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The Slightly Foxed Podcast

Episode 11: Orkney’s Prospero

Episode 11: Orkney’s Prospero

Gail, Hazel and host Philippa are transported to Orkney as they explore the life and works of the poet and novelist George Mackay Brown OBE. Together with his biographer Maggie Fergusson and Colin Waters of the Scottish Poetry Library, they bring to light a writer who was at once a solitary soul and a raconteur, a lover and a drinker, a member of the Edinburgh literati yet fame-shy. From the oft-recited ‘Hamnavoe’ to the Booker-nominated Beside the Ocean of Time Mackay Brown’s work sings of his island roots, interweaving life and social history with myth and legend. In this month’s travels through the magazine’s archives, Christopher Robbins and Rory Murphy tackle the high falutin literary rap of Finnegans Wake, and there are the usual wide-ranging recommendations for reading off the beaten track too.
40 minutes
Episode 10: From Page to Stage

Episode 10: From Page to Stage

Just who are literary festivals for and why do we love them so much? Gail, Steph and host Philippa go backstage with Anne Oxborough of the well-established Ways With Words and Michael Pugh of recent start-up the Llangwm Literary Festival to find out more. From the delights of surprise-hit speakers, post-show river swims, vodka-fuelled poetry sessions and the rise of fancy food stalls to the horrors of airborne green rooms, bacon-roll bust-ups and rail replacement buses, the conversation ranges far and wide in the usual Slightly Foxed way. In this month’s audio-adventure through the magazine’s archives the writer and performer A. F. Harrold goes speed-dating with Iris Murdoch at Cheltenham Literature Festival and, to finish, there’s the usual round-up of recommended reading from off the beaten track.
39 minutes
29th July 2019

‘I just want to tell you how much I enjoy the podcast . . .’

‘I just want to tell you how much I enjoy the podcast. It is splendid in every regard, and I await the 15th of the month with great anticipation. And I was thrilled when, in the July episode you noted that the Autumn Foxed Quarterly will have a piece on Olivia Manning and on Gaudy Night. I just reread The Balkan Trilogy, and Gaudy Night is a life book for me. I had been working on an essay on Gaudy Night to enter in your annual competition, but now will set that aside and look forward to reading about it in the next issue.’
- N. Winder, Seattle, Washington, United States
From readers

‘I do miss an English garden . . .’

‘Greetings from Crete which is where I listened to the latest podcast. It may sound idyllic sitting on a balcony over-looking the sea, but I do miss an English garden. Reference to Lady Hillingdon took me back to my Somerset garden I left some years ago where I had a yellow rose named after the lady climbing up a pergola. I often think if I was to write an essay about leaving that small but much-loved garden the title would be ‘On leaving Lady Hillingdon’. Thank you for the podcasts which help to sooth a sometimes homesick brow.’

‘As always a complete delight . . .’

‘As always a complete delight which takes one away to a calm and peaceful place full of interest and inspiration leaving just a slight frustration as to how to find the time to read all these wonderful books. On this occasion I have particularly enjoyed the synchronicity of the podcast being on the topic of garden writing. I have just finished reading my first book on gardening (although when I look I have several on my shelves) – Hidcote: The Making of a Garden by Ethne Clarke.’

‘Many thanks for your podcasts . . .’

‘Many thanks for your podcasts which always lead me down a delicious byway to forgotten places and people. Your mention of your search for memoirs reminded me of Flavia Leng's memoir of her mother Daphne du Maurier. I read it many years ago and I looked it out yesterday to see if it was as good as I remembered. It is an extraordinary story of a childhood in a dysfunctional family and I reread it in a single sitting which is very rare for me. I cannot pretend that it leaves a cosy picture of Daphne, Boy or Menabilly but there is a raw honesty which is compelling.’

‘I was visiting London last autumn . . .’

‘I was visiting London last autumn and purchased two issues of Slightly Foxed. I’ve fallen in love with your quarterly. I held off subscribing because we’re on a strict budget here and I live in the States, so, it’s a bit more expensive. After listening to all of your delightful and erudite podcasts, I fell even harder for all things Slightly Foxed, so I took a deep breath and subscribed to the quarterly. I can’t wait to receive my first issue. Thank you for your podcast, by the way. There is such a warmth and a feeling of intimacy to the discussions around the table – I wish I was there! I find myself writing down book titles as I listen. Thank you from a reader/listener in New York.’

