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24 December 2015

Best of the NS in 2015: Interviews and Profiles

Our best pieces from the past year. In this selection, our favourite interviews and profiles.

By New Statesman

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The cellist of Auschwitz

By Xan Rice

Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was sent to the death camp as a child. Music saved her.

Naz Shah: “The victory is my mother’s, too”

By Samira Shackle

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Naz Shah’s defeat of George Galloway was the final step in a remarkable struggle for familial redemption.

How Bruce Hornsby survived a hit song

By Kate Mossman

From the Grateful Dead to Arnold Schoenberg, via Tossers Wood.

Michael Gove, the polite assassin

By Ian Leslie

The Messianic restlessness of the justice secretary.

“Let’s talk about genre”: Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation

The two literary heavyweights talk about the politics of storytelling, the art of the swordfight and why dragons are good for the economy.

Harriet Harman: “You can’t have social mobility if the rungs of the ladder are too wide”

By Stephen Bush

Pre general election, the then deputy Labour leader spoke about feminism, Westminster and her party’s chances.

Tom Stoppard on art, Charlie Hebdo – and why it’s a bad time to be a voter

By Erica Wagner

“Time is short, life is short. There’s a lot to know.”

Liz Kendall: “I didn’t see any point in pretending”

By Stephen Bush

Who exactly is Liz Kendall?

The man who speaks 32 languages – and counting

By Xan Rice

When Ioannis Ikonomou arrived in Brussels as an interpreter, the EU had 12 official languages. He learnt them all – then kept going.

“I think the dead are with us”: John Berger at 88

By Philip Maughan

The life and work of John Berger represents a challenge. How to describe a writer whose bibliography contains ten “novels”, four “plays”, three collections of “poetry” and 33 books labelled “other”?

From war to Westminster: is Labour’s Dan Jarvis a future Prime Minister?

By Xan Rice

In 2007, Dan Jarvis led a unit of paratrooners in Helmand Province. Four years later, he became MP for Barnsley Central.

“I was killed when I was 27”: the curious afterlife of Terence Trent D’Arby

By Kate Mossman

Terence Trent D’Arby’s 1987 debut album sold a million copies in three days. The music press went mad for him. Where was there to go but down?

“He doesn’t understand the poor”: The working class teacher who tried to turn Iain Duncan Smith left wing

By Anoosh Chakelian

Glyn Banks taught English at the HMS Conway school, when Iain Duncan Smith was a 16-year-old student there. He recalls how rightwing the Work and Pensions Secretary was even as a teenager.

Yanis Varoufakis: My five month battle to save Greece

By Harry Lambert

Harry Lambert interviews Yanis Varoufakis, hero of the Greek left.

Keynes’s bulldog: a profile of Ed Balls, Labour’s most polarising politician

By George Eaton

If Ed Balls becomes chancellor, he will be one of the most experienced – and divisive – politicians ever to hold the job. 

Michael Moorcock: “I think Tolkien was a crypto-fascist”

By Andrew Harrison

He revolutionised science fiction with symbolism, sex and psychoactive drugs. Now, at 75, he has invented another genre.

Ali Smith: “We are a selfish, idiot generation”

By Erica Wagner

The award-winning author talks Scotland, politics, and why audiences want hard fiction.