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The Guardian Books podcast


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The Guardian Books podcast is our weekly look at the world of books, poetry and great writing presented by  Claire Armitstead,  Richard Lea, & Sian Cain. With in-depth interviews with leading authors and investigations into the thematic trends in con...Show More
George Saunders's Man Booker win and Valeria Luiselli – books podcast

43:04 | Oct 18th, 2017

We discuss whether Lincoln in the Bardo really is the best novel of 2017, and Mexican writer Luiselli joins us in the studio
Richard Ford discusses his family memoir – books podcast

40:43 | Jun 6th, 2017

The Pulitzer prize-winning author talks to Sarah Churchwell about his new memoir, Between Them: Remembering my Parents
Does 'the English canon' still shape what we read? – books podcast

32:10 | Aug 20th

Writers including Penelope Lively, Caryl Philips, Howard Jacobson and Yomi Sode explore how this idea has changed over time. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
My friend, the fake German heiress: a true crime special – books podcast

32:41 | Aug 13th

Rachel DeLoache Williams recalls her time with hoaxer Anna Sorokin in My Friend Anna and we rank the best true crime books. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
How we can learn to stop worrying and love language – books podcast

35:54 | Aug 6th

David Shariatmadari reveals how English is evolving – or in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s case, refusing to – and Cecelia Watson shares her passion for the semicolon. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">thegu...Show More
Lisa Taddeo on sex and desire in Three Women – books podcast

40:17 | Jul 30th

This week, Taddeo discusses her bestseller about the intimate lives of women, and we take a look at the 2019 Booker prize longlist. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
Ocean Vuong and the new Great American Novel - books podcast

38:13 | Jul 23rd

On this week’s show, we speak to the poet about his debut novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and discuss the evolution of the Great American Novel. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardi...Show More
Iris Murdoch at 100 and Howard Jacobson on humour and shame – books podcast

38:24 | Jul 16th

On this week’s show, we talk to Jacobson about his new novel, and discuss the compelling career of Murdoch. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
Tracy K Smith on the place of poetry in modern America – books podcast

26:45 | Jul 2nd

The outgoing US poet laureate talks about her career, and we chat about the work of Alice Oswald, the new Oxford professor of poetry. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</...Show More
Bernadine Evaristo and Lene Wold – books podcast

45:04 | Jun 25th

This podcast contains descriptions of violence which some may find distressing. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
What is it like being a refugee? with Pajtim Statovci and Dina Nayeri – books podcast

31:42 | Jun 18th

For Refugee Week, two writers discuss their experiences as asylum seekers and the challenges facing refugees around the world. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
Women's prize winner Tayari Jones and Sandra Newman – books podcast

37:13 | Jun 11th

On this week’s show, we meet the author of An American Marriage fresh from her win, and speak to Newman about her time-travelling novel The Heavens. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian...Show More
Hay festival special with Pat Barker, John Lanchester, Max Porter and more – books podcast

47:19 | Jun 4th

Claire and Sian bring you some of the highlights from the annual books festival held in the Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
Inside the world of trauma cleaners – books podcast

33:39 | May 28th

Sarah Krasnostein talks about her biography The Trauma Cleaner and we remember children’s author Judith Kerr. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
The life of Alexander von Humboldt, plus foraging for food – books podcast

41:34 | May 21st

On this week’s show, Andrea Wulf shares her new graphic novel biography of Alexander von Humboldt and professional forager John Wright takes us on a hunt for wild food in London. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguar...Show More
'You can't sustain a career on shocking people': is Bret Easton Ellis genuine? – books podcast

49:47 | May 14th

The American Psycho author talks about the reactions to his first book in 10 years, and we discuss the UK’s new poet laureate, Simon Armitage. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/b...Show More
Heida: the Icelandic model who became a shepherd – books podcast

36:31 | May 7th

On this week’s show, we speak to Heida Ásgeirsdóttir about her life as a farmer, and to Irish writer Sinéad Gleeson about her collection Constellations. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguar...Show More
Joe Dunthorne and Sarah Crossan on poetry and fiction – books podcast

39:05 | Apr 30th

On this week’s show, Crossan talks about using poetry in her novel-in-verse Toffee and Dunthorne shares why he writes poetry to escape novels. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/b...Show More
Are we too reverent with William Shakespeare? – books podcast

42:04 | Apr 23rd

On this week’s show, we sit down with Shakespeare expert Emma Smith and novelist Tash Aw talks about his latest book, We, the Survivors. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspo...Show More
The Man Booker international shortlist and Nicole Flattery – books podcast

