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Ian McEwan, Why Do You Want to Live Forever?

Ian McEwan, Why Do You Want to Live Forever?

VonAlles gesagt?

Ian McEwan, Why Do You Want to Live Forever?

VonAlles gesagt?

131 Minuten
20. Dez. 2019


He was ranked 19th in the Telegraph's list of the 100 most important people in British culture; the Times counts him among the greatest British writers since 1945; and he is the recipient of a CBE, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire: Ian McEwan is our guest on the first English-language episode of "Alles gesagt?" ("Nuff Said?"), ZEIT's never-ending podcast.

Our hosts, ZEIT ONLINE Editor-in-Chief Jochen Wegner and ZEITMagazin Editor-in-Chief Christoph Amend, met with the bestselling novelist in London, where he was kind enough to host them for the podcast in his home.

Born in 1948, Ian McEwan grew up in a working-class family before moving to London in 1974 and becoming one of the most successful novelists of his generation.

His first novel, "The Cement Garden," was published in 1978 and he received the Man Booker Award for "Amsterdam," which was followed by "Atonement," "Saturday," "Solar," "Sweet Tooth," and, in 2016, "Nutshell." Several of his books have been turned into movies.

This year, he published "Machines Like Me" about Artificial Intelligence and the political Brexit-satire "The Cockroach."

In his "Alles gesagt?" episode, Ian McEwan plunges into the Brexit debate and also addresses the climate crisis, artificial intelligence, his family's complicated story and what it takes to be a writer. After two hours and 10 minutes, a bit of Sancerre and some cheese from his favorite London shop our guest finally said the codeword. Because at "Alles gesagt?", the conversation only ends when the guest says it's over.

The following are time codes for the contents of the interview:

0:06:22 "The last election was the perfect storm."
0:09:25 The roots of European populism
0:11:02 "For Brussels, you can read Germany."
0:13:00 The older voters are, the more they voted for Brexit
0:13:57 Talking about his generation
0:15:51 "We are in a new political era: The Art of Lying."
0:17:41 Meeting Germany’s president
0:20:13 What is great about democracy?
0:25:00 A united Ireland?
0:29:30 On climate change
0:34:56 "We are the problem, and we are the only possible solution."
0:36:30 How does he write?
0:47:00 Being an "After Eight" for "John Schellnhuber"
0:55:10 "The delights of writing"
1:00 Ian McEwan as a pupil
1:02 Getting stoned with Philip Roth
1:07 Writing at university
1:13 His dramatic family story
1:23 His literature teacher
1:27 Cheese and wine
1:35 The painful story of his secret brother
1:45 When the brother showed up, his mother had dementia
1:52 The famous A/B Test
1:55 Queen or no Queen? "No Queen!" Putin or Trump? "Trump!"
1:59 Let’s take the Turing Test
2:05 "Yes, we are biological machines, but that is not all we are."
2:06 A four-year-old at the beginning of spoken language
2:07 It is easy for us to have emotional relationships with machines.
2:09 Would you like to live forever? "Yeah."

A new interview is published roughly every four weeks.

Who else would you like to see us conduct an endless interview with? Write to us at with your suggestions.

Production: Maria Lorenz/Pool Artists
Photograph: Kalpesh Lathigra
Research: Hannah Schraven, Vincent Mank
Editorial staff: Mounia Meiborg
20. Dez. 2019

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Wir befragen außergewöhnliche Menschen - so lange, bis sie selbst erklären, dass jetzt “alles gesagt” sei. Ein Gespräch kann also zwölf Minuten oder drei Stunden dauern. Die Interviewer, ZEITMagazin-Chefredakteur Christoph Amend und ZEIT-ONLINE-Chefredakteur Jochen Wegner, sind auf alles vorbereitet - und haben hunderte Fragen und meistens auch ein paar Spiele für ihren Gast dabei.