Psychedelic drugs: Michael Pollan on the history, science and experience of taking them – books podcast

On this week’s show, we’re talking to Michael Pollan. You may know him from his food writing - books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Botany of Desire, or Cooked, which is also now a Netflix show. His latest focus, however, is something quite different – still something consumable – it’s psychedelic drugs.

Famous for being a very hands-on journalist, Michael tried psychedelics himself, including LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca and the venom of the Sonoran desert toad, resulting in a truly astonishing book: How to Change Your Mind, The New Science of Psychedelics.

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What is it like being a first-time novelist today? – books podcast

In some ways, it has never been easier to become an author – but in others, it has never been harder. While self-publishing, blogging and crowdfunding have opened up opportunities, there are also unprecedented financial pressures that determine who can and can’t afford to write, with books cheaper than ever and advances getting lower.

On this week’s show, Sian sits down with two first-time novelists to discuss the challenges and joys of publishing a book today: Paula Cocozza, author of How to Be Human and Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young. Both women are up for the Desmond Elliott prize, an award intended to help debut writers to get on with their next book.

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