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Verso Podcast

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Podcasts, readings, lectures and events: big ideas and radical discussion from authors and collaborators with Verso Books

Read more

Podcasts, readings, lectures and events: big ideas and radical discussion from authors and collaborators with Verso Books

iTunes Ratings

44 Ratings
Average Ratings
39
1
1
1
2

iTunes Ratings

44 Ratings
Average Ratings
39
1
1
1
2
Cover image of Verso Podcast

Verso Podcast

Latest release on Jul 08, 2019

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Podcasts, readings, lectures and events: big ideas and radical discussion from authors and collaborators with Verso Books

Rank #1: The Storyteller: Walter Benjamin

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The Storyteller: Tales out of Loneliness gathers for the first time the fiction of Walter Benjamin, edited and translated by Sam Dolbear, Esther Leslie and Sebastian Truskolaski. His stories revel in the erotic tensions of city life, cross the threshold of dreamworlds, celebrate the ludic, and delve into fortune-telling. Taken together, the novellas, fables, histories, aphorisms, parables and riddles in this collection illuminate the themes that defined Benjamin’s work.

In the latest Verso podcast in collaboration with the London Review Bookshop, Esther Leslie, Marina Warner and Michael Rosen join Gareth Evans to discuss his experimentation with form and the themes that run throughout Benjamin’s creative and critical writing, his concepts of storytelling, pedagogy, and the communicability of experience.

To read the editors' introduction to The Storyteller & to WIN FREE BOOKS, visit the Verso blog: http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2675-walter-benjamin-the-storyteller-the-verso-podcast-in-collaboration-with-the-london-review-bookshop

Reading: Flossie Draper

Jun 07 2016

58mins

Play

Rank #2: The Ontological is Political: Timothy Morton in conversation with Verso Books

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Timothy Morton discusses the political idea of the collective, subscendence, solidarity, fighting Nazis, and lots more. Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People, by Timothy Morton, is out now.

Sep 27 2017

1hr 14mins

Play

Rank #3: John Berger at 90

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John Berger has revolutionised our understanding of art, language, media, society, politics and everyday experience itself since his landmark book and TV series Ways of Seeing over forty years ago.

As the internationally influential critic, novelist, film-maker, dramatist and, above all, storyteller enters his ninetieth year, the latest Verso podcast in collaboration with the London Review Bookshop celebrates his life and work.

Gareth Evans is joined by Tom Overton, editor of Landscapes: John Berger on Art, Yasmin Gunaratnam, editor of A Jar of Wild Flowers, and Mike Dibb, film-maker and director of Ways of Seeing, to explore Berger's art and politics, the evolution of his own way of seeing, and its enduring relevance.

Several books are being published this autumn in tribute to Berger, who is Author of the Month at the London Review Bookshop:
- Landscapes: John Berger on Art edited by Tom Overton (Verso), a companion volume to Portraits: John Berger on Artists
- A Jar of Wild Flowers edited by Yasmin Gunaratnam with Amarjit Chandan (Zed) collects essays by writers including Ali Smith, Sally Potter, Ram Rahman, Hsiao-Hung Pai and others
- Confabulations (Penguin), through Berger's drawings, notes, memories and reflections explores language
- John Berger: Collected Poems (Smokestack)collects Berger's poetry in English for the first time
- The Long White Thread of Words: Poems for John Berger (Smokestack), edited by Amarjit Chandan, Yasmin Gunaratnam and Gareth Evans
- Lapwing & Fox (Collectif), a series of conversations in correspondence sent between Berger and his friend, artist and film-maker John Christie.

Oct 31 2016

1hr 18mins

Play

Rank #4: Against Everything: Mark Greif and Brian Dillon in conversation

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From the tyranny of exercise to the crisis of policing, via the sexualization of childhood (and everything else), Mark Greif’s Against Everything is an essential guide to the vicissitudes of everyday life under twenty-first-century capitalism and a vital scrutiny of the contradictions arising between our desires and the excuses we make.

In a wide-ranging conversation for the latest Verso podcast in collaboration with the London Review Bookshop, Mark Greif and Brian Dillon discuss modes of critique and cultural forms, and the role of the intellectual in stripping away the veil of everyday life.

Against Everything: On Dishonest Times by Mark Greif is available now: https://www.versobooks.com/books/2256-against-everything

Mark Greif is a founder and editor of n+1 magazine.

