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The Slightly Foxed Podcast

Episode 25: A Writer’s Territory

Episode 25: A Writer’s Territory

The Scottish nature writer Jim Crumley takes the Slightly Foxed team on a tour of literary landscapes, from the lochs of the Trossachs and the mountainous Cairngorms to Aldo Leopold’s sand county in Wisconsin and Barry Lopez’s Arctic. Together they trace the chain of writers who have influenced Jim, from Robert Burns and Wordsworth to Thoreau and Walt Whitman, and see nature through the eyes of his hero, the great Scottish naturalist and photographer Seton Gordon. They discuss how folklore has demonized the wolf while Jim believes its reintroduction could hugely benefit the ecology of the Scottish landscape. And finally they venture off the beaten track with this month’s wide-ranging reading recommendations.
40 minutes
11th November 2020

The shocking story of Charles and Mary Lamb: Slightly Foxed podcast reviewed

This story might have made for lurid telling, but the podcasters let James set it out plainly before interjecting with pertinent questions and steering the discussion to the Lambs’ work. The respectful quietness of Slightly Foxed is one of its virtues. Where other podcasts suffer from a crescendo of competing voices, this is steady and understated and, yes, all the cosier for being so.
- Spectator
From readers
Episode 24: The Lives and Letters of Charles and Mary Lamb

Episode 24: The Lives and Letters of Charles and Mary Lamb

Dr Felicity James, author of Charles Lamb, Coleridge and Wordsworth: Reading Friendship in the 1790s and current custodian of Charles’s writing chair, introduces the Slightly Foxed editors to siblings at the heart of a literary circle. In their Tales from Shakespeare, gentle-hearted drunken-dog Charles wrote the tragedies and Mary, often chided for laughing, the comedies, and together they penned letters using different coloured inks. From a murder in the home and time in private asylums to conversations with Coleridge at the pub, dissertations on roast pig and salons in their London lodgings, we explore the lives of the Lambs and their friendships through books.
44 minutes
Episode 23: A Writer in the Kitchen

Episode 23: A Writer in the Kitchen

The food writer and chef Olivia Potts joins the Slightly Foxed editors for a literary banquet. Olivia was a barrister for five years before enrolling at Le Cordon Bleu, becoming a cookery columnist on The Spectator and writing A Half Baked Idea, a memoir with recipes. From finding consolation in cooking and precision in pâtisserie to nostalgia-soaked blancmange and family dinners in the Cazalet Chronicles, the conversation flows, welcoming Jane Grigson, Elizabeth David, Charles Dickens and the extraordinary Fanny Cradock to the table along the way. And in this month’s taste from the magazine’s archives, Rachel Khoo’s cookbook conjures up feasts in an attic in Paris.
43 minutes
Episode 22: Independent Spirit

Episode 22: Independent Spirit

Small but discerning, choosing passion over fashion, Little Toller Books shares an independent spirit with Slightly Foxed. Jon Woolcott joins us from this publishing house based in a converted old dairy in Dorset, and charts the rise from cottage industry origins to a wide, prized backlist. With roots in rural writing, Little Toller has branched out to seek unusual voices, resurrecting the life of the wood engraver Clifford Webb, turning landfill into prose, uncovering Edward Thomas’s hidden photographs and finding a bestseller in the diary of a young naturalist along the way. We turn to the magazine’s archives for John Seymour’s advice on cheddaring, sparging and gaffing, and there’s the usual round-up of recommended reading from off the beaten track.
38 minutes
Episode 21: A Bookshelf in Tripoli

Episode 21: A Bookshelf in Tripoli

Justin Marozzi, a travel writer, historian and journalist who’s lived in Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Darfur, joins the Slightly Foxed editors on a journey through North Africa and the Middle East. His discovery of a nineteenth-century account of an expedition to Libya in a bookshop in Tripoli led to his crossing of the Sahara by camel, against the advice of Wilfred Thesiger. From dual chronicles of the desert penned by Rosita Forbes and Ahmed Hassanein Bey and tales of books hurled into the Tigris to the picaresque life of Ibn Battutah and travels with a Tangerine, the conversation ranges far and wide, and there are the usual recommendations for reading off the beaten track too.
40 minutes
Episode 20: An Issue of Enthusiasms

Episode 20: An Issue of Enthusiasms

Slightly Foxed Editors Gail and Hazel take us between the pages of the magazine, bookmarking articles along the way. Crack the spine of the quarterly to discover T. H. White taking flying lessons, smutty book titles, a passion for romantic ruins, John Berger shadowing a remarkable GP, a rebellious Mitford ‘rescued’ by a destroyer, a night to remember on the Titanic and much more besides. From correcting proofs to welcoming writers with a host of experiences, the story of putting together an issue of enthusiasms unfolds. And in this month’s reading from the archives, a hapless apprentice at the Hogarth Press recounts his disastrous stint with the Woolfs.
37 minutes
Episode 19: Tim Pears’s West Country

