Literary Friction
Literary Friction
Literary Friction
A monthly conversation about books and ideas on NTS Radio hosted by friends Carrie Plitt, a literary agent, and Octavia Bright, a writer and academic. Each show features an author interview, book recommendations, lively discussion and a little music too, all built around a related theme - anything from the novella to race to masculinity. Listen live on NTS Radio
Literary Friction - Year (and Decade) in Review 2023
It's time for our usual Year in Review show, but seeing as this is also our last EVER episode (sob!), we're shaking things up a little to bring you a bit of a decade in review as well, so we can look back over our highlights from ten wonderful years of Literary Friction. This show is stuffed full of recommendations, including our favourite reads from this year and books we're looking forward to reading in 2024, but also the books we're happiest to have found through the show. So, if you need inspiration for what to get your friends and loved ones this holiday season then listen closely! You can find a list of all the books mentioned at the link below. Thank you to everyone who has helped us make the show over the years, to all the brilliant authors who have chatted with us, and most of all, thank you all so much for listening. Find a list of all recommended books at: Support us on Patreon: Email us:
Dec 18, 2023
1 hr 21 min
Literary Friction - A Life of One's Own with Xialou Guo
What does it mean, to pursue a life of your own? And what is art and literature's role in figuring out what that might look like? This month we're delighted to be talking to writer and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo, whose latest book Radical: A Life of My Own is both a personal lexicon and a memoir, which thinks deeply about what it would mean to truly forge a life of one’s own. As we announced on our last minisode, we’re wrapping up Literary Friction at the end of this year, so this is our last author interview. Xiaolu is a really fitting last guest, because of how she thinks about things like language, translation, freedom and radicality through literature, which are many of the themes we’ve returned to again and again over the last decade of shows. Don’t worry though - this isn’t our final episode! We’ll be bringing you a bumper edition of our year in review in a couple of weeks’ time. Recommendations on the theme, A Life of One's Own: Octavia: The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner Carrie: The Wren, The Wren by Anne Enright General Recommendations: Octavia: Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon Xiaolu: Art Monsters by Lauren Elkin, and Humanly Possible by Sarah Bakewell Carrie: Trust by Hernan Diaz Find a list of all recommended books at: Support us on Patreon: Email us:
Nov 30, 2023
59 min
Minisode Forty-Five: Friendship
Our theme this month was suggested by our patron Maral, who asked us to do an episode about our friendship, because she’s interested in how our (very!) different personalities align. We thought it might be a little self-indulgent to spend a whole episode talking about us specifically, so we’re also going to return to the theme of friendship more broadly, and talk about some of our favourite books about friends. We also make a pretty big announcement on this episode: after ten wonderful years of Literary Friction, our Year in Review show this December will be our last. It feels like the natural end, for reasons we get into, but we are really going to miss you all! And don't worry, there's also a final full show coming between now and our final goodbye.
Nov 16, 2023
47 min
Literary Friction - Desire with K Patrick
How do the people and things we desire shape our identities? And how do you render the physical intensity of desire on the page? Author K Patrick joins us in thinking about desire this month - we spoke to K about their debut novel Mrs. S, which tells the story of a young Australian who arrives at an elite English all-girls boarding school for a job and ends up having a life-changing affair with the headmaster's wife. It's a sensual portrait of queer desire, and the transformative power of lust and longing, which is why we wanted to revisit the theme of desire in this show. So, listen in for all the usual recommendations, our favourite writing about desire, and why desire is crucial to the act of reading itself. Recommendations on the theme, Desire: Octavia: A Lover's Discourse by Roland Barthes Carrie: Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux General Recommendations: Octavia: Intimacies by Katie Kitamura K: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson Carrie: The Bee Sting by Paul Murray Find a list of all recommended books at: Support us on Patreon: Email us: Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction
Nov 2, 2023
59 min
Minisode Forty-four: Parenthood
Last year we made a minisode about mothers, and one about fathers, both of which began an ongoing conversation about parenthood and literature that we wanted to pick up this month. Is fiction a good form for exploring the experience of parenthood? And beyond the ubiquitous parenting manuals, what does non-fiction about parenthood have to offer? Adulthood lasts far longer than childhood, so what about books that look at parent-child relationships in later life? Tune in for this and more, plus all the usual recommendations.