Brian Dillon is a writer and critic. He is UK editor of Cabinet magazine, and teaches critical writing at the Royal College of Art.

Oct 11 2016

51mins

Play

Rank #5: Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change by Ashley Dawson

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A conversation with writer and professor Ashley Dawson on his latest book, Extreme Cities. Here, he presents a disturbing survey of the necessarily ecological history of global urbanization and industrialization, as well as the unstable futures they are producing.

As much a harrowing study as a call to arms Extreme Cities is a necessary read for anyone concerned with the threat of global warming, and of the cities of the world. The book is available for sale at Verso Books: https://www.versobooks.com/books/2558-extreme-cities

Nov 07 2017

45mins

Play

Rank #6: Futurability: Franco “Bifo” Berardi on the Verso Podcast

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Franco “Bifo” Berardi discusses his new book, Futurability, with editor Federico Campagna.

Renowned Italian Marxist theorist and activist “Bifo” Berardi talks about political impotence, the tool of humiliation and the victory of Donald Trump, his experience coming of age in '68, and why we are drawn to the concept of populism in the current political moment.

Stuck between global war and global finance, between identity and capital, we seem incapable of producing the radical change that is so desperately needed. Meanwhile the struggle for dominance over the world is a battlefield with only two protagonists: the forces of neoliberalism on one side, and the new order led by the likes of Trump and Putin on the other.

How can we imagine a new emancipatory vision, capable of challenging the deadlock of the present? Is there still a way to disentangle ourselves from a global order that shapes our politics as well as our imagination?

Overcoming the temptation to give in to despair or nostalgia, Berardi proposes the notion of ‘futurability’ as a way to remind us that even within the darkness of our current crisis a better world lies dormant.

Jul 12 2017

57mins

Play

Rank #7: Who really killed Osama bin Laden? Seymour Hersh chats to Christian Lorentzen

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In 2011, an elite group of US Navy Seals stormed an enclosure in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden. The news did much to boost President Obama's first term and played a major part in his re-election victory the following year. Four years on, Seymour Hersh published a controversial series of essays in the London Review of Books, arguing that the story of that night, was incomplete, or worse, a lie. How realistic is it that Pakistani authorities didn't know bin Laden was living in a compound next to a military academy or have any knowledge of the US military operation?

In his book, The Killing of Osama bin Laden, Seymour Hersh presents an electrifying investigation of White House lies about the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

In this podcast he discusses the case with his editor at the London Review of Books, Christian Lorentzen.

May 11 2016

43mins

Play

Rank #8: SCUM Manifesto Revisited: Juliet Jacques, Ray Filar and Sophie Mayer

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Originally published in 1967, Valerie Solanas' incendiary SCUM Manifesto called for a Society for Cutting Up Men and declared war on capitalism and patriarchy.

Today, the controversial tract has a complex relationship with contemporary landscapes of feminism and gender politics. Juliet Jacques and Ray Filar join Sophie Mayer to discuss the treatise from critical and contemporary perspectives. Taking a historical view on its problematic elements, they discuss the violence and gender essentialism of the text, as well as Solanas' visions of work and automation and why the text still thrills today.

Juliet Jacques is the author of Trans: A Memoir and a phd student in Creative and Critical Writing at University of Sussex.

Ray Filar is a writer, editor and performance artist. They tweet @RayFilar.

Sophie Mayer is author of Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema, poet and a member of queer feminist curators Club des Femmes. She tweets @tr0ublemayer.

SCUM Manifesto voice: Sam McBean, academic and feminist and queer critic. She tweets @s_mcbean

May 23 2016

41mins

Play

Rank #9: Frédéric Lordon & Cédric Durand: Internationalism and Democracy after the Eurozone Crisis

