David Vincent


Historian David Vincent discusses with Ivan six things which he thinks should be better known.

David Vincent is Professor of Social History at the Open University, where he was previously Pro Vice Chancellor.  He is an Honorary Professor of History at Keele University, a recent visiting research fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at Cambridge, and a Research Associate of the Wellcome Trust funded Pathologies of Solitude project.  He is the author of a range of studies of British and European social history since the late eighteenth century. His new book is A History of Solitude (Polity, Cambridge, April 2020).

  1. Montaigne’s Tower https://www.angloinfo.com/blogs/france/dordogne/lot-of-livin/a-tour-of-montaignes-tower/
  2. The poetry of John Clare https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2004/10/07/getting-clare-clear/
  3. Melverley Church http://melverleychurch.co.uk/
  4. Madame Caroline Testout climbing rose https://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/mme-caroline-testout
  5. The Stiperstones https://www.getoutwiththekids.co.uk/daysout/days-out-england/days-out-in-shropshire/stiperstones/
  6. Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor (1861) https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/henry-mayhews-london-labour-and-the-london-poor

Rose George


Author Rose George discusses with Ivan six things which should be better known. You can find out more about her at http://www.rosegeorge.com. Her books include Nine Pints, Ninety Percent of Everything and The Big Necessity.

1. Janet Vaughan https://longreads.com/2015/03/10/a-very-naughty-little-girl/

2. The bidet https://www.bidet.org/blogs/news/history-of-the-bidet

3. Dr. George Merryweather https://whitbymuseum.org.uk/whats-here/collections/special-collections/tempest-prognosticator/

4. Lucio Battisti https://newsroom.spotify.com/2019-11-11/lucio-battisti-a-legend-in-ten-songs/

5. Fell running https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/a763311/60-second-guide-fell-running/

6. Fred Vargas https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/1015075/fred-vargas.html

Emily Temple

Emily Temple_credit Nina Subin 1

Novelist Emily Temple discusses with Ivan six things which she thinks should be better known.

Emily Temple is the Managing Editor at Literary Hub, where she recommends more books than anyone could read. Her first novel, The Lightness, was published in June 2020 by the Borough Press (UK) and William Morrow (US). You can read more about Emily and see her Lit Hub work.


  1. Jonathan Richman https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/jonathan-richman-i-jonathan/
  2. Lagaan https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/lagaan-once-upon-a-time-in-india-2002
  3. Cute aggression https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/12/31/679832549/when-too-cute-is-too-much-the-brain-can-get-aggressive
  4. The legend of Peter I and Inês de Castro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs3cZMsIrmQ
  5. Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/a-novel-of-infidelity-in-dialogue-with-elena-ferrantes-the-days-of-abandonment
  6. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick https://www.superdrug.com/Skin/Face-Skin-Care/Lip-Care/Lip-Balms/Palmer’s-Cocoa-Butter-Formula-Swivel-Stick-14g/p/758016

Cal Flyn


Writer Cal Flyn discusses with Ivan six things which she thinks should be better known.

Cal’s first book Thicker Than Water was published in 2016. It deals with the colonisation of Australia and questions of inherited guilt. Her second book, Islands of Abandoment, is due out in 2021.

  1. A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/book-of-a-lifetime-a-place-of-greater-safety-by-hilary-mantel-2218080.html
  2. Moth appreciation http://nationalmothweek.org/
  3. Sandstone Press https://sandstonepress.com/
  4. The research of John C Lilley https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/06/how-a-science-experiment-led-to-sexual-encounters-for-a-woman-and-a-dolphin/372606/ and https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/the-order-of-the-dolphin-setis-secret-origin-story
  5. Gladstone’s Library https://www.gladstoneslibrary.org/
  6. Ceilidh dancing https://www.scotsman.com/health/scottish-dancing-can-help-keep-old-age-bay-2002734

David Spiegelhalter


David Spiegelhalter discusses with Ivan six things which he thinks should be better known.

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter is Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication in the University of Cambridge, which aims to improve the way that statistical evidence is used by health professionals, patients, lawyers and judges, media and policy-makers. He advises organisations and government agencies on risk communication and is a regular media commentator on statistical issues, with a particular focus on communicating uncertainty.

His background is in medical statistics, and he has over 200 refereed publications and is co-author of 6 textbooks, as well as The Norm Chronicles (with Michael Blastland), and Sex by Numbers. He works extensively with the media, and presented the BBC4 documentaries Tails you Win: the Science of Chance, the award-winning Climate Change by Numbers, and in 2011 came seventh in an episode of BBC1’s Winter Wipeout.

He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2005, and knighted in 2014 for services to medical statistics. He was President of the Royal Statistical Society for 2017-2018.  His bestselling book, The Art of Statistics, was published in March 2019.

  1. Alan Bennett reading Winnie the Pooh https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v08/n22/alan-bennett/diary
  2. Ilfracombe https://www.visitilfracombe.co.uk/see-do/
  3. Whelks https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/whelks-are-healthy-versatile-and-sustainable-so-why-did-we-stop-eating-them-in-the-uk-9598928.html
  4. Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/dec/04/riddley-walker-russell-hoban-book-club
  5. The Singing Detective https://www.npr.org/2012/02/24/147037460/25-years-later-the-singing-detective-still-shines?t=1591547850222
  6. Poisson distribution https://understandinguncertainty.org/another-tragic-cluster-how-surprised-should-we-be

Ilfracombe harbour


Brooke Allen


Brooke Allen discusses with Ivan six things which she thinks should be better known.

