Thea Lenarduzzi

Interviews by Thea Lenarduzzi

The Best Caribbean Fiction, recommended by Alexia Arthurs

From the humorous and dark stories of a young V. S. Naipaul to recent coming-of-age novels, set in a cut-throat Jamaican holiday resort or American’s urban battlefields, Alexia Arthurs explores the myriad expressions of Caribbean identity in fiction

The Best of Georgian Literature, recommended by Gvantsa Jobava

How does a country left in ruins by 70 years of Soviet oppression rebuild its literature? It starts from scratch and breaks all the rules. Gvantsa Jobava reveals the riches of Georgian literature, from 12th-century feminist epics to radical, experimental accounts of a post-Independence underworld

Enrique Vila-Matas on Books that Shaped Him

‘I like to show some restraint when it comes to making things up…’ The Spanish novelist Enrique Vila-Matas discusses the role of risk in writing, the ‘crisis of the novel’, and five books that have shaped his own work. (You can also read this interview in the original Spanish.)

The Best Poetry Books of 2017, recommended by Susannah Herbert

Poetry book sales are bigger this year than ever before, and the form is ‘about to reach many, many more people,’ says the head of the Forward Arts Foundation. Here’s a diagnosis of the year in poetry – and a prescription for years to come  

Neil Griffiths recommends the best Indie Fiction of 2017

Publishing took a hit in the 2007-8 financial crisis, but tough times may just have changed the industry for the better. As the big guys consolidate and tighten their margins, cracks grow wider and more books slip through… Which is good news for the publishers ready to catch them. The novelist Neil Griffiths, founder of a new prize for small presses, discusses 2017’s best indie books and celebrates publishers who ‘think like you, read like you, and live books like you’

Forgotten Classics, recommended by Scott Pack

Ninety per cent of the books we hear about are new, which means we are missing out on countless masterpieces already out there. Scott Pack, co-founder of the Abandoned Bookshop, a digital publisher that specialises in finding forgotten and neglected books, picks five forgotten classics, for lovers not of the new but of the different…

Joanna Walsh recommends the best Absurdist Literature

‘Absurdism is completely out there – it’s about clashing and bright colours and over-the-top metaphors.’ Author and critic Joanna Walsh considers the peculiar nature and aims of absurdist literature, from Daniil Kharms’s shattered narratives to Isabel Waidner’s joyful assaults on sense.

Margo Jefferson on Cultural Memoirs

The Pulitzer Prize-winning critic celebrates a form in constant flight from definition, that finds expression in hybrid texts and plays-within-plays, and that is as at home in high art as in pop culture.

Marina Warner on Fairy Tales

‘It’s a long time since ogres have seemed so absolutely real,’ says Marina Warner, author and long-time scholar of fairy tales. Which makes now as good a time as any to immerse ourselves in the twisted truths of the fairy tale realm, with Warner’s selection of the best books of, or about, other-worldly tales of mischief and subversion, dreams and laughter, ‘hope against hope’

Devoney Looser on The Alternative Jane Austen

Thanks to her ability to be many things to many people at once, Jane Austen is one of the vast minority of writers who manage to be both eternally popular and canonical. Here, Austen scholar Devoney ‘Stone Cold Jane’ Looser presents alternative Austens, from subversive youngster to video-game heroine

Stephanie Burt on Contemporary American Poetry

As distinctions between traditional and avant-garde, central and marginal dissolve, poet and critic Stephanie Burt discusses some of America’s most exciting contemporary poets, who are speaking to and from diverse experiences and backgrounds – sometimes with a disco beat

Essential Norwegian Fiction, recommended by Roy Jacobsen

Sagas old and new, from Gisli Sursson’s trials to Knausgård’s struggle, form the backbone of Roy Jacobsen’s selection of essential fiction from Norway, a country that is like ‘a black and not very polished diamond’, and where writers and readers seek out the human, ‘no matter how awkward, grandiose, sentimental, nostalgic, embarrassing, hyperbolic, stupid, hilarious or dangerous it may be’

Mathias Enard on The ‘Orient’ and Orientalism

Study of the ‘Orient’ and Orientalism has evolved considerably since Edward Said's seminal study of 1978. Here, the multi-award winning French novelist Mathias Enard, whose own novel, Compass, draws on this rich history, discusses five books that capture key aspects of this ever-shifting terrain

Dorthe Nors on the best Contemporary Scandinavian Literature

Minimalism is big with the Danes while Icelanders favour magical realism; the Swedes keep it classical while the Norwegians get emotional. Man Booker International shortlistee Dorthe Nors takes us on a tour of the most exciting voices in contemporary Scandinavian literature.

The Best True Crime Books, recommended by David Grann

True crime books can be all too easily chalked up as a genre of grisly murders and cheap, voyeuristic thrills—but to do so would be to overlook compelling evidence to the contrary. David Grann, whose true crime book revisits long-forgotten, or concealed, crimes in the Osage community of Oklahoma, raises the bar with examples of true crime books rich in historical discovery, literary merit and the kind of political inquiry these murky times are calling for

Katie Kitamura on Marriage (and Divorce) in Literature

Love and marriage may go together like a horse and carriage, but what happens when the horses are spooked and the whole procession is run off the road? Katie Kitamura, whose new novel A Separation charts the disastrous—and tragic—failure of a marriage, considers some of literature’s most heartfelt accounts of relationship failure

Kayla Rae Whitaker on Stories about Women Artists

Kayla Rae Whitaker composes an ode to ‘women who make things’, from wooden dolls to indie music, and post-modern triptychs to the best candy bar you’ll ever taste. These are tales about what happens when the muse becomes the artist

Yiyun Li on the ‘Anti-memoir’

Yiyun Li, author of Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life, on the sheer messiness of life, the irrelevance of ‘I’, and why brutal honesty is often the truest way to capture the people we love the most

Max Porter on the Books That Shaped Him

Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers, on the books that have taken him from childhood to adulthood, the deepening shadow of nuclear war, and why he’ll always be on his knees in front of Emily Dickinson

Books on the Real Greece, recommended by Christos Chomenidis

Greek myths are not all classical tales of heroes and tempestuous gods. Here, the novelist Christos Chomenidis chooses five books that get to the heart of what it really means to hail from Greece, and why it’s hard to live in the wake of the Ancients.

The best books on Dante, recommended by Nick Havely

Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy has inspired countless thinkers and writers since it was first published almost 700 years ago. Here, Dante scholar and author Nick Havely picks the best five books on how one medieval poet had such a lasting impact on world literature, and how Dante’s vitality transmits into modern culture.

Massimo Carlotto recommends the best Italian Crime Fiction

Journalists are no longer able to properly investigate organised crime in modern Italy — leaving it to crime fiction writers to pick up the slack, says the acclaimed Italian novelist, Massimo Carlotto. Here he chooses five noir novels that explore the reality of Italian corruption in highly original ways.

Enrique Vila-Matas discute Los libros que le influyeron

‘Me gusta mostrar cierta moderación cuando se trata de inventar cosas …’ El escritor español Enrique Vila-Matas discute la importancia del riesgo en la escritura, la ‘crisis de la novela’, y cinco libros que han influenciado su propia escritura