Today’s guest is writer, photographer, critic, and curator Teju Cole. In this extended conversation, we use Cole’s latest photo book Fernweh as a lens through which to look at his entire career, from his novels to his essay collection, from his collaborative work of image-text to the curation of his Spotify playlists. “Who is a stranger? Who is kin? What do we owe each other? What, in the inferno, is not infernal?” he asks at the beginning of Human Archipelago. We explore how these questions echo through his work, and look carefully at the nature of looking itself, and the ethics of how we look and what we show.
Teju Cole has added a remarkable three-part reading to the Between the Covers bonus audio archive, one where each of the three texts chosen is in conversation with the others. He begins by reading from John Berger’s The Shape of a Pocket, then from poet Etel Adnan speaking on prehistoric cave paintings and painters, and finally he gives us a glimpse from his forthcoming essay collection Black Paper, reading a piece addressed to John Berger himself. You can find out more about the bonus audio archive and the many other potential benefits of becoming a listener-supporter of the show at the Between the Covers Patreon page.