39:46 | Apr 16th

On this week’s show, we discuss the 2019 shortlist for the best fiction in translation with Boyd Tonkin, and speak to Nicole Flattery about her short story collection, Show Them a Good Time. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https:/...Show More
Elizabeth-Jane Burnett and Ian Maleney on soil, family and loss – books podcast

40:55 | Apr 9th

This week we hear two contrasting approaches to eternal questions of belonging, plus regional differences in literature. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
Nina Stibbe and the price of an expert bookseller – books podcast

39:08 | Apr 2nd

This week we talk comedy with Nina Stibbe and turn to the serious topic of booksellers’ pay. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
Why is it so hard for white people to talk about racism? – books podcast

46:09 | Mar 26th

On this week’s show, academic Robin DiAngelo talks about her book White Fragility and Margaret Busby reflects on her new collection of black female writers, New Daughters of Africa. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theg...Show More
Therapy on the couch, plus the London book fair – books podcast

31:32 | Mar 19th

On this week’s show, we talk to AK Benjamin and Anthony Good about two very different takes on therapy, plus the most exciting books due in the next year. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">thegu...Show More
Finding solace in nature, with Luke Turner – books podcast

35:44 | Mar 12th

The music journalist and writer takes Claire for a wander through Epping Forest as they discuss his book Out of the Woods. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
Why have we forgotten Jack the Ripper's victims? – books podcast

46:02 | Mar 5th

Historians Hallie Rubenhold and Lindsey Fitzharris discuss their books The Five and The Butchering Art. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/bookspod">theguardian.com/bookspod</a>
Leïla Slimani and Cat Person author Kristen Roupenian – books podcast

46:27 | Feb 19th

The two authors discuss their stories about modern love and sex, and we reflect on the legacy of novelist Andrea Levy
The most disturbing books we've ever read, with Alice Clark-Platts – podcast

42:27 | Feb 12th

On this week’s show, thriller fan Alison talks to Alice Clark-Platts about her terrifying novel The Flower Girls – and we share the books we found too unsettling to finish
Jason Reynolds and JD Salinger's posthumous return – books podcast

36:00 | Feb 5th

Jason Reynolds talks about tackling difficult subjects for children, and we discuss the ‘new’ work on the way from the Catcher in the Rye author
Rethinking masculinity with Thomas Page McBee - books podcast

37:44 | Jan 30th

When McBee stepped into the boxing ring at Madison Square Gardens to fight, he made history as the first trans man to do so – a journey he documents in his book, Amateur
Costa biography prize winner Bart van Es and Mathias Énard – books podcast

44:25 | Jan 22nd

We head back to 16th-century Constantinople with Énard, explore the troubled legacy of the second world war with Van Es and look ahead to the Costa book of the year
TS Eliot poetry prize winner Hannah Sullivan and Kevin Powers – books podcast

47:11 | Jan 16th

On this week’s show, we speak to Sullivan about her winning Three Poems, and US author Kevin Powers about his novel A Shout in the Ruins
Should we stop working? And the books of 2019 – books podcast

41:27 | Jan 8th

On this week’s show, we take a look ahead at the books coming out this year, and speak to Josh Cohen about why we should all slack off a little at work
Sebastian Barry on James Joyce's Eveline – books podcast

19:10 | Jan 1st

Forty years after he first discovered it, Sebastian Barry explains why he loves James Joyce’s short story Eveline, then reads it for you, as part of our seasonal series of short stories selected by leading novelists
Zadie Smith on Giuseppe Pontiggia's Umberto Buti – books podcast

25:50 | Dec 31st, 2018

Zadie Smith shares why she loves this almost ‘anti-Italian’ story from Giuseppe Pontiggia, then reads the story, as part of our seasonal series of short stories selected by leading novelists
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Ama Ata Aidoo – books podcast

46:04 | Dec 26th, 2018

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie shares why she admires the ‘old-fashioned social realism’ of the Ghanaian writer’s No Sweetness Here, then reads the story, as part of our seasonal series of short stories selected by leading novelists
Neil Gaiman on Rudyard Kipling's The Gardener – books podcast

33:02 | Dec 25th, 2018

Neil Gaiman introduces Rudyard Kipling’s The Gardener, a melancholy tale from 1925, as part of our seasonal series of short stories selected by leading novelists. Afterwards, the story is read by actor Marion Bailey
Penelope Lively on MR James' Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad – books podcast

50:58 | Dec 24th, 2018

You’ll never sleep in a twin bedroom again after hearing this classic Edwardian ghost story, selected by Penelope Lively and read by Simon Callow as part of our seasonal series of short stories selected by leading novelists
The best audiobooks to enjoy this Christmas - books podcast

