of technology to shape her characters.

The Most Interesting Place in the World

Stephen Frears and Andrew O’Hagan, 20 September 2021

3 August 2021 · 33mins

Stephen Frears talks to Andrew O’Hagan about making movies in America, to mark the publication of a new collection of LRB essays on Hollywood. He describes being protected by Scorsese, learning from Billy Wilder, and why films often had budgets of $39 million.

Running, Diving, Bleeding

John Lanchester and Thomas Jones, 8 September 2021

27 July 2021 · 34mins

John Lanchester talks to Thomas Jones about ‘visible’ cheating in sport, that is, the kind which is against the rules but within the ethos of the game, from diving in football to bodyline bowling in cricket.

Seized Up

Pooja Bhatia and Thomas Jones, 10 August 2021

20 July 2021 · 30mins

Pooja Bhatia talks to Thomas Jones about the assassination of President Moïse in Haiti, the recent history of US involvement in the country, and the difference between elections and democracy.

Two Utopias

James Meek and Thomas Jones, 15 September 2021

13 July 2021 · 53mins

James Meek talks to Thomas Jones about the connected fates of two wind tower factories, one in Scotland, the other in Vietnam, and asks why the determination to achieve a green future isn’t matched by a determination to ensure fair wages and good conditions for the workers who will make it possible.

Ultimate Outsider

Toril Moi and Joanna Biggs, 4 August 2021

6 July 2021 · 52mins

Toril Moi talks to Joanna Biggs about the French philosopher Simone Weil, whose short and uncompromising life became a workshop for her revolutionary ideas about labour, human suffering and the power of paying attention. 

Ethel and Julius

Deborah Friedell and Thomas Jones, 26 July 2021

29 June 2021 · 45mins

Deborah Friedell talks to Thomas Jones about the Rosenbergs, from their early years on the Lower East Side of New York to their execution for conspiracy to commit espionage in 1953, and the significance of their trial in American public life, not least as a platform for Donald Trump’s future lawyer, Roy Cohn.

On the Irish Border

Niamh Gallagher and Thomas Jones, 8 July 2021

22 June 2021 · 59mins

Niamh Gallagher talks to Thomas Jones about the history of the Irish border, from its origins in the 1920s to today, the way it has shaped Irish politics in both the south and north, and why the Troubles can’t be repeated.

Muhammad, Cervantes and the Algarve

Tariq Ali and Thomas Jones, 2 July 2021

15 June 2021 · 47mins

Tariq Ali talks to Thomas Jones about a newly reissued biography of the Prophet by Maxime Rodinson, and the historic prevalence of Arabic culture in the West, from Don Quixote to Trafalgar Square.

Collapsing Time

Art Spiegelman and Thomas Jones, 23 June 2021

8 June 2021 · 57mins

Legendary cartoonist Art Spiegelman talks to Thomas Jones about his latest book, Street Cop, a collaboration with Robert Coover, and looks back on previous work including Maus and In the Shadow of No Towers, which was originally published in the LRB.