Speculative fiction has always been a genre that challenges traditional views and established ways of seeing. We regularly discuss how the worlds that genre authors create are arenas in which it’s possible to tackle social narratives away from conventional models. But no genre can really be said to straddle fantasy and reality like magical realism. For this episode, we’re joined by Natasha Pulley, whose books do just that: lead us onto paths we think we know until we find ourselves lost in the woods.

We ask: where is the line between fantasy and reality? Is it subject to cultural variation? At its heart, is magical realism political? And is it capable of rewriting history? Listen on…

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Gabriel García Márquez
  • Angela Carter
  • Isabel Allende
  • Salman Rushdie
  • Graham Greene
  • Jane Austen
  • Lian Hearn
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
  • Beowulf
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • The Odyssey and The Iliad by Homer
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Jules Verne
  • True History by Lucian of Samosata
  • Straw Dogs by John Gray
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • Star Trek 🙄
  • Scrubs
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • The Singing Detective
  • VOX article on magical realism

Natasha Pulley is the author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, The Bedlam Stacks and The Lost Future of Pepperharrow. An international bestseller, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award, the Locus Awards, and remained on the Sunday Times bestseller list for much of summer 2016. The Bedlam Stacks was longlisted for the Walter Scott Award and shortlisted for the Encore Award.

Natasha has lived in Japan as a Daiwa Scholar, as well as China and Peru. She was a 2016 Glastone Writer in Residence, and she teaches on Bath Spa University’s Creative Writing BA, alongside short courses at the Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education.

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow is out now!