Brooke Allen has a PhD in English from Columbia University. She writes frequently for newspapers and magazines and has published two volumes of literary essays as well as works of history, travel, and biography. She spent eight years on the Literature faculty at Bennington College in Vermont, and currently teaches History of Thought in the Bennington Prison Education Initiative. She lives in the Hudson Valley, New York.

Her books are Benazir Bhutto: Favored Daughter, Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers, The Other Side of the Mirror: An American Travels Through Syria, Twentieth-Century Attitudes: Literary Powers in Uncertain Times and Artistic License: Three Centuries of Good Writing and Bad Behavior.

  1. E Nesbit https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1964/12/03/the-writing-of-e-nesbit/
  2. The Blue Ridge Mountains https://blog.vistadevelopers.com/what-its-like-to-live-in-the-blue-ridge-mountains
  3. Rohinton Mistry https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v24/n08/frank-kermode/in-the-spirit-of-mayhew
  4. The correspondence of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams https://www.history.com/news/jefferson-adams-founding-frenemies
  5. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven https://britishart.yale.edu/
  6. The movies of Esther Williams https://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/jun/06/esther-williams-dies-91

Deirdre Mask


Deirdre Mask discusses with Ivan six things which she thinks should be better known.

Deirdre Mask is a lawyer, a writer and sometime academic. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Economist, Lit Hub, The Harvard Law Review, The New Hibernia Review, The Dublin Review and Irish Pages. Her first book The Address Book is out now.

Address Book

  1. Missing Maps www.missingmaps.org
  2. Welikia Project www.welikia.org
  3. Gillespie Nature Reserve https://www.islington.gov.uk/sports-parks-and-trees/nature-reserves/gillespie-park-and-ecology-centre
  4. Proxy Address www.proxyaddress.co.uk
  5. The 25th Hour https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/25th-hour-2003
  6. Be Thankful For What You’ve Got by William DeVaughn https://open.spotify.com/track/3PrqRBsMdy8eZkbDqDb32p?si=ySuRENUWSzKpqT4bG7eIMA

Peter Gatrell


Peter Gatrell discusses with Ivan six things which he thinks should be better known.

Peter Gatrell teaches modern history at the University of Manchester. His books include a trilogy on refugee history: the prize-winning book A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia during World War 1, Free World? The Campaign to Save the World’s Refugees, 1956-1963 and The Making of the Modern Refugee. His latest book, The Unsettling of Europe: the Great Migration, 1945 to the Present, a new history of Europe seen through the lens of migration, appeared with Penguin Books and Basic Books in August 2019.

  1. Aurora Mardiganian https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/i-am-armenian-the-intriguing-life-of-aurora-mardiganian
  2. The John Rylands University Library, Manchester www.library.manchester.ac.uk/rylands/visit/explore/
  3. Stromboli https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/2908-modern-marriage-on-stromboli
  4. Maria Yudina https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=zF03KVIsrns
  5. Mikhail Bulgakov’s A Country Doctor’s Notebook www.nybooks.com/daily/2013/11/14/hamming-up-bulgakov/
  6. The Forest of Bowland https://www.forestofbowland.com/

Lucy Jones


Lucy Jones discusses with Ivan six things which she thinks should be better known.

Lucy Jones is a writer and journalist. She previously worked at NME and the Daily Telegraph, and her writing on culture, science and nature has been published in BBC Earth, BBC Wildlife, The Sunday Times, the Guardian and the New Statesman. She is the author of Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild (Allen Lane) and Foxes Unearthed (Elliott & Thompson).

1. The psychological aspect of our relationship to nature https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/305/305463/losing-eden/9780241441534.html
2. Matrescence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOsX_HnJtHU
3. A Woman in a Polar Night by Christiane Ritter https://www.pushkinpress.com/product/a-woman-in-the-polar-night/
4. Sophie Mason https://www.sophiemason.co/
5. Dream of the Rood http://www.apocalyptic-theories.com/literature/dor/medora1.html
6. National Trust venues on car journeys https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/calm-places-to-pause

Ali Thurm


Ali Thurm discusses six things with Ivan which she thinks should be better known.

Ali is a novelist, poet and teacher. After balancing a career in primary teaching with writing part time, she was taken on by the literary agency Emily Sweet Associates in 2016. Her debut novel, One Scheme of Happiness was published in February 2020 by Retreat West Books. Find out more about Ali on her blog: https://alithurm.com and on Twitter @alithurm

  1. Community gardening https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/community-gardening/Resources/community-garden
  2. Quiet by Susan Cain https://www.amazon.co.uk/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0141029196/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr
  3. Pink grapefruit marmalade https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jan/17/nigel-slater-marmalade-recipes
  4. Mimi Khalvati http://www.mimikhalvati.co.uk/
  5. Charles Blondin https://www.notablebiographies.com/supp/Supplement-A-Bu-and-Obituaries/Blondin-Charles.html
  6. Loose leaf tea https://leafteashop.co.uk/benefits/ and https://www.wikihow.com/Brew-Loose-Leaf-Tea