The Podcasters

The Podcasts


Literature & Holidays

Holidays! And Literature! In which we go back in time to September 2013, when “Adam” and “James” meet in a pub to commiserate about the end of their vacations. Are holidays a good thing? Why are they over so quickly? Mark Twain speaks through Tom Sawyer. Andrew Marvell gets in that holiday spirit. Stanley Middleton describes a wet weekend in the pub. Bakhtin opens his mouth and other orifices. Madonna leads us in a rousing 80s singalong. Don your shorts, and short your dons (that doesn’t mean anything—ed.), and join us. The water’s lovely and damp. (First broadcast on Resonance FM in September 2014.)

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Literature and Exhaustion

You’re looking tired. Knackered, in fact. Us too. So what better than LITERATURE AND EXHAUSTION? Well obviously a holiday would be better but we can’t offer you that. What we can offer you is this: 29 minutes 46 seconds of drowsy musings on authors – Beckett, Woolf, Shakespeare, Tennyson – writing about being tired. If that isn’t better than two weeks on the beach, then my name’s Hattie Jacques. Download, relax, slumber, and before you know it, it’ll be February. Yours, Hattie.

(First broadcast on Resonance FM.)

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Litbits and Banned Books

In which Adam “Smyth” Smyth and James “Smyth” Kidd discuss literary censorship. Explosive, non? Just what is Banned Books Week? Why are books so dangerous? In the e-book age, is censorship a thing of the past? Why is Captain Underpants the most dangerous literary character in America? Should some books be banned for crime against literature? These questions, and more. Hang on, podders. (First broadcast on Resonance FM on October 1st, 2013).

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Litbits and Procrastination

In which tardy Adam Smyth and sloth-like James Kidd muse—FINALLY!—on the business of putting things off. They dance an intimate dance with deferral and trip gingerly to delay’s sweet hum.

Mark Twain. Geoff Dyer. Raymond Chandler. Kafka’s four hour-long naps. T.S. Eliot’s bank job. Thomas Bernhard. Shakespeare’s over-hastiness. Chaucer’s oxon. And more. But before you do that: pair those socks, listeners!

(First broadcast on Resonance FM.)

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Litbits and Heroines

In which James Kidd and Adam Smyth are joined by bestselling writer Samantha Ellis to talk reading books and rereading books and falling in love with characters and living by what by read. Cathy! Cathy! CATHY!

Samantha Ellis is the author of How To Be A Heroine, published by Chatto & Windus. She is also a playwright, and her play, Anatomical Venus, will be produced by Goat and Monkey Theatre in October 2014. You can read more about Samantha here.

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Litbits at the Oscars

In which James Kidd and Adam Smyth—both dressed to the nines (as ever)—are joined by film wiz Alex von Tunzelmann to talk Hollywood’s big night. The politics. The money. And Woody Allen. Who will win? Who shouldn’t win? (Tom Hanks, obviously). And what would Ben Jonson say if he accepted a posthumous award for William Shakespeare for best hairdressing? These, and other urgent questions. Join us on the red carpet: there’s plenty of room.

Alex von Tunzelmann is the author of Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire (2007), and Red Heat. Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean (2011). She writes the ‘Reel History’ column for The Guardian, on popular films and historical accuracy. For Alex’s website, click here.

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Literature and portraits

In which Adam Smyth (in Blue Period) and James Kidd (Late Cubist) are joined by novelist Lynn Shepherd to mull over the pen and the brush. How are novels like portraits? How have portraits helped create a novelist’s image? Why do we care which portrait goes on a £10 note? And how does a portrait of Mr Darcy help woo Elizabeth Bennet? William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Richardson, Laurence Sterne, Frank O’Hara – all that while Lit Bits undrape, recline, and sit for their own portrait.

Lynn Shepherd is the author of (among other titles) Murder at Mansfield Park, The Solitary House, and—just out—A Treacherous Likeness (A Fatal Likeness in the US). You can read more about Lynn here.

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Literature and Law

In which James Kidd (prisoner number 768563457) and Adam Smyth (parole) are joined by barrister Christina Michalos. We tug our wigs, gather our gowns, and muse on twitter and defamation; literary representations of lawyers; the presence of legal thinking in literature; and ask why so many novelists are former lawyers. Shakespeare and Grisham and more. (First broadcast on Resonance FM.)

Christina is a barrister at 5rb chambers. She a leading specialist in copyright, trade mark, intellectual property and privacy, especially in terms of the internet and social networking sites. She is the author of The Law of Photography and Digital Images (Sweet & Maxwell, 2004).

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Literature & Rooms

In which James Kidd and Adam Smyth explore ROOMS with expert guide Alexandra Goddard. Can literature help us imagine historical interior designs? Was Edith Wharton the Laurence Llewellyn Bowen of her day? What does a room tell us about character? Are books the new wallpaper?

Plump those pillows. Chuck out those Ikea bookshelves. Join us as Elizabeth Gaskell, Virginia Woolf, John Donne and Emily Bronte get their Lit Bits Feng Shui on.

Goddard gets interior, Kidd is characterful, Smyth is Satanic.

Key texts: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton; Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room; John Milton’s Paradise Lost; Edith Wharton’s Decoration of Houses.

Alexandra Goddard is a Curator at the Geffrye Museum.

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"intelligent and irreverent ... cancel all social engagements and run a hot bath."

The Manchester Guardian

LitBits on the Wireless

Listen to Litbits on Resonance 104 FM on Tuesday evenings at 9 o'clock.