Julius Malema

Julius Malema illustration by James Ferguson
©James Ferguson

The combative leader of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters explains why apartheid still exists and no one can tell him how to dress

©Patrick Morgan

Wang Wei, art collector

One half of the power couple who paid $170m for a Modigliani talks about buying western masterpieces — and why she only started liking her husband after they had children

Illustration by James Ferguson of Julian Barnes
©James Ferguson

Julian Barnes, writer

Over a ‘girlie’ onion tart in London, the novelist talks to Caroline Daniel about crying, bravery, death — and being fond of ‘useless’ politicians

Illustration by Patrick Morgan of Roland Fryer
©Patrick Morgan

Roland Fryer, economist

Over steak and fries, the US economist says that the best way to combat police violence and poor schools is through data, not personal experience

Illustration by James Ferguson of Charles Koch
©James Ferguson

Charles Koch, businessman

Over a pulled-pork sandwich, the controversial businessman talks about power-broking for the Republicans and reshaping his ‘evil guy’ image

illustration of Oleg Tinkov
©James Ferguson

Oleg Tinkov, businessman

The credit-card tycoon on Putin, Trump and feminism — and why he’s not frightened of anything

Illustration by James Ferguson of Jeremey Clarkson
©James Ferguson

Jeremy Clarkson, TV presenter

The world’s most famous petrolhead talks cars, cigarettes and Kristin Scott Thomas with Jeremy Paxman

Illustration of Vanessa Selbst
©Luke Waller

Vanessa Selbst, professional poker player

Over octopus in Brooklyn, the poker star discusses life in the male-dominated game — and using her winnings to fight inequality

Illustration by James Ferguson of Richard Leakey
©James Ferguson

Richard Leakey, palaeontologist

The palaeontologist who has unearthed clues to mankind’s origins, lost his legs in an air crash and cracked down on Kenyan poachers talks to Clive Cookson

Pablo Iglesias illustration
©James Ferguson

Pablo Iglesias, politician

The leader of Podemos, Spain’s anti-austerity movement, talks about Merkel, Muhammad Ali — and why ‘people come and touch me’

John Oliver, TV host

The satirical news anchor talks about failure in England, hosting his own US show and why his comedy isn’t activism

Christiana Figueres, UN official

Can the UN’s top climate change official save the world from catastrophe?

Bill Burns, diplomat

On predicting chaos in Iraq and the ‘adrenaline rush’ of international diplomacy. By Gideon Rachman

Sepp Blatter, Fifa’s suspended president

His reputation may be spoiled but his legacy is intact, insists the suspended president of Fifa over ‘Mama Blatter’s salad’ in Zurich

Ben Bernanke, former Fed chairman

After fighting financial fires, the former Fed chief is glad to no longer be making ‘tough calls’. Martin Wolf meets him in Chicago

Novak Djokovic, tennis player

Peter Aspden joins Novak Djokovic on his private jet — and on court — to find out what it’s like to be the world’s number one tennis player

Jonathan Franzen, author

What is it about the great American novelist that provokes such strong reactions? Lucy Kellaway meets him for mackerel and mullet in London

Marian Goodman, gallerist

Over chicken in Paris, the grande dame of American art talks to Jackie Wullschlager about Richter, radicalism and today’s over-moneyed market

Ta-Nehisi Coates, author

The American writer hailed as the intellectual heir to James Baldwin has moved to Paris. Over ‘le cheesecake’, he talks to Simon Kuper about race, riots and Barack Obama

Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general

Over sea bream in New York, the UN’s secretary-general talks about refugees, red tape and his own remarkable journey


This column is a weekly interview in the Life & Arts section with leading cultural and business figures.