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The NYU Department of Sociology Presents: "Internationalism and Democracy after the Eurozone Crisis" Monday, January 30thSince 2008, Europe has been mired in an institutional and political crisis that shows no signs of abating. If the 2008 financial meltdown shook the Eurozone to its foundations, the combination of austerity and the uneven recovery of member-states in its wake has once again brought questions of sovereignty and democracy to the fore. The consequence has been a series of escalating conflicts over Europe's future, exemplified by the tensions that surrounded the imposition of drastic austerity measures on the populations of Greece, Italy, and Spain, and by last summer's "Brexit" vote in the UK. Meanwhile, in many countries, growing hostility to the EU has fueled the rise of xenophobic and Euroskeptic forces on the far right, as parties like the French National Front have managed to gain traction with nationalist appeals that stress opposition to global financial elites, immigrants, and Islam.
In this context, debates over the trajectory of economic and political governance in Europe have taken on a new urgency. This event features of France's leading left-wing social scientists and "public intellectuals" discussing the roots of the present crisis, the response of the social movements, and the implications for democratic politics. Using the experience of post-2008 mobilizations against austerity across Europe - and last spring's Nuit Debout protests in France in particular - they ask what a viable left strategy for dealing with the crisis might look like. To what extent are internationalism and democracy still compatible in the era of European integration? And what does the crisis signify about the future of the national state, at a time when the growing salience of exclusionary nationalism has spurred a steady rise in support for the far right?
Speaker Bios:
Frédéric Lordon is an economist and philosopher. He is Director of Research at France's National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a researcher at the Center for European Sociology (CSE). He is the author of several books, including, most recently, Willing Slaves of Capital: Spinoza and Marx on Desire (2014), La Malfaçon: Monnaie Européenne et Souveraineté Démocratique (2014), and Imperium - Structures et Affects des Corps Politique (2015). Last year, Lordon was a prominent figure associated with France's Nuit Debout protest movement. He writes a regular column on European politics and the Eurozone crisis for Le Monde Diplomatique.
Cédric Durand is an associate professor of economics at the University of Paris 13, a member of the Center for Economy at Paris-Nord, and a researcher with the Center for the Study of Industrialization (CEMI-EHESS). He is on the editorial board of the journal Revue d'Économie Industrielle and the online magazine ContreTemps. He is author of the forthcoming book Fictitious Capital: How Finance is Appropriating Our Future (Verso 2017). English translations of several of his recent writings are available at the Verso Books website, https://www.versobooks.com/authors/2178-cedric-durand

Mar 09 2017

1hr 26mins

Play

Rank #10: The Storyteller: Fiction & Form—Howard Caygill, Sara Salih and Matthew Charles join the editors

Podcast cover
Read more
The Storyteller (Verso, 2016) gathers the fiction of the legendary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin, best known for his groundbreaking studies of culture and literature, including Illuminations, One-Way Street and The Arcades Project. His stories revel in the erotic tensions of city life, cross the threshold between rational and hallucinatory realms, celebrate the importance of games, and delve into the peculiar relationship between gambling and fortune-telling, and explore the themes that defined Benjamin. The novellas, fables, histories, aphorisms, parables and riddles in this collection are brought to life by the playful imagery of the modernist artist and Bauhaus figure Paul Klee.

Howard Caygill Professor Of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University and author of the forthcoming Kafka: In the Light of the Accident (Bloomsbury, 2017), Sara Salih, Professor of English at the University of Toronto, and Matthew Charles, Lecturer in English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster, join The Storyteller’s editors and translators, Sam Dolbear, Esther Leslie and Sebastian Truskolaski, for a special event to launch Walter Benjamin’s fiction collected in English translation for the first time.

Sep 26 2016

1hr 33mins

Play

The Socialist Manifesto: Bhaskar Sunkara in conversation with Dawn Foster

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In the current race to be Democratic presidential candidate, a socialist is in second place. Meanwhile, in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn’s left-led Labour Party has revived a political idea many had thought dead. But what, exactly, is socialism? And what would a socialist system look like today?

Bhaskar Sunkara is joined by journalist and author Dawn Foster to examine the key ideas behind his new book, The Socialist Manifesto.

In The Socialist Manifesto, Bhaskar Sunkara, editor of Jacobin magazine, argues that socialism offers the means to achieve economic equality, and also to fight other forms of oppression, including racism and sexism. The ultimate goal is not Soviet-style planning, but to win rights to healthcare, education, and housing and to create new democratic institutions in workplaces and communities. The book both explores socialism’s history and presents a realistic vision for its future. A primer on socialism for the twenty-first century, this is a book for anyone seeking an end to the vast inequities of our age.

This is a recording of an event at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, on the 30th of May 2019.

Jul 08 2019

1hr 8mins

Play

Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights

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Juno Mac and Molly Smith in conversation with Frankie Mullin about how the law harms sex workers—and what they want instead

Do you have to think that prostitution is good to support sex worker rights? How do sex worker rights fit with feminist and anti-capitalist politics? Is criminalising clients progressive—and can the police deliver justice?

