You can now listen to us on anchor.fm! Use anchor.fm/conspiracy-of-equality to find us with your podcatcher.
Episodes are also available to listen on our website here
All our episodes contain spoilers. We actually don’t believe spoilers are a bad thing, and if the story needs you to be surprised to be worth reading it’s probably not well written. But, then again, we might just be snobs.
Episode 1: Octavia Butler – God is Change
This is our first episode, and it’s … rough. No other word for it! We were trying things out and it ended up being structured very differently from the next ones. We also just kinda jump right into a discussion without really explaining the books themselves, a problem we fix going forward. The books we read here are Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. We forgive you if you want to skip this one, but you’ll make our hearts happy if you stick it out because we think it still manages to get to some interesting stuff
Episode 2: Marlon James – On Violence
Trigger warning – deals with slavery and post-colonial gang violence in Jamaica in often graphic ways. Books here are A Brief History of Seven Killings and Book of Night Women
Episode 3: Zadie Smith – Race, class, and friendship in neoliberal times
We love Zadie, and one of us loves her a little too much. Book talked about here is Swing Time, but we’ve also read all her other novels and occasionally make some references.
Episode 4: Ursula le Guin – Can we be Estraven?
Ursula le Guin passed earlier this year and we lost an amazing voice in radical science fiction. We hope our discussion can do at least some small justice to her immense intellect. Books here are The Left Hand of Darkness and The Word for World is Forest.
Episode 5: Reading for decolonization
In this episode we explore reading Indigenous literature in Canada/Turtle Island as settlers and what it can mean to read towards decolonizing ourselves and the land. Books here are The Break by Katherena Vermette, Birdie by Tracey Lindberg, and A Geography of Blood by Candace Savage.
Episode 6: Writing the Moment
For our last episode of 2018, we take a look at two books by British author Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007) and Exit West (2017). There’s a lot hidden in these two short works, including what we think can only come from a profound love of human dignity.
Episode 7: Early Reads for Liberating Libraries
Welcome to our relaunch of Liberating Libraries by the Conspiracy of Equality. In this episode we discuss where this project came from, who we are as people trying to become better readers, and some of the early reads that started our journeys into fiction.
Episode 8: Where is Climate Change in Fiction?
This episode asks how is contemporary fiction incorporating (or not) the present realities of climate change and can it provide avenues for building a response to climate crisis? To do this we look at two recent books about post-climate change dystopia – American War by Omar El Akkad and Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. We also bring in essays by Amtiav Ghosh from his book The Great Derangement and reflect on his claim that “the climate crisis is also a crisis of culture, and thus of the imagination”.
Episodes 9&10: Reading is a Singular Pleasure
In this two-episode series, we talk about authors who mean a lot to one of us, and less to the other, and explore how our reading styles can draw us to very different kinds of writing. Most people find certain kinds of stories and storytelling more compelling than others, and that’s okay. It’s important to distinguish between the practice of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and seeing the value of reading things you might not normally think of, and those moments when you find deep connections with the way a particular author writes. Styles are political and they’re personal. It doesn’t mean every book is good, or that styles can’t be problematic; rather, it shows how ‘this author’s style doesn’t grab me’ can be a really productive moment for delving into your own politics as a reader.
This series is structures in two interviews. Part 1 talks about the poetic politics of Dionne Brand, and Part 2 looks at the work and legacy of John Steinbeck.
Episode 10: Scarborough Takes On Can-Lit
In this episode we look at Scarborough (2017) by Catherine Hernandez and Brother (2017) by David Chariandy, two powerful novels that bring voice to a diverse and chronically underfunded community in Canada. Both set in Scarborough, Ontario, they use intimacy and bureaucracy to show the workings of Canadian forms of power, structural racism, and economic inequality in ways not often seen in the historically white and middle-class Can-Lit (Canadian Literature). Through their work, we’re invited to ask who gets to determine what a community looks like, whose stories are told, and when and how does survival happen.