How special is the relationship between the literatures of the UK and the US? Because we share a language, it’s easy to assume we understand each other perfectly, but the results of a recent competition would suggest there is a growing gulf between the two traditions. Our panellists look at the differences, and search out some of the American poets we should be looking out for.

We also have a reading of a poem from Billy Collins, one of the poets to take the mantle of American poet laureate, and we look at how novelists, from Saul Bellow to Ian McEwan and Hilary Mantel, have fared on their travels across the Atlantic.

Finally, we return to Europe for an interview with Rose Tremain, whose latest novel takes her to France.

Reading list:

Trespass by Rose Tremain (Chatto & Windus)

Homer and Langley by EL Doctorow (Little Brown)

Taking off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes by Billy Collins (Picador)

Easy by Marie Ponsot (Knopf)

Poems 1959-2009 by Frederick Seidel (Farrar Straus Giroux)