21 August, 2010

Converting to Short Stories


One of the weekly podcasts that I listen to with great pleasure is Writers & Company from the CBC Radio. It is a pleasure to listen to Eleanor Wachtel speak with writers about their work. She does it in such a methodical and informative manner that the authors are tantalized into speaking forthrightly within the safe net of her questioning.

Overall, writers seem a tricky bunch. They can be prickly (interview with Doris Lessing), or reclusive (interview with J. M. Coetzee), but they can also charm the pants off of you. Which is what happened in the Writers & Company: Irish Panel (May 16, 2010) program. In this program Roddy Doyle, Claire Keegan and Kevin Barry speak with wit and magnificence about the art of writing short stories.

Yesterday, I listened to the program for the third time: discovering new forms of nuance, humour and insight in the art of short stories. The interview is a veritable Babette’s Feast (1 & 2) to convert us all to this genre of literature.


  1. Don't you just love Eleanor Wachtel's style? She's warm without being smarmy, and knows her stuff.

  2. Ian, I am a Wachtel groupie for the very reasons you mention. I particularly like it when she makes associations between an author's books or digs up some long lost piece of information and then surprises, and often delights, the writers by mentioning them.