In Revolting Prostitutes, sex workers Juno Mac and Molly Smith bring a fresh perspective to questions that have long been contentious. Speaking from a growing global sex worker rights movement, and situating their argument firmly within wider questions of migration, work, feminism, and resistance to white supremacy, they make clear that anyone committed to working towards justice and freedom should be in support of the sex worker rights movement.

Nov 27 2018

58mins

Play

New Dark Age: James Bridle and Ben Vickers on Technology and the End of the Future

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What is technology trying to tell us in an emergency? James Bridle, in conversation with Serpentine Galleries CTO Ben Vickers, discusses 'New Dark Age' and the dark clouds that gather over our dreams of the digital sublime.

As the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes. What is needed is not new technology, but new metaphors: a metalanguage for describing the world that complex systems have wrought. We don’t and cannot understand everything, but we are capable of thinking it. Technology can help us in this thinking: computers are not here to give us answers, but are tools for asking questions. Understanding a technology deeply and systemically allows us to remake metaphors in the service of other ways of thinking – without claiming, or even seeking to fully understand – and to ask the right questions to guide us through this new dark age.

The discussion, presented in collaboration with Serpentine Galleries and the Goethe-Institut, also featured a performance by artist and writer Erica Scourti and a screening of We Help Each Other Grow (2017) by They Are Here, a collaborative practice steered by Helen Walker and Harun Morrison.

Jul 16 2018

1hr 14mins

Play

Tariq Ali discusses May '68 on BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking, February 2018

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1968 was one of the most seismic years in recent history -- Vietnam, the Prague spring, Black Power at the Olympics and protests on the streets of Paris and London. This interview is part commemoration, part reassessment. What remains of that turbulent time and where can we discern its features in our political landscape today?

Mar 23 2018

53mins

Play

Anna Feigenbaum Discusses Tear Gas at Wooden Shoe Books

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Discussion with author Anna Feigenbaum about Tear Gas, which tells the story of how a chemical weapon went from the battlefield to the streets.

Feb 14 2018

1hr 5mins

Play

Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change by Ashley Dawson

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A conversation with writer and professor Ashley Dawson on his latest book, Extreme Cities. Here, he presents a disturbing survey of the necessarily ecological history of global urbanization and industrialization, as well as the unstable futures they are producing.

As much a harrowing study as a call to arms Extreme Cities is a necessary read for anyone concerned with the threat of global warming, and of the cities of the world. The book is available for sale at Verso Books: https://www.versobooks.com/books/2558-extreme-cities

Nov 07 2017

45mins

Play

The End Of Policing: A conversation with Alex Vitale

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Among activists, journalists, and politicians, the conversation about how to respond to and improve policing has focused on accountability, diversity, training, and community relations.

Policing is an institution whose primary function is the creation and reproduction of massive inequalities. In "The End of Policing," Alex Vitale reveals the tainted origins of modern policing as a tool of social control.

The expansion of police authority is inconsistent with community empowerment, social justice—even public safety. Law enforcement has come to exacerbate the very problems it is supposed to solve. The best solution to bad policing may be an end to policing.

The End of Policing is 40% off until Sunday, October 15 at 11:59PM PST (US only): https://www.versobooks.com/books/2426-the-end-of-policing

Oct 12 2017

45mins

Play

The Ontological is Political: Timothy Morton in conversation with Verso Books

Podcast cover
Read more
Timothy Morton discusses the political idea of the collective, subscendence, solidarity, fighting Nazis, and lots more. Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People, by Timothy Morton, is out now.

Sep 27 2017

1hr 14mins

Play

Interview with Antony Loewenstein, author of Disaster Capitalism

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In this episode of the Verso podcast, journalist Antony Loewenstein discusses his book, Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe.

Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies cash in on
or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity.

Antony Loewenstein is an independent Australian journalist, documentary maker and blogger who has written for the BBC, the Nation and the Washington Post. He’s a weekly Guardian columnist and the author of three best-selling books, My Israel Question, The Blogging Revolution and Profits of Doom: How Vulture Capitalism is Swallowing the World. He is co-editor of After Zionism and Left Turn and co-writer of For God’s Sake.

His website can be found at antonyloewenstein.com and Twitter: @antloewenstein.

Aug 14 2017

1hr 8mins

Play

Futurability: Franco “Bifo” Berardi on the Verso Podcast

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Franco “Bifo” Berardi discusses his new book, Futurability, with editor Federico Campagna.