35:12 | Dec 18th, 2018

From La Belle Sauvage to Lincoln in the Bardo, Claire and Sian review the most creative and compelling listening experiences and debate whether audiobooks are ‘cheating’
Our favourite books of the year, and prose poetry with Claudia Rankine – books podcast

44:35 | Dec 11th, 2018

On this week’s show, we reveal the books we loved most in 2018 and discuss the future of prose poetry with poets Rankine, Jeremy Noel-Tod and Emily Berry
Crime and passion with Sara Paretsky and André Aciman – books podcast

44:20 | Dec 4th, 2018

This week, it’s Claire’s birthday so she’s meeting with two of her favourite authors: crime author Paretsky and Call Me By Your Name writer Aciman
The art of biography, with Diarmaid MacCulloch and Ken Krimstein – books podcast

46:53 | Nov 27th, 2018

New Yorker cartoonist Krimstein discusses his pictorial life of Hannah Arendt and we head to the British Library with MacCulloch to learn about Thomas Cromwell
Myth-making with Sarah Perry and Maria Dahvana Headley – books podcast

48:09 | Nov 20th, 2018

We talk to The Essex Serpent author Perry about the spine-tingling Melmoth and take Beowulf into the 21st century with Headley’s The Mere Wife
Robin Robertson and Andrew McMillan on sex, war and truth in poetry – books podcast

49:25 | Nov 13th, 2018

On this week’s show, Robertson talks about his narrative poem The Long Take and McMillan explores adolescent rites of passage in Playtime
How does our DNA shape who we are? Robert Plomin and Ivy Pochoda – books podcast

1:02:27 | Nov 6th, 2018

Behavioural geneticist Plomin picks apart the idea of nature versus nurture in Blueprint, and novelist Ivy Pochoda explains her latest novel, Wonder Valley
Political writing from Terrance Hayes to the Anglo-Saxons – books podcast

45:52 | Oct 30th, 2018

As the midterm elections loom, we welcome a poet whose verse is carved from this divided moment and search for the deep roots of political writing
Feminist fairytales with Jessie Burton and Kiran Millwood Hargrave – books podcast

35:35 | Oct 23rd, 2018

We travel to a faraway land, where brave writers fight deadly stereotypes and discover inspiring new ways to tell old stories
Anna Burns's Booker prize win and poet Kate Tempest – books podcast

45:36 | Oct 17th, 2018

Milkman delivers the 2018 Man Booker prize, while we listen in as a poet discusses the lyric art with her editor
What is it like being Ravenmaster at the Tower of London? – books podcast

1:00:36 | Oct 9th, 2018

We step back in time for a stroll around the Tower of London with Chris Skaife, who looks after the landmark’s ravens; and we sit down with philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah to discuss identity
Around the world with Simon Reeve and Neil MacGregor – books podcast

59:19 | Oct 2nd, 2018

The BBC presenter talks about the travels in his memoir Step By Step, and the celebrated curator reflects on the beliefs explored in Living With the Gods
Sarah Waters, John Boyne and the 2018 Man Booker prize shortlist – books podcast

56:03 | Sep 25th, 2018

As The Little Stranger opens in cinemas, its author considers screen adaptations. Boyne discusses his novel of desperate ambitions – and we discuss the Booker finalists
Karl Ove Knausgaard on the end of My Struggle – books podcast

56:35 | Sep 18th, 2018

As the final volume of his autobiographical novel arrives in English, the Norwegian literary sensation discusses how the books have changed his life
Kate Atkinson on her new novel, Transcription – books podcast

34:09 | Sep 11th, 2018

We sit down with the one and only Kate Atkinson, author of modern classics including Life After Life and Behind the Scenes at the Museum, to talk about her latest time-bending novel
Eugenia Cheng and Tim Radford on finding solace in science – books podcast

42:55 | Sep 4th, 2018

This week, we turn away from the crowds of catastrophist headlines and dystopian fiction and discover hope in the world of science
Daisy Johnson and Michael Hughes on Classical adaptation - books

50:29 | Aug 28th, 2018

We hear from two novelists who have taken inspiration from Greek myth. And the Guardian’s chief culture, writer Charlotte Higgins, discusses all things classical, plus what’s been going on at Edinburgh book festival
Paul Kildea on Chopin and Amy Sackville on Velázquez – books podcast

39:00 | Aug 21st, 2018

Paul Kildea explores how Frédéric Chopin wrote his Preludes and what became of them after his death, while Amy Sackville looks at power and PR through the lens of Diego Velázquez
Navigating modern life with Matt Haig and Christina Dalcher on feminist dystopias – books podcast

