Interrobang: A Writing Podcast‽

In 1962, Martin K. Spektor, a New York-based advertiser and copywriter, coined the term “interrobang.” This novel punctuation mark combines the question and exclamation marks, nestling within the former’s quizzical curve the latter’s emphatic stroke. Spektor’s neologism likewise combines “interro,” for “interrogate,” with “bang,” for the word copyeditors traditionally used to refer to the exclamation mark.

While the interrobang hasn’t exactly entered the vernacular of the punctilious since 1962, its double meaning—exclamatory inquisitiveness—seemed to perfectly encapsulate the ethos of an interview-based podcast devoted to the art and science of writing. Either that, or we at the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication are just punctuation nerds. In each episode of Interrobang: A Writing Podcast‽ we’ll feature an interview with one or more writers affiliated with the University of British Columbia, chosen from across the disciplines to speak to the methods, challenges, and rewards of writing.

“Interrobang‽ A Writing Podcast” engages with UBC Vancouver community members who describe their current creative, professional, and academic publications, and talk about their creative process: where, why, and how they write.

Interrobang‽ A Writing Podcast

Season Two

Journalist Kamal Al-Solaylee is deeply invested in writing about people and ideas in a way that journeys outward from the self. His most recent book, Return: Why We Go Back to Where We Come From, published by HarperCollins (2021), examines the complex relationships that immigrants have with the countries they leave and what compels them to return home. Kamal is a journalist and an author of three books of nonfiction: Intolerable, Brown, and Return. He holds a PhD in English from Nottingham University and is currently a professor and director of the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Season One

What is the relationship between the public health and the health of democracies? What part do effective communications play in establishing and maintaining their mutual well-being? Heidi Tworek, Ian Beacock, and Eseohe Ojo investigate these questions in their policy report “Democratic Health Communications during COVID-19: A RAPID Response.”

Gregory Mackie’s new book is Beautiful Untrue Things: Forging Oscar Wilde’s Extraordinary Afterlife, published by University of Toronto Press (2019). This charmingly written monograph is an innovative study of Wilde’s afterlives, which is to say, all the ways in which his legend continued to circulate after his trials and death by way of literary forgeries and impersonations.

Evan Thompson is the author of Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy (Columbia University Press 2015). The book offers a fascinating exploration of consciousness at the limits of both neuroscientific knowledge as gleaned from Western science and phenomenological insight as established through many centuries of meditative practice in Asian traditions.