This week’s Book Night features the writer and critic Olivia Laing. Between 2007 and 2009, she was Deputy Books Editor of The Observer and now writes and reviews widely for the The Observer, New Statesman, Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian. We discuss the pros and cons of book reviews with Olivia as well as her two brilliant books, To the River, described as ‘sublime’ by The Times, ‘magical’ by the Daily Telegraph and ‘deeply intelligent’ by The Literary Review. It was a book of the year in the Evening Standard, The Independent and Financial Times and shortlisted for the 2012 Ondaatje Prize and Dolman Travel Book of the Year. It charts Olivia’s walk along the River Ouse in Sussex, during which she explores geology, history, relationships and Virginia Woolf. Olivia reads from her second book, The Trip to Echo Spring; Why Writers Drink – an investigation into the liquid links between alcohol and writers, including Tennessee Williams, John Cheever, John Berryman and Raymond Carver. The programme also includes an interview with Susan Sellers, author of Vanessa and Virginia, a novel about the sisters, Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. We also talk to short story writer and senior lecturer Dr. Colette Paul, whose short story collection Whoever you Choose To Love, prompted comparisons with Raymond Carver. A jam-packed programme.
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