Oct 18, 2023
47 min
Literary Friction - Doppelgangers with Naomi Klein
What is it about doppelgangers that's so endlessly compelling? Who better to answer this question than the one and only Naomi Klein, who joined us to talk about her latest book, Doppelganger. This riveting and intellectually rigorous journey begins with a mix-up: people kept confusing Naomi Klein with another Naomi, author Naomi Wolf (known for The Beauty Myth), who got lost in the world of right wing conspiracies during the pandemic. Klein uses the trajectory of the other Naomi to examine the reflection of this 'mirror world' on the right, where vaccine passports are tools for control and climate change is a hoax. Tune in to listen to our conversation with Naomi, and to a consideration of our own distorted reflections, dark doubles, and what mirror worlds can tell us about ourselves. Recommendations on the theme, Mirror Worlds: Octavia: August Blue by Deborah Levy Carrie: The Likeness by Tana French General Recommendations: Octavia: Alone by Daniel Schreiber Naomi and Carrie : Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver Find a list of all recommended books at: Support us on Patreon: Email us: Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction
Oct 4, 2023
59 min
Minisode Forty-Three: Sad Girl Novels
Our theme this month was suggested by our patron Mary, who asked us to talk about so-called 'sad girl novels', and it turns out we have some strong opinions! So, listen in as we get to grips with what the term 'sad girl' really means - is it just reductive and misogynistic, or is it getting at something? Was Madame Bovary the original literary sad girl? Is it simply a marketing term or has it become problematic trope in publishing? Have we moved on from book covers with women face down in cakes on them? Plus all the usual recommendations.
Sep 20, 2023
46 min
Literary Friction - Short Stories with Arinze Ifeakandu
What makes a brilliant short story? Are they better read as part of a collection or as a sharp shot on their own? How do you render fully formed characters in very few words? We're thrilled that this month, Arinze Ifeakandu joined us to talk about his short story collection Gods Children Are Little Broken Things, a beautiful, artful collection of nine short stories about queer lives and love in Nigeria. One of the great pleasures of reading this book is savouring the art of the short story, but also seeing how they can be built into a cohesive collection, so it felt like the perfect opportunity to revisit the form. Tune in for our interview with Arinze, our thoughts on the short story (including some favourites), plus all the usual recommendations. Recommendations on the theme, Short Stories: Octavia: Colorín Colorado by Camille Bordas Carrie: Blue 4Eva by Saba Sams General Recommendations: Octavia: Valentino by Natalia Ginzburg Arinze: The Sorrows of Others by Ada Zhang, and Oppositions by Mary Gaitskill Carrie: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann Find a list of all recommended books at: Support us on Patreon: Email us: Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction
Sep 7, 2023
1 hr 2 min
RE-RUN: Author Special with Ocean Vuong
We first aired this episode back in July 2019, and it was recorded in the studio when Ocean was on the international tour for his novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. It’s a really rich and beautiful conversation, full of the kind of thoughtful insights Ocean is known for, but also a lightness and optimism that feels right for summer. And we also thought it would coincide nicely with the publication of Ocean’s latest book, a poetry collection called Time is a Mother, which is out now. But we didn't want you to miss out on our summer reading recs, so we've recorded a new intro with lots of inspiration for your holiday reads too. Enjoy! Favourite recent reads: Octavia: Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Michael Hoffman Carrie: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt Looking forward to reading: Octavia: Intimacies by Katie Kitamura; Death Valley by Melissa Broder Carrie: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson Find a list of all recommended books at: Support us on Patreon: Email us: Tweet us & find us on Instagram: @litfriction
Aug 10, 2023
56 min
Minisode Forty-Two: Artificial Intelligence
Are you a techno-optimist or a techno-pessimist? Or even a total Luddite? Does Chat GPT excite you or completely freak you out? Our theme this month was suggested by our patron Elisse, who asked us to talk about Chat GPT in particular. We thought this was a great jumping off point for a bigger conversation about the relationship between art and technology, the moral panic that always accompanies developments in Artificial Intelligence, and our relationship to new technologies in general. Listen for this plus our own dream AI innovations, and all the usual recommendations.
Jul 30, 2023
47 min
Load more