Episode 19: Tim Pears’s West Country

Tim Pears, a writer rooted in the landscape of Devon, takes Slightly Foxed to the West Country. From working at his local library and reading an author a week instead of taking his A Levels to winning the Hawthornden Prize for his first novel, by way of spells as a farm labourer, nursing assistant and night porter, Tim Pears has written eleven novels, watched blacksmiths at work, walked the routes of his characters, balanced research with imagination and chronicled the past as a realist rather than a romantic. We also travel through the magazine’s archives, along the rivers Taw and Torridge, to uncover the man behind Tarka the Otter, and there are the usual recommendations for reading off the beaten track.
41 minutes
Episode 18: The Ordeal of Evelyn Waugh

Episode 18: The Ordeal of Evelyn Waugh

The great prose stylist of the 20th century, monster, performer? Biographer and literary journalist Selina Hastings and writer and critic Alexander Waugh reveal the many reputations of Evelyn Waugh with the Slightly Foxed editors. From a pathological fear of boredom, hallucinations provoked by doses of bromide and cheques bouncing at the Ritz to his relationships conducted through letters, his genius for sharp satire and love of gossip, the conversation brings to light the darkness and humour of Waugh’s works. And we visit The Loved One’s Whispering Glades in this month’s reading from the magazine’s archives.
45 minutes
Episode 17: Margaret Drabble: A Writer’s Life

Episode 17: Margaret Drabble: A Writer’s Life

Dame Margaret Drabble joins us at the Slightly Foxed table as we celebrate her life in writing. From taking up her pen in the 1960s as a young mother alone in her kitchen to feeling part of a movement with Nell Dunn, Margaret Forster and Edna O’Brien, to editing The Oxford Companion to English Literature without the help of a computer and eschewing the Booker Prize, Margaret Drabble sees writing as both an illness and a trade, finding black humour in ageing and joy in jigsaw puzzles along the way. And we uncover whatever happened to the elusive novelist Elizabeth Jenkins in this month’s reading from the magazine’s archives.
44 minutes
Episode 16: Moving in Royal Circles

Episode 16: Moving in Royal Circles

Biographer and academic Jane Ridley and screenwriter and novelist Daisy Goodwin join the Slightly Foxed Editors to reveal the wealth to be found in royal biographies, memoirs and historical novels. From the remarkable diaries of Queen Victoria and the extraordinary life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria to Prince Albert’s cashmere breeches, a cottage meal at Sissinghurst with the Queen Mother, and Edward VII’s many mistresses, the parade of tales about the lives and loves of royal people roams far and wide. And we go on a on a quest for Queen Mary with James Pope-Hennessy in this month’s hunt through the magazine’s archives.
38 minutes
Episode 15: Reading Resolutions

Episode 15: Reading Resolutions

As we turn the page to a new decade, we’ve made some New Year resolutions. John Mitchinson and Andy Miller of Backlisted Podcast join the Slightly Foxed Editors to bring new life to old books, leading us off the beaten track with wide-ranging reading recommendations. From Frank O’Connor’s letters, Selina Hastings’s lives and Barbara Tuchman’s histories to the poetry of John Berryman, Gayl Jones’s Corregidora and Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, they journey through genres to revive literary curiosity. And in this month’s reading from the magazine’s archives, Richard Platt makes a convincing case for The Quincunx by Charles Palliser, falling under its curse of sleepless nights.  
39 minutes
Episode 14: The Vital Spark

Episode 14: The Vital Spark

What sparks a lifelong love of reading? Francis Spufford, author of The Child that Books Built, and Emily Drabble of the children’s reading charity BookTrust, delve into bookshelves past and present with the Slightly Foxed Editors to understand the alchemy that ignites the spark. From books as seductive objects, the haphazardness of alphabetical organization and disappearing libraries to the joys of cover-to-cover reading and books being doorways to new worlds, the conversation reveals what a passion for reading can bring to our lives. In this month’s dip into the magazine’s archives Ysenda Maxtone Graham gives tried and tested tips for reading aloud, grappling with Tolkien pronunciations along the way, and there’s the usual round-up of recommendations for reading off the beaten track.
37 minutes
Episode 13: Nature & Story

Episode 13: Nature & Story

In the parochial lies the universal, or does it? Join us on a trip to the British countryside as we plough into the matter of nature, landscape and the rural world in literature to find out more. Together with Juliet Blaxland, author of Wainwright Prize shortlisted The Easternmost House, and Jay Armstrong of Elementum Journal, the Slightly Foxed Editors and host Philippa share tales of living on the edge of eroding cliffs, pioneering bird photographers, ancient arboreal giants, guerrilla rewilding and favourite loam and lovechild comfort reads. In this month’s forage through the magazine’s archives, we go down to the Folly Brook to explore a vanishing world with ‘BB’ and his little grey men and, to finish, there are the usual wide-ranging recommendations for books to take your reading off the beaten track.
39 minutes

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