Renowned Italian Marxist theorist and activist “Bifo” Berardi talks about political impotence, the tool of humiliation and the victory of Donald Trump, his experience coming of age in '68, and why we are drawn to the concept of populism in the current political moment.

Stuck between global war and global finance, between identity and capital, we seem incapable of producing the radical change that is so desperately needed. Meanwhile the struggle for dominance over the world is a battlefield with only two protagonists: the forces of neoliberalism on one side, and the new order led by the likes of Trump and Putin on the other.

How can we imagine a new emancipatory vision, capable of challenging the deadlock of the present? Is there still a way to disentangle ourselves from a global order that shapes our politics as well as our imagination?

Overcoming the temptation to give in to despair or nostalgia, Berardi proposes the notion of ‘futurability’ as a way to remind us that even within the darkness of our current crisis a better world lies dormant.

Jul 12 2017

57mins

Play

Frédéric Lordon & Cédric Durand: Internationalism and Democracy after the Eurozone Crisis

Podcast cover
Read more
The NYU Department of Sociology Presents: "Internationalism and Democracy after the Eurozone Crisis" Monday, January 30thSince 2008, Europe has been mired in an institutional and political crisis that shows no signs of abating. If the 2008 financial meltdown shook the Eurozone to its foundations, the combination of austerity and the uneven recovery of member-states in its wake has once again brought questions of sovereignty and democracy to the fore. The consequence has been a series of escalating conflicts over Europe's future, exemplified by the tensions that surrounded the imposition of drastic austerity measures on the populations of Greece, Italy, and Spain, and by last summer's "Brexit" vote in the UK. Meanwhile, in many countries, growing hostility to the EU has fueled the rise of xenophobic and Euroskeptic forces on the far right, as parties like the French National Front have managed to gain traction with nationalist appeals that stress opposition to global financial elites, immigrants, and Islam.
In this context, debates over the trajectory of economic and political governance in Europe have taken on a new urgency. This event features of France's leading left-wing social scientists and "public intellectuals" discussing the roots of the present crisis, the response of the social movements, and the implications for democratic politics. Using the experience of post-2008 mobilizations against austerity across Europe - and last spring's Nuit Debout protests in France in particular - they ask what a viable left strategy for dealing with the crisis might look like. To what extent are internationalism and democracy still compatible in the era of European integration? And what does the crisis signify about the future of the national state, at a time when the growing salience of exclusionary nationalism has spurred a steady rise in support for the far right?
Speaker Bios:
Frédéric Lordon is an economist and philosopher. He is Director of Research at France's National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a researcher at the Center for European Sociology (CSE). He is the author of several books, including, most recently, Willing Slaves of Capital: Spinoza and Marx on Desire (2014), La Malfaçon: Monnaie Européenne et Souveraineté Démocratique (2014), and Imperium - Structures et Affects des Corps Politique (2015). Last year, Lordon was a prominent figure associated with France's Nuit Debout protest movement. He writes a regular column on European politics and the Eurozone crisis for Le Monde Diplomatique.
Cédric Durand is an associate professor of economics at the University of Paris 13, a member of the Center for Economy at Paris-Nord, and a researcher with the Center for the Study of Industrialization (CEMI-EHESS). He is on the editorial board of the journal Revue d'Économie Industrielle and the online magazine ContreTemps. He is author of the forthcoming book Fictitious Capital: How Finance is Appropriating Our Future (Verso 2017). English translations of several of his recent writings are available at the Verso Books website, https://www.versobooks.com/authors/2178-cedric-durand

Mar 09 2017

1hr 26mins

Play

Juliet Jacques and Nina Power in conversation

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In July 2012, aged thirty, Juliet Jacques underwent sex reassignment surgery—a process she chronicled with unflinching honesty in a Guardian column. Trans, her critically acclaimed memoir, tells us of her life to the present moment: a story of transition and becoming herself through the cruxes of writing, art and identity.

Join Juliet Jacques and Nina Power, philosopher, critic and feminist, in conversation at Foyles about Trans, the rapidly changing world of gender politics, self-definition and narrating life.

"I believe that there are as many gender identities as there are people; all unique, all constantly being explored in conscious and unconscious ways"—Juliet Jacques

Nov 03 2016

56mins

Play

John Berger at 90

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John Berger has revolutionised our understanding of art, language, media, society, politics and everyday experience itself since his landmark book and TV series Ways of Seeing over forty years ago.

