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Novelists and Critics: “Inviting a Cow to a Butcher’s Convention”?

Do novelists enjoy talking about their work with scholars?

“Inviting a cow to a butchers’ convention,” Amitav Ghosh called it once. (We’re pretty sure he was joking).

But our experience has been that some novelists love to talk with scholars about the underpinning,  ground rules, and history of their form. Novel Dialogue invites a novelist and a literary critic to talk about novels from every angle: how we read them, write them, publish them, and remember them.  

More often than not, critics talk to other critics and novelists talk to other novelists. This podcast breaks out of those professional circles in the belief that literary critics and artists can and should be talking directly to one another. Novel Dialogue aims to bring you those conversations. Every episode also features our hosts Aarthi and John standing by as facilitators, enablers or–if it comes to that–referees. 

We offer lively, fun, and sophisticated dialogues that dissect the art of novel-writing and consider the influence of characters, plots, and stories on how we think about the world.


Meet Our Hosts
Aarthi Vadde

Aarthi Vadde is Associate Professor of English and affiliated faculty in the Computational Media, Arts, and Culture program at Duke University. She is on the editorial board of the Norton Anthology of English Literature and is the author of Chimeras of Form: Modernist Internationalism beyond Europe, 1914-2016, which won the American Comparative Literature Association’s 2018 Harry Levin Prize. She is the co-editor of The Critic as Amateur, the open-access Web 2.0 and Literary Criticism, and The Palgrave Handbook of Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature and Science.  She is currently working on a book called We the Platform: Contemporary Literature after Web 2.0.

John Plotz

John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University. His books include The Crowd: British Literature and Public PoliticsPortable Property: Victorian Culture on the Move, and Semi-Detached: The Aesthetics of Virtual Experience since Dickens; he is at work on My Earthsea, a  book about Ursula Le Guin. He is editor of the Public Books B-Sides and a forthcoming collection from Columbia University Press, B-Sides Books: Essays on Forgotten Favorites. He co-founded the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative and co-hosts the podcast  Recall This Book.


Podcast Editorial Policy

The episodes you hear are recordings of a single conversation between ND hosts and the guest. We edit only by removing sections of the original conversation, or by shortening questions and responses for clarity and flow and concision. The only time we change the order of the audio you hear is when we open with a “teaser” snippet from the body of the conversation. The introduction and credits are sometimes separately recorded, and music is added in postproduction. 

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