41:04 | Aug 14th, 2018

We explore the unhealthy nature of modern life with Haig in Notes on a Nervous Planet, while Dalcher talks about her thriller Vox
Jericho Brown on poetry, religion and race in the US – books podcast

34:46 | Aug 7th, 2018

American poet Jericho Brown talks about his latest collection The New Testament
Refugees, in their own words – books podcast

1:06:46 | Jul 31st, 2018

On this week’s show, we walk with a group who are using Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to tell the stories of the displaced, and speak to a publisher who wrote a novel with refugees in a Beirut camp
Michael Ondaatje and the Booker longlist – books podcast

33:14 | Jul 24th, 2018

We look at the runners and riders in this year’s Man Booker longlist, and hear from Golden Booker winner Michael Ondaatje at a Guardian Live event
Marcus du Sautoy and James Bridle – books podcast

40:09 | Jul 17th, 2018

We talk about the troubling future of tech with artist and writer James Bridle, and the idea of infinity with Marcus du Sautoy
Summer reading and Ross Raisin on how to be a great writer – books podcast

45:15 | Jul 10th, 2018

We discuss holiday reading habits and what we’ll be reading this year, and the novelist Ross Raisin explains why he has published a writing guide
The rise of autofiction, with Olivia Laing and Christina Patterson – books podcast

29:00 | Jul 3rd, 2018

A trend for authors to use their real lives as a template for stories has been widely noted. Two writers who complicate this picture join us to look for the facts
Bill Nighy reads The Invisible Child by Tove Jansson – books podcast

21:36 | Jun 28th, 2018

In this special episode in collaboration with Oxfam, hear the Love Actually star read an uplifting short story originally featured in Tales from Moominvalley
Psychedelic drugs: Michael Pollan on the history, science and experience of taking them – books podcast

44:06 | Jun 26th, 2018

The famously hands-on journalist talks about his colourful history of psychedelic drugs and their potential for treating addiction, depression and PTSD
What is it like being a first-time novelist today? – books podcast

30:30 | Jun 19th, 2018

On this week’s show, we discuss the challenges – and joys – of becoming an author with Paula Cocozza and Preti Taneja
Marilynne Robinson on democracy, religion and Donald Trump – books podcast

41:33 | Jun 12th, 2018

The celebrated novelist turns her eye to contemporary politics in a new essay collection, What Are We Doing Here?
Hay festival 2018: the Golden Booker, Akala, Tishani Doshi and more

45:30 | Jun 1st, 2018

We discover the five best Booker winners, listen in to a smart rap on racial prejudice, and find out what #metoo means in India
American facts and fictions: Lawrence Wright and Amy Bloom – books podcast

42:29 | May 29th, 2018

On this week’s show, we interview Pulitzer-winning author Wright about his history of Texas, as well as Bloom on White Houses, her novel about a lesbian romance between Eleanor Roosevelt and a journalist
Olga Tokarczuk's Man Booker win and David Graeber on pointless jobs – books podcast

30:45 | May 23rd, 2018

We discuss the first winner of Man Booker’s £50,000 prize for translated fiction, and the rise of meaningless labour
Madeline Miller and Toby Litt – books podcast

48:05 | May 15th, 2018

What can history and myth tell us about the #MeToo moment? The books podcast tackles gender politics with a wrestler and a witch
Exploring mazes with Henry Eliot – books podcast

34:01 | May 8th, 2018

This week, the books podcast dives into the labyrinth as we explore the myths and meaning of the maze
Aminatta Forna on Happiness, plus what are the best crime novels? – books podcast

40:43 | May 1st, 2018

On this week’s show, Claire and Sian discuss their favourite whodunnits, plus Aminatta Forna talks about her fourth novel, Happiness
The unhealthy truth about doctors - books podcast

37:39 | Apr 24th, 2018

As a new book exposes the crisis among overstressed medics, we look at the contribution of the caring profession to literature as well as life
Benedict Wells, plus Man Booker International prize and London book fair news – books podcast

33:49 | Apr 17th, 2018

Claire and Sian discuss the London book fair and the Man Booker International shortlist, and we chat to German author Benedict Wells about his English debut novel, The End of Loneliness
Lisa Halliday on her novel Asymmetry – books podcast

27:55 | Apr 10th, 2018

On this week’s show, the American novelist talks about her much-discussed debut
Mary Beard on women and power – books podcast

1:03:37 | Apr 3rd, 2018

The Classics professor on the silencing of female voices throughout history, navigating social media and taking a long view of world civilisations
Samantha Harvey on The Western Wind, plus how to define science fiction – books podcast

38:59 | Mar 27th, 2018

On this week’s show, a recent Brian Aldiss binge gets us talking about science fiction and Samantha Harvey chats about her 15th-century murder mystery
Jim Crace on The Melody – books podcast

48:15 | Mar 20th, 2018

On this week’s show, Jim Crace talks about his latest novel and we discuss the different ways we read books, after Claire has a strange epiphany
Man Booker International and the Women's prize for fiction: where to start reading? – books podcast

42:07 | Mar 13th, 2018

Taking a look at the two big prizes announcing their longlists this week, we discuss which books we’re most excited to read and chat with Imogen Hermes Gowar about her novel, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
What makes a good short story? With Chris Power – books podcast

41:59 | Mar 6th, 2018

Chris Power, the Guardian’s resident short-story expert and now debut author himself, joins us to talk about reading and writing this most exacting genre
Steven Pinker defends the Enlightenment – books podcast

32:14 | Feb 27th, 2018

Is the world going to rack and ruin? The psychologist Steven Pinker makes the case for progress and Enlightenment values
Do our memories make us who we are? – books podcast

32:59 | Feb 20th, 2018

Wendy Mitchell talks about her memoir of early onset dementia and neurologist Jules Montague explains how the brain shapes our sense of self
Why we need to rethink climate change, with Timothy Morton – books podcast

40:06 | Feb 13th, 2018

This week, we talk to philosopher Timothy Morton about his book Being Ecological and why we need to move away from anthropocentrism
LGBT must-reads and a new history of trans Britain – books podcast

44:48 | Feb 6th, 2018

The hard-won victories of trans people, with Christine Burns, plus the classics to read in LGBT history week
Women and food, and Helen Dunmore's posthumous Costa prize – books podcast

39:57 | Feb 1st, 2018

On this week’s show, Claire and Sian talk about the late poet’s book of the year award, and Laura Shapiro joins us to talk about What She Ate
Peter Carey in conversation - books podcast

39:53 | Jan 23rd, 2018

In this Guardian Live event, the double Booker winner talks about his new novel A Long Way from Home and the legacy of colonialism in Australia
Nikesh Shukla and Julia Kingsford on The Good Agency, plus Tony White - books podcast

41:31 | Jan 16th, 2018

Writer Nikesh Shukla and agent Julia Kingsford share their plans for a literary agency for under-represented authors, and Tony White chats about his Oulipian murder mystery, The Fountain in the Forest
Jonathan Safran Foer on Aleksandar Hemon's The Bees, Part 1 – short story podcast

46:17 | Jan 9th, 2018

Jonathan Safran Foer explains why he loves this tale about the Bosnian author’s father, which is then read by Chris Moran
David Mitchell on The Monkey's Paw by WW Jacobs – short story podcast

30:54 | Jan 5th, 2018

Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell introduces one of the great, early 20th century horror stories: WW Jacobs’s spine-tingling The Monkey’s Paw
Stephen Fry on Saki's Sredni Vashtar - short story podcast

16:04 | Jan 2nd, 2018

A small boy’s rebellion takes a sinister turn in Saki’s classic tale – a story loved by Stephen Fry, who explains why
Neil Gaiman on Rudyard Kipling's The Gardener – short story podcast

32:57 | Dec 29th, 2017

In this instalment of our seasonal short story special, we have Neil Gaiman share why he loves Kipling’s melancholy story, which is then read by actor Marion Bailey
Penelope Lively on MR James's Oh Whistle and I'll Come to you, my lad - short story podcast

50:51 | Dec 26th, 2017

You’ll never sleep in a twin bedroom again after hearing this classic Edwardian ghost story, selected by Penelope Lively read by Simon Callow
Edward St Aubyn's King Lear and the future of literary fiction - books podcast

41:46 | Dec 19th, 2017

The author explains how he reimagined Shakespeare’s thundering patriarch as a modern media baron in Dunbar, and we consider the plight of literary novelists
1947: When Now Begins and the best books of 2017 – books podcast

47:50 | Dec 12th, 2017

On this week’s show, we look at the political and social upheaval of 1947 with journalist Elisabeth Åsbrink, and consider the best books of 2017
Stephen Fry and Emily Wilson on Greek myths – books podcast

33:16 | Dec 5th, 2017

This week, the beloved broadcaster leads us back to the classical age, introducing his book Mythos, and we meet Homer’s first female English translator
Max Tegmark and Ken MacLeod on artificial intelligence – books podcast

30:39 | Nov 28th, 2017

How would it feel to be outperformed by a machine? We discuss