As the internationally influential critic, novelist, film-maker, dramatist and, above all, storyteller enters his ninetieth year, the latest Verso podcast in collaboration with the London Review Bookshop celebrates his life and work.

Gareth Evans is joined by Tom Overton, editor of Landscapes: John Berger on Art, Yasmin Gunaratnam, editor of A Jar of Wild Flowers, and Mike Dibb, film-maker and director of Ways of Seeing, to explore Berger's art and politics, the evolution of his own way of seeing, and its enduring relevance.

Several books are being published this autumn in tribute to Berger, who is Author of the Month at the London Review Bookshop:
- Landscapes: John Berger on Art edited by Tom Overton (Verso), a companion volume to Portraits: John Berger on Artists
- A Jar of Wild Flowers edited by Yasmin Gunaratnam with Amarjit Chandan (Zed) collects essays by writers including Ali Smith, Sally Potter, Ram Rahman, Hsiao-Hung Pai and others
- Confabulations (Penguin), through Berger's drawings, notes, memories and reflections explores language
- John Berger: Collected Poems (Smokestack)collects Berger's poetry in English for the first time
- The Long White Thread of Words: Poems for John Berger (Smokestack), edited by Amarjit Chandan, Yasmin Gunaratnam and Gareth Evans
- Lapwing & Fox (Collectif), a series of conversations in correspondence sent between Berger and his friend, artist and film-maker John Christie.

Oct 31 2016

1hr 18mins

Play

The Leveller Revolution - John Rees on the Jeremy Vine Show

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The Levellers, revolutionaries that grew out of the explosive tumult of the 1640s and the battlefields of the Civil War, are central figures in the history of democracy. In this thrilling narrative, John Rees brings to life the men—including John Lilburne, Richard Overton, Thomas Rainsborough—and women who ensured victory at war, and brought England to the edge of radical republicanism.

From the raucous streets of London and the clattering printers’ workshops that stoked the uprising, to the rank and file of the New Model Army and the furious Putney debates where the levellers argued with Oliver Cromwell for the future of English democracy, this story reasserts the revolutionary nature of the 1642–48 wars, and the role of ordinary people in this pivotal moment in history.

The legacy of the Levellers can be seen in the modern struggles for freedom and democracy across the world.

https://www.versobooks.com/books/2129-the-leveller-revolution

Oct 25 2016

13mins

Play

Against Everything: Mark Greif and Brian Dillon in conversation

Podcast cover
Read more
From the tyranny of exercise to the crisis of policing, via the sexualization of childhood (and everything else), Mark Greif’s Against Everything is an essential guide to the vicissitudes of everyday life under twenty-first-century capitalism and a vital scrutiny of the contradictions arising between our desires and the excuses we make.

In a wide-ranging conversation for the latest Verso podcast in collaboration with the London Review Bookshop, Mark Greif and Brian Dillon discuss modes of critique and cultural forms, and the role of the intellectual in stripping away the veil of everyday life.

Against Everything: On Dishonest Times by Mark Greif is available now: https://www.versobooks.com/books/2256-against-everything

Mark Greif is a founder and editor of n+1 magazine.

Brian Dillon is a writer and critic. He is UK editor of Cabinet magazine, and teaches critical writing at the Royal College of Art.

Oct 11 2016

51mins

Play

The Storyteller: Fiction & Form—Howard Caygill, Sara Salih and Matthew Charles join the editors

Podcast cover
Read more
The Storyteller (Verso, 2016) gathers the fiction of the legendary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin, best known for his groundbreaking studies of culture and literature, including Illuminations, One-Way Street and The Arcades Project. His stories revel in the erotic tensions of city life, cross the threshold between rational and hallucinatory realms, celebrate the importance of games, and delve into the peculiar relationship between gambling and fortune-telling, and explore the themes that defined Benjamin. The novellas, fables, histories, aphorisms, parables and riddles in this collection are brought to life by the playful imagery of the modernist artist and Bauhaus figure Paul Klee.

Howard Caygill Professor Of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University and author of the forthcoming Kafka: In the Light of the Accident (Bloomsbury, 2017), Sara Salih, Professor of English at the University of Toronto, and Matthew Charles, Lecturer in English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster, join The Storyteller’s editors and translators, Sam Dolbear, Esther Leslie and Sebastian Truskolaski, for a special event to launch Walter Benjamin’s fiction collected in English translation for the first time.

