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Verso Podcast

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

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The Storyteller: Walter Benjamin

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

58mins

7 Jun 2016

Rank #1

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Anna Feigenbaum Discusses Tear Gas at Wooden Shoe Books

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

1hr 5mins

14 Feb 2018

Rank #2

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The End Of Policing: A conversation with Alex Vitale

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

45mins

12 Oct 2017

Rank #3

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Against Everything: Mark Greif and Brian Dillon in conversation

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-everythingMark 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.

51mins

11 Oct 2016

Rank #4

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

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.

1hr 14mins

16 Jul 2018

Rank #5

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John Berger at 90

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.

1hr 18mins

31 Oct 2016

Rank #6

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

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.

1hr 14mins

27 Sep 2017

Rank #7

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

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.

43mins

11 May 2016

Rank #8

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Futurability: Franco “Bifo” Berardi on the Verso Podcast

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.

57mins

12 Jul 2017

Rank #9

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

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?

53mins

23 Mar 2018

Rank #10