All Interviews

‘How to Endure’: An Interview with Simon Critchley

by Marc Farrant

In an increasingly violent world, Simon Critchley’s study of suicide underlines the difficulty of attempting to inhabit the mental space of those who choose to take their own lives, where ‘reason runs headlong into one last, long tunnel with no exit.’ To confront head-on this perverse rationality, ‘to meet darkness in the darkness,’ in the winter of 2014 Critchley took up residence in a hotel room with a sea-view in Aldeburgh, on the North Sea coast of Suffolk, England, and wrote. The resulting book, Notes on Suicide, is both an exercise in philosophical exposition and a movingly intimate engagement with an intractably personal issue. In this interview we discussed a range of issues related to suicide, including the religious and psychiatric discourses around it and its consequent framing in our moral imagination. [read full interview]

Concept and Form: An Interview With Sophie Collins

by Charles Whalley

Sophie Collins, along with Rachael Allen, is co-founder and editor of tender, ‘an online quarterly promoting work by female-identified writers and artists,’ which, since its appearance last year, has published work by Emily Berry, Carina Finn, Lavinia Greenlaw and Emily Toder, among others. She is currently carrying out research on poetry and translation at Queen’s University Belfast, and her poems, translations and other writings have been published in Poetry, Poetry Review, Poetry London, The White Review and elsewhere. [read full interview]

Ponzi Scheme Capitalism: An Interview with David Harvey

by Steffen Böhm

David Harvey’s work on political economy, urbanism and the legacy and ongoing theoretical interpretation of Karl Marx has been at the forefront of critical debate across the humanities and social sciences since the 1970s. In Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism, recently published by Profile Books, the pre-eminent economist and thinker provides an incisive guide to the world around us, and a manifesto for change. In this interview, Harvey discusses the significance and centrality of the theory of political economy to understanding the post-2008 landscape; he also considers the transformation of the meaning of labour, digital technologies, rentier capitalism and emergent spaces of hope and promise. [read full interview]

One’s Twenties Aren’t Easy: An Interview with Rosa Rankin-Gee

by Michael Duffy

In her exciting debut novel, The Last Kings of Sark, Rosa Rankin-Gee successfully evokes the image of life on a small island as a constant negotiation with the past. The narrator, Jude, wants her summer narrative to begin with leaves, light and sun-kissed beaches; instead, it opens in the cockpit of a private plane hired by her father, merchant banker Eddy Defoe, to supply his family with frozen meat and expensive French mineral water. The novel follows the characters through a tense summer on the titular channel island, and into their later lives of labour and love in France. [read full interview]

The Wonder of Living: An Interview with Wim Wenders and Mary Zournazi

by Andrew Marzoni

In August 2013, Wim Wenders and Mary Zournazi published Inventing Peace: A Dialogue on Perception, a collaborative book which documents years of correspondence and conversation about peace — an attempt at what Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, to whom the book is dedicated, refers to as a ‘genuine dialogue.’ Wenders and Zournazi draw on works of philosophy, literature, visual art, and cinema to consider how peace may be achieved through a change in human perception, and how new media technologies – the agents of perception – can be used to heal a world overcome by violence and war, ego and illusion. [read full interview]

Poetry as Product: An Interview with Sam Riviere

by Sam Buchan-Watts

Sam Riviere’s first book of poetry, 81 Austerities, won the Felix Dennis Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A new pamphlet, Standard Twin Fantasy, appeared recently from Egg Box Publishing, as part of their f.u.n.e.x series. It comprises seven pairs of poems, some of which were commissioned by AnOther magazine in 2012 to 'introduce' a set of fashion stories. Praised by the Guardian for its 'caustic glamour' and 'stylised paranoia', the pamphlet picks up where 81 Austerities left off, with its frenetic distrust of connection in a digital age of consumer capitalism. We spoke about eclipsing sources, pamphlets, notions of 'properness', and the aura that poems retain after they're reproduced. [read full interview]

Imitation Modernism: An Interview with Perry Meisel

by Katie Da Cunha Lewin

Perry Meisel is a professor of English at New York University. He has written and lectured for over 40 years and is a prominent thinker in critical theory. Primarily researching structuralism, his work tackles a disparate range of subjects, from pop culture and Henry James, to rock & roll and the popular television show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. His most recent book is The Myth of Popular Culture: From Dante to Dylan. [read full interview]

The Brixton Bard: An Interview with Alex Wheatle

by Farzana Rahman

Alex Wheatle’s novels explore the themes of racism, poverty, youth unemployment and discrimination with confidence and nuance. His most recent novel, Brenton Brown, was published by Arcadia in 2011. Frazana Rahman asked Alex to discuss some of his thoughts on ‘black British writing'. [read full interview]

Subversive At All Times: An Interview with Emma Wright

by Tom Cutterham

Emma Wright quit her day-job in publishing to start a poetry press, The Emma Press, which published its first volume, The Flower and the Plough, earlier this year. With an Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse launched on 26 September, Wright's project is picking up steam. We spoke to her about ambitions, aesthetics, and the elusive ground of the 'mildly erotic.' [read full interview]

Peace - or Palestinian Surrender? An Interview with Norman Finkelstein

by Matt Hill

Norman G. Finkelstein is a man of contradictions. He is the Brooklyn-born son of concentration camp survivors who has enraged American Jews by denouncing the cynicism of what he calls the 'Holocaust industry'. He is a polemicist and inveterate contrarian who demolishes his opponents by scouring footnotes and soberly checking facts. In this wide-ranging interview with Review 31 to mark the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Finkelstein turns his fire on the 'silly, sectarian, cultist politics' of the pro-Palestinian movement and defends Israel’s right to a peaceful existence as part of a two-state settlement. At the same time, he pulls no punches on the revived 'peace process', dismissing it as an attempt to impose a 'historic defeat' on the Palestinians. [read full interview]