Sep 26 2016

1hr 33mins

Play

The Lamentations of Zeno: A conversation with Ilija Trojanow

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Writers and artists are grappling with social and political effects of our warming planet by telling stories of fear and dread, of warning and disaster, of encouragement and hope. Written by Bulgarian-German novelist and renowned travel writer Ilija Trojanow, The Lamentations of Zeno is a “topical polemic about global warming and climate change,” an extraordinary evocation of the fragile and majestic wonders to be found at a far corner of the globe.

It tells the story of Zeno Hintermeier, an idealistic glaciologist working as a travel guide on an Antarctic cruise ship, encouraging the wealthy to marvel at the least explored continent and to open their eyes to its rapid degradation. Now in his early sixties, Zeno bewails the loss of his beloved glaciers, the disintegration of his marriage, and the foundering of his increasingly irrelevant career. Troubled in conscience and goaded by the smug complacency of the passengers in his charge, he plans a desperate gesture that will send a wake-up call to an overheating world.

In this conversation with Ilija Trojanow, he speaks about his research trips to Antarctica, his thoughts on the emerging genre of climate fiction, and the origin of his despairing main character.

Recording and interview by Ethan Cohen.

To read an extract from The Lamentations of Zeno, visit the Verso blog:
http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2647-a-novel-of-existential-dread-an-extract-from-the-lamentations-of-zeno

Jun 29 2016

48mins

Play

The Storyteller: Walter Benjamin

Podcast cover
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The Storyteller: Tales out of Loneliness gathers for the first time the fiction of Walter Benjamin, edited and translated by Sam Dolbear, Esther Leslie and Sebastian Truskolaski. His stories revel in the erotic tensions of city life, cross the threshold of dreamworlds, celebrate the ludic, and delve into fortune-telling. Taken together, the novellas, fables, histories, aphorisms, parables and riddles in this collection illuminate the themes that defined Benjamin’s work.

In the latest Verso podcast in collaboration with the London Review Bookshop, Esther Leslie, Marina Warner and Michael Rosen join Gareth Evans to discuss his experimentation with form and the themes that run throughout Benjamin’s creative and critical writing, his concepts of storytelling, pedagogy, and the communicability of experience.

To read the editors' introduction to The Storyteller & to WIN FREE BOOKS, visit the Verso blog: http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2675-walter-benjamin-the-storyteller-the-verso-podcast-in-collaboration-with-the-london-review-bookshop

Reading: Flossie Draper

Jun 07 2016

58mins

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SCUM Manifesto Revisited: Juliet Jacques, Ray Filar and Sophie Mayer

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Originally published in 1967, Valerie Solanas' incendiary SCUM Manifesto called for a Society for Cutting Up Men and declared war on capitalism and patriarchy.

Today, the controversial tract has a complex relationship with contemporary landscapes of feminism and gender politics. Juliet Jacques and Ray Filar join Sophie Mayer to discuss the treatise from critical and contemporary perspectives. Taking a historical view on its problematic elements, they discuss the violence and gender essentialism of the text, as well as Solanas' visions of work and automation and why the text still thrills today.

Juliet Jacques is the author of Trans: A Memoir and a phd student in Creative and Critical Writing at University of Sussex.

Ray Filar is a writer, editor and performance artist. They tweet @RayFilar.

Sophie Mayer is author of Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema, poet and a member of queer feminist curators Club des Femmes. She tweets @tr0ublemayer.

SCUM Manifesto voice: Sam McBean, academic and feminist and queer critic. She tweets @s_mcbean

May 23 2016

41mins

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Who really killed Osama bin Laden? Seymour Hersh chats to Christian Lorentzen

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In 2011, an elite group of US Navy Seals stormed an enclosure in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden. The news did much to boost President Obama's first term and played a major part in his re-election victory the following year. Four years on, Seymour Hersh published a controversial series of essays in the London Review of Books, arguing that the story of that night, was incomplete, or worse, a lie. How realistic is it that Pakistani authorities didn't know bin Laden was living in a compound next to a military academy or have any knowledge of the US military operation?

In his book, The Killing of Osama bin Laden, Seymour Hersh presents an electrifying investigation of White House lies about the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

In this podcast he discusses the case with his editor at the London Review of Books, Christian Lorentzen.

May 11 2016

43mins

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