The Simon Round interview

Interview: Mitch Symons

By Simon Round, March 18, 2011

Here is a quiz question for you. Who is Britain's foremost expert on trivia? The answer, almost certainly, is Mitchell Symons. Although such things are hard to quantify, Symons has written a string of bestselling books packed with interesting, weird and occasionally gross facts about everything from sex to travel to the toilet habits of the Inuit people.


Interview: Gary Shteyngart

By Simon Round, February 24, 2011

Gary Shteyngart is having great difficulty dealing with a problem he never thought he would encounter.


Interview: Sandra Bernhard

By Simon Round, February 3, 2011

Sandra Bernhard is a very serious comedian - in all senses of the word. She has been performing live for over 30 years now, in a career which has featured stand-up TV (notably on the Roseanne show), movies, music and a highly publicised friendship with Madonna. But she is not one to take comedy lightly. Her demeanour is severe, her body is thin and angular and her manner is all sharp edges. There are no flip comments, no asides, no jokes. These are clearly reserved for the stage.


Interview: Dan Plesch

By Simon Round, January 28, 2011

Historians like nothing better than to nail a myth. Dan Plesch is confident that he has managed to refute two fairly major misconceptions about the Second World War. The first is that the United Nations was a creation of the post-war world, and the second is that, for all the suspicions that the Nazis were murdering Jews in Eastern Europe, this was never formally acknowledged by the Allied powers.


Interview: Oliver Burkeman

By Simon Round, January 20, 2011

Oliver Burkeman carries an egg timer wherever he goes. This is not so that he can boil the perfect four-minute egg at a moment's notice, but rather as a tool in his constant battle against procrastination.


Interview: Sara Shilo

By Simon Round, January 6, 2011

Sara Shilo came late to novel writing. The author of The Falafel King is Dead, which became a literary sensation when it was published in Israel in 2005, did not start writing until she was 40. But even more surprising is the fact that she did not even manage to read an entire novel from start to finish until she was the same age.


Interview: Marc Dubois

By Simon Round, December 9, 2010

Whenever there is a humanitarian crisis, the international aid organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), needs to find the resources to provide emergency care for those in need. Currently the organisation is active in more than 60 countries around the world and its resources are stretched, so you would think that MSF's Jewish UK executive director, Marc DuBois, would be lobbying the government to provide more assistance in these countries. However the Philadelphia-born aid worker has found himself in the unusual position of opposing government-sponsored medical aid.


Interview: Abraham Foxman

By Simon Round, December 2, 2010

Abraham Foxman has spent most of his adult life attempting to debunk racist stereotypes. As national director of the US-based Anti-Defamation League, his voice is regularly heard condemning antisemitism. Ironically, so strident has been that voice that some feel he has turned himself into a stereotype - that of the touchy Jew.


Interview: Daniel Mariaschin

By Simon Round, November 25, 2010

Jewish leaders do not come more much more influential than Daniel Mariaschin. As executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International and the director of the BBI Centre for Human Rights and Public Policy, the American has the ear of world leaders on matters of Jewish interest and much more.

B'nai B'rith has been accredited as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) by the United Nations since 1947 and as such plays a prominent role in campaigning and lobbying. So what does Mariaschin (pictured) plan to discuss with Foreign Office representatives - his next appointment after our interview?


Interview: Nigel Lawson

By Simon Round, November 18, 2010

When the Coalition government came to power in May it faced an unprecedented budget deficit of over more than £150 billion, at a time when Britain seemed to be on the verge of sinking back into recession.