Irish novelist, journalist and scholar Colm Toíbín talks about Thomas Mann’s formation as a democrat and the historic circumstances that formed his political thinking. Toíbín’s highly anticipated upcoming novel "The Magician“ (Simon & Schuster, 2021) tells the life of Thomas Mann, an epic family saga set across a half-century spanning World War I, the rise of Hitler, World War II, and the Cold War. With our hosts, he discusses Mann’s relationship to the United States, his admiration for Franklin D. Roosevelt and how Mann turned from a "nonpolitical man" into an important advocate of social democracy. Tóibín is currently Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University, professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester and Chancellor of the University of Liverpool.
Tom Zoellner (host) is the New York Times bestselling author of eight nonfiction books, including Island on Fire, Uranium Train, and The Heartless Stone. He teaches at Chapman University and Dartmouth College. A former reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, he is the politics editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Aida Baghernejad (co-host) is a (pop) culture and food journalist based in Berlin. Her work has appeared in a number of regional, national and international media outlets, among them the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the San Francisco Chronicle, tipBerlin, Intro Magazine, Spex and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. She has previously taught at King’s College London and the Humboldt Universität Berlin.
Lisa Bartfai (producer) is an independent radio journalist and producer splitting her time between rural Maine and Southern California. Her work explores the intersection of culture and politics, and can be heard on NPR stations and podcasts all over the country.