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The year in Virago podcasts – from Joan Aiken to Margaret Atwood

This year we started the Virago podcast, inviting some of our brilliant authors and friends of Virago to come in and read to us, debate with us, and discuss everything from feminism to erotic teddy bears (have a listen to Margaret Atwood’s interview for that one).

Thanks to all the brilliant guests we’ve had this year, and to you Virago readers for listening. If you missed them on Soundcloud first time round, never fear – you can listen to all of our 2016 podcast episodes below.

Finally, we want to hear from you to help plan our podcasts for 2017. Which Viragos would you love to hear from in the new year? Let us know via Twitter or Facebook!


For our first podcast, we were so lucky to have Lizza Aiken, Joan Aiken’s daughter, come in to talk to us about her mother’s life and incredible body of work. Listen here for readings from two stories from The Serial Garden, which bookend a fascinating Q&A between Lizza Aiken and Donna Coonan, Editorial Director of Virago Modern Classics.


Our second podcast features lively feminist debate with the brilliant Hajar Wright, Isabel Adomakoh Young and Bertie Brandes, essayists from I Call Myself A Feminist: The View from Twenty-Five Women Under Thirty. Why do we still need feminism? Why is it a dirty word? Or is feminism dead? Find out here from some of the brightest, funniest young feminists around.


In podcast #3, Lisa Appignanesi discusses her book Trials of Passion, an examination of crimes in the name of love and madness. In conversation with Virago Publisher, Lennie Goodings.


The fourth Virago podcast features Jane Miller, author of In My Own Time. For the past four years Jane Miller has been writing a column for an American magazine called In These Times. Her beautifully observed pieces about life, politics and Britain open a window to her American readers of a world very different from their own.

In My Own Time is a celebration of the new connections possible in the modern world, and a collection of small windows on these last four years, at home and abroad. Through her emails across the Atlantic – warm and thoughtful, witty and sharp – Miller gives us an 84 Charing Cross Road for the twenty-first century.


Podcast #5 features Elena Lappin, author of What Language Do I Dream In? Elena now lives in London, but she was born in Russia and has lived in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Israel, Canada, and the United States. As a multiple émigré, her decision to write in English was the unexpected result of many wanderings, and this memoir tells the story of finding a voice in a language that is not one’s own.

Here we have Elena in conversation with Virago Publisher Lennie Goodings, where she discusses not only English as a ‘home in exile’, but the extraordinary discovery, in middle age, which compelled her to tell her story: that the man who raised her was not her biological father.


I WAS BORN, SEPTEMBER 1985, IN THE VORTEX OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE OF NEW YORK: THERE WERE FEW RULES OF LIFE AND ZERO CONSTRAINTS ON BEHAVIOUR.
IF YOU WERE NOT ECCENTRIC, YOU WERE WEIRD.

Our sixth podcast features the amazingly talented iO Tillett Wright discussing Darling Days – a New York memoir of an unfettered childhood.


Our final podcast of the year was a very special one . . .

Welcome to the outrageous imagination of one of the greatest writers in the English language, who hasn’t stopped surprising us yet: Margaret Atwood.
Here she is speaking to Virago Publisher, Lennie Goodings, about The Heart Goes Last.