It’s Food Season at the Allusionist. Last episode we learned all about compiling recipes, turning food into words. This time, we meet someone who turns words into food. When Kate Young of the Little Library Cafe spots a foodstuff or a feast in a novel, she finds ways to cook it in reality, whether it’s delicious (Babette’s Feast), evil (Edmund’s Turkish delight in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) or poisonous (the crab and avocado in The Bell Jar).Read more
Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker didn’t think too much of it when, every year, a a few letters were delivered to their New York apartment addressed to Santa.
But then one year, 400 letters arrived. And they decided they had to answer them.Read more
Why would you write books or poems or plays with only one vowel? Or in palindromes? Or only using the example sentences in dictionaries? Sometimes you need to force yourself to jump a few hurdles (and perhaps the rest of the obstacle course) before your creativity will be unleashed.Read more
What is the expression 'beyond the pale' on about? How do you express the absence of feeling? Does 'testify' have anything to do with testicles? Do avocados have anything to do with testicles? How does the phrase "It's all Greek to me" relate to food styling? Can you have a caper with capers? Are sharks misunderstood, etymologically and morally? And finally: where do allusions come from?Read more
Last April, I did a talk on the main stage at TED. Here it is. It’s about the dot on the letter i, and my favourite typo of all time.
From Me To You’s Alison Hitchcock and Brian Greenley didn’t know each other well. But when Brian was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Alison offered to write him letters. 100 letters later, their lives were changed.
One of the newest members of Radiotopia is Ear Hustle, a podcast made inside San Quentin by and about the men incarcerated there, in collaboration with Nigel Poor. In prison, a letter is a precious thing.Read more
"It's sort of frozen body language; that's what handwriting analysis is about."
Since it caught on a couple of hundred years ago, graphology - analysing handwriting to deduce characteristics of the writer - has struggled to be taken seriously as a practice. But undoubtedly, there are things about ourselves that we can't help but reveal in our handwriting.Read more
Does the available vocabulary for sex leave something to be desired? Namely desire? (And also the ability to use it wthout laughing/dying of embarrassment?) Aiding in the search for a better sex lexicon - sexicon - are Kaitlin Prest of fellow Radiotopia podcast The Heart, and romance novelist Mhairi McFarlane.Read more