Andrew William Stevenson Marr is a British political commentator, television presenter, and host of Start the Week.
The prize-winning writer Marilynne Robinson and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams discuss belief, community and self-knowledge with Andrew Marr. The life and family of a Presbyterian minister in small-town Iowa is the focus in Marilynne Robinson’s quartet of Gilead novels. The latest, Jack, tells the story of the minister’s prodigal son and his romance with the daughter of a black preacher. Robinson’s work interrogates the complexities and paradoxes of American life, while exploring the power of our emotions and the wonders of a sacred world. Rowan Williams was Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012. Since stepping down he has written widely on poetry and literature, from Auden to Dostoevsky. Earlier this year he wrote about the importance and influence of the rules of monastic life. In The Way of St Benedict, Williams explores the appeal and relevance of Benedict’s sixth-century Rule to present-day Christians and non-believers. Producer: Katy Hickman
Claudia Rankine, one of America’s leading literary figures, and the double-Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood look at the world afresh, challenging conventions – with Kirsty Wark. In her latest book, Just Us: An American Conversation, Claudia Rankine reflects on what it means to experience, and question, everyday racism. Her poems draw on a series of encounters with friends and strangers, as well as historical record. Her work moves beyond the silence, guilt and violence that often surround discussions about whiteness, and dares all of us to confront the world in which we live. Margaret Atwood recently won the Booker Prize for a second time with The Testaments, her sequel to the 1985 prize-winner The Handmaid’s Tale. Her story of the fictional Gilead’s dark misogyny has retained its relevance after more than three decades. The world of Gilead was originally sparked by an earlier poem, Spelling, and Atwood explores the importance of poetry in firing the imagination. Producer: Katy Hickman Photographer: John Lucas
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour movement promised radical change but ended disastrously with the 2019 general election. Labour insider and activist Owen Jones looks back over the last decade and tells Andrew Marr why the election went so badly wrong. In his new book, This Land: The Story of a Movement, he also reflects on the future of the Left in an age of upheaval. Sylvia Pankhurst was born into one of Britain’s most famous activist families. Her biographer Rachel Holmes argues that, although less well-known than her mother and sister, Sylvia was the most revolutionary of them all. In Natural Born Rebel, Holmes celebrates the radical life of a true internationalist. But politics can often appear to be a game between the radical fringes and the centre ground. The Times columnist and former Conservative Party adviser Danny Finkelstein has long applauded moderation. In a collection of his newspaper writings, Everything in Moderation, he argues that the political centre is less about ideology and more about temperament. Producer: Katy Hickman
As inequality continues to rise and political and social divisions become more entrenched, Amol Rajan discusses what can be done to restore social values and a sense of community - with the political philosopher Michael Sandel, the award winning novelist Elif Shafak, and commentator and author David Goodhart. Michael Sandel describes how we live in an age of winners and losers, an era in which social mobility has stalled. In the past the answer has been to attempt to increase access by rewarding the most able, regardless of wealth or class. But in The Tyranny of Merit, Sandel highlights the deep inequality this has continued to perpetuate, with hubris among those at the top and humiliation and judgement for those at the bottom. David Goodhart calls for a radical rebalancing of what we value. In Head, Hand and Heart: The Struggle for Dignity and Status in the 21st Century, Goodhart describes how success, esteem and power have become narrowly associated with cognitive abilities. This, he argues, has disrupted community cohesion and left large swathes of people feeling disregarded and unrewarded. Elif Shafak responds to the tenor of our time with a short manifesto How To Sane In An Age Of Division. She believes that we have entered a time of pessimism. She explores how storytelling can nurture the empathy, wisdom and tolerance needed to progress. Producer: Katy Hickman
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Creator Details

Jul 31st, 1959
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
1 week, 5 days
Podchaser Creator ID logo 967279