Banter / Read, Watch and Listen


Welcome to the new home for Zed: The Zoomer Book Club videos, where you will find recordings from author events, book club meetings and interviews with leading literary lights. What better way to inaugurate this page than with my July 2022 talk with the vaunted American-Canadian writer, John Irving?

We dive deep into his latest novel, The Last Chairlift, an elegant masterpiece about love, tolerance and empathy, shot through with all the political commentary we’ve come to expect from the writer.



The conversation veers into unexpected territory as Irving, 80, opens up about his absent biological father, his daughter’s transition from male to female and why he detests William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Watch as Irving explains why his novels are so dark, what he’s working on next and how Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations may be his emergency novel, but Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick taught him to know how a book is going to end before he starts writing (not to mention how it took 20 years to get a tattoo of a sperm whale on his forearm). It’s a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the man who gifted us 15 novels, including The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Hotel New Hampshire. – Kim Honey