Curtain Call: In Case of Emergency

Written by Charles Arrowsmith

Posted on April 25, 2014

Filed Under: Blog


A state of emergency is declared. You fly tonight. What do you take with you? Clothes? Thermos? Hatchet? Naaah: books, of course. Fortunately you know of a safehouse nearby. A safehouse by the name of SpeakEasy. That’s right, comrades, there’s a Seriously Entertaining way out of this crisis. Between our six guests next week, we have everything you need to survive In Case of Emergency. Don’t have your ticket yet? Fear not, there’s still a few left here. Your checklist:

1. Amor Towles. Author of the marvellous Manhattan merry-go-round Rules of Civility, which we reviewed a few weeks back, and its ebook follow-up Eve in Hollywood. Here’s Towles talking about the great American photographer Walker Evans and the genesis of his debut novel:

2. Evie Wyld‘s new book, All the Birds, Singing, was just published in the US. When it came out in the UK last year, the Guardian said that it “should enhance her reputation as one of our most gifted novelists”. We took a look at her debut, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, earlier this week. In this clip, Wyld reads the opening to All the Birds, Singing:

3. J.D. McClatchy‘s new collection Plundered Hearts just came out to ecstatic reviews — the LA Times called it a “landmark collection”. We took a look at his poetry last week but he’s well known in musical circles too. McClatchy’s operatic work ranges from Mozart to… Stephen King. Check out these highlights from the opera of King’s Dolores Claiborne, which McClatchy wrote the libretto for:

4. Maggie Shipstead. Like Wyld and McClatchy, Shipstead has a new book out at the moment, Astonish Me, which is set in the ballet world. Her first novel, the witty social comedy Seating Arrangements (2012), won the Dylan Thomas Prize and LA Times Book Prize for First Fiction. Here she is talking about her influences and research methods:

5. Daniel BergnerSalon wrote of What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire (Bergner‘s latest): “This book should be read by every woman on earth”. Every man too, probably, if we’re honest. In this TEDxEAST talk, he debunks some of the many cultural myths that surround female desire:

6. Leonard Lopate. The host of this month’s edition of our literary quiz, The Tip of My Tongue, Lopate is best known for his daily talk show, which has run for the best part of three decades on WNYC. Here he is in conversation with Christopher Hitchens about Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher and the joys of drinking:

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