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.

Anti-Vax Sentiments

Rivka Galchen and Thomas Jones, 28 January 2022

25 January 2022 · 33mins

Rivka Galchen talks to Tom about two recent books on the history of vaccine opposition and reluctance, from smallpox to covid, including the role of 'Big Supplement' and the effectiveness of mandates.

11 January 2022 · 1hr 08mins

In the second guest episode from a new podcast series, Myself With Others, host Adam Shatz talks to novelist, memoirist and poet James Lasdun.

4 January 2022 · 1hr 12mins

In the first of three guest episodes from a new podcast, Myself With Others, hosted by Adam Shatz, writer and critic Margo Jefferson talks about her childhood in Chicago, her early experiences in radical theatre at Brandeis University, her relationship to the feminist and Black Power movements, her emergence as a writer, and her battles with melancholia.

The Omicron Wave

John Lanchester, Rupert Beale and Thomas Jones, 22 December 2021

14 December 2021 · 43mins

John Lanchester and Rupert Beale talk to Tom about the spread of the latest variant, where we might stand in the story of Covid, and the failures of the state in coping with the pandemic.

The Guatemalan Coup

Rachel Nolan and Thomas Jones, 22 December 2021

30 November 2021 · 43mins

Rachel Nolan talks to Tom about the overthrow of President Árbenz in Guatemala in 1954, its importance as a model for CIA-backed regime change across Latin America, and a new novel about it by Mario Vargas Llosa.

A History of Revolution

Enzo Traverso and Adam Shatz, 4 January 2022

23 November 2021 · 59mins

Enzo Traverso talks to Adam Shatz about his new book on the history of revolutionary passions, images and ideas, from the rebellion of self-liberated slaves in Haiti in 1791 to Stalin’s top-down authoritarianism.  Are revolutions, as Marx suggested, the ‘locomotives of history’, or, as Walter Benjamin saw it, the emergency brake? And what can modern political movements learn from their revolutionary forebears?

The Last Asylums

Clair Wills and Thomas Jones, 7 December 2021

16 November 2021 · 57mins

Clair Wills talks to Tom about Netherne psychiatric hospital, where her mother and grandparents worked, and which became a national centre for art therapy. Wills asks how asylums such as Netherne – ‘total institutions’ as Erving Goffman described them – became normalised, and considers the role of art in revealing people’s experiences of them. They also discuss Wills’s related piece about the scandal of the Irish Mother and Baby Homes, published in the LRB in May.

Elizabethan True Crime

Charles Nicholl and Thomas Jones, 15 December 2021

2 November 2021 · 49mins

Tom talks to Charles Nicholl about the craze in the 1590s for plays representing recent, real-life murders on the London stage.

On John Craxton

Rosemary Hill and Thomas Jones, 30 November 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, 10 November 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, 20 November 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.