Episode 6

The Unpopular Opinions episode

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In this episode, we look at books and writers that put forward an unpopular opinion, including persuasive arguments for not becoming a mother, why you should be against empathy, and our author and editor guest Allison K Williams' opinion that not everyone has a book in them (that deserves readers).

Books and authors mentioned in this episode:

Motherhood by Sheila Heti

A thoughtful novel for those who are interested in both unpopular opinions and unique writing styles, Sheila Heti's auto fiction is a writing woman's exploration of motherhood, particularly the taboo reasons why she would not want to shoulder the role society has laid out for women for centuries.

Against Empathy by Paul Bloom

If you're anything like us over at the Boundless Book Club, you might be surprised by Paul Bloom's assertion that empathy is not the guiding light it is portrayed to be. Andrea takes us through this psychologist's take on the dangers of empathy as a tool for decision-making and how rationality and compassion are the way forward if we want to make the world a better place.

About Allison K Williams

Allison K Williams is a Writer, Editor, Speaker and Writing Coach. She is the author of Get Published in Literary Magazines and Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro From Blank Page to Book which publishes later this year. She has edited and coached writers to deals with Penguin Random House, Knopf, Mantle, Spencer Hill, St. Martin’s and independent presses. She’s guided essayists to publication in the New Yorker, Time, the Guardian, the New York Times, McSweeney’s and TED Talks. Allison runs the Rebirth Your Book writing retreats virtually and around the world. As Social Media Editor for Brevity, she inspires thousands of writers with blogs on craft and the writing life. A former circus performer, Allison has written for NPR, CBC, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Creative Nonfiction, McSweeney’s, Kenyon Review Online and Travelers’ Tales.

About us:

Ahlam Bolooki is the Festival Director for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Arab World. Ahlam finds it difficult to choose a favourite genre as it’s always changing and she’s still in the midst of discovering her literary self. She’s catching up on all the gems she missed as a child such as The Little Prince and The Giving Tree, but has also developed a new appetite for Crime Fiction so who knows what’s next?

Andrea Gissdal is the Head of Communications and Marketing for the Emirates Literature Foundation. From a voracious and indiscriminate reader as a child, to a part time bookseller as a student, as an adult she has become a literary omnivore but with a preference for fiction. She also dabbles in creative writing, and has a penchant for Scrabble.

Annabelle Corton is part of the team that puts together the programme of events for the EmiratesLitFest each year. She runs the Festival Book Club and has a background in guesting and presenting on talk radio shows about various literary topics. She likes words like ‘equinox’ and ‘vespa’, and loves a good pun. She’ll read anything in reach, but has a fondness for witty tussles of good vs. evil on page and screen, especially vampire fiction where a great deal is at stake. Get it? Stake? ….She’s not sorry.



About the Podcast

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The Boundless Book Club
Tune in for fiction and non-fiction recommendations, and great conversations about books and authors from the Emirates Literature Foundation team and special guests.

About your host

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Emirates Literature Foundation

The Emirates Literature Foundation is a non-profit NGO established to change lives for the better by spreading the love of literature. Our flagship event is the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Middle East.