‘I thoroughly enjoyed listening to your recent podcast . . .’

‘I thoroughly enjoyed listening to your recent podcast on travel writing. I was particularly taken with the recommendation for Patrick Leigh Fermor’s work, and so I tracked down a copy of his A Time of Gifts. I’m finding it a wonderful read - thank you so much.’
Episode 9: Well-Cultivated Words

Episode 9: Well-Cultivated Words

Gail, Hazel and host Philippa dig into the subject of garden writing with the journalist and social historian Ursula Buchan and Matt Collins, nature writer and Head Gardener at London’s Garden Museum. The conversation meanders convivially in the usual Slightly Foxed manner, via daredevil plant-hunters, early wild gardening advocates such as Gertrude Jekyll, William Robinson and Vita Sackville-West, and the passing passions and fashions of garden design, with a peek over the hedge at Christopher Lloyd’s Great Dixter along the way. And there’s the usual round-up of the latest bookish harvest from the Slightly Foxed office and plenty of recommendations for reading off the beaten track too.
36 minutes

‘Just to tell you that I so enjoyed the latest podcast . . .’

‘Just to tell you that I so enjoyed the latest podcast on travel writing. Hearing you talk about Patrick Leigh Fermor and Eric Newby was so delightful as they’ve been favourites of mine for a while and I now think them as old friends. Your themes are always fresh and interesting and make me want to read more and discover new literary gems. I like the length of your podcasts too – about 30 mins is just right; not so long that you get bored and tap pause (and never return) but long enough to be really interesting and I always listen to it all and look forward to the next one. The dogs must have a very nice life too in their literary haven.’

‘I feel like I’m at the kitchen table . . .’

‘Why haven’t I tuned in to the Slightly Foxed podcast until this afternoon?! I feel like I’m at the kitchen table, drinking tea. Love the conversation and the dogs! Sending love from Jaipur, India.’

‘I listened to the podcast last night . . .’

‘I listened to the podcast last night on my evening stroll and enjoyed it enormously. As ever, it gave me plenty of inspiration for further reading too: I've been a fan of Norman Lewis for a long time, but hadn't come across A Dragon Apparent, which I'll now add to the list of books to look out for! The podcast really is a delight; I hope it is as much fun to record as it sounds!’

‘I just love your podcasts . . .’

‘I just love your podcasts and all the lovely information about books. I always feel as if I am sitting round the table with you all and the dogs and even the background noises, builders and sometimes other things. So glad you sent photos of the dogs. Now I can put faces to the sounds. I’ve been a subscriber to Slightly Foxed for several years now and read it avidly when it comes. You are so generous with all your newsletters etc. I only wish I could manage to find time to read more! You are all very much appreciated. Thank you.’
Episode 8: Leaving that Place called Home

Episode 8: Leaving that Place called Home

Hazel, Jennie and host Philippa explore the art of travel writing with the acclaimed author and biographer Sara Wheeler and Barnaby Rogerson of the well-loved independent publisher Eland Books. Buckle-up and join us on an audio adventure that takes in a coach trip around England, an Arctic sojourn, a hairy incident involving a Victorian lady and her trusty tweed skirt and a journey across Russia in the footprints of its literary greats, with nods to Bruce Chatwin, Isabella Bird, Norman Lewis, Martha Gellhorn and Patrick Leigh Fermor along the way. And to bring us back down to earth, there’s the usual round-up of news from back home in Hoxton Square and plenty of recommendations for reading off the beaten track.  
39 minutes

‘I’m a bit behind on the podcasts . . .’

‘I’m a bit behind on the podcasts, which I love, and have just listened to No 5. The years rolled back for me when the topic turned to Virago books. I well remember hearing a radio discussion in the 1970s, (maybe on Woman’s Hour?) about this new publishing company and thinking to myself that it sounded new and exciting. I still have my first Virago purchase, Precious Bane by Mary Webb. I don’t understand how Virago can be more than forty years old when I'm sure I'm scarcely older now than I was then!’

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