CBC host Eleanor Wachtel poses for a photograph on the red carpet before the Giller Prize ceremony which is being held at the Ritz-Carlton, Nov.10, 2014. Photo: Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images
End of an Era: Eleanor Wachtel leaves CBC Radio’s ‘Writers & Company’ After More Than Three Decades on the Air
After a career interviewing what she describes as the "finest minds in the world," the long-time radio host says she's ready to begin a new chapter. / BY Kisha Ferguson / May 9th, 2023
For loyal listeners of the show, tuning into an episode of Writers & Company was like cracking the spine on a new book. For 33 years, Eleanor Wachtel brought the world’s literary canon to our doorsteps, names that no doubt many of us have at least one of on our bookshelves. They include Alice Munro, Toni Morrison, Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Ondaatje, Carol Shields, John le Carré, Margaret Atwood, Philip Roth, Zadie Smith, Mordecai Richler, Salman Rushdie and the list goes on.
Originally conceived as a magazine show featuring several authors, the audience’s strong reaction to a one-hour interview with South African author and Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer, saw the show transition to a more in-depth, single author format in 1991.
In a statement released by CBC, Wachtel described hosting the show as her “dream job” and said leaving it is bittersweet. “It’s been a privilege to engage with the finest minds in the world, and my life has been enriched beyond measure.”
Wachtel’s interviews have found their way into print including in Writers & Company (1993), More Writers & Company (1997), The Best of Writers & Company (2016), which celebrated the show’s 25th anniversary, and Random Illuminations: Conversations with Carol Shields (2007).
Wachtel says she wants to parlay her wealth of experience into different projects. “I don’t think of this as retirement. Retirement is not a word that I relate to. I see it more as a change of pace. I’m planning to stay in the game.”
The final show featuring special guests will be recorded in front of a live audience at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto on June 16, with the final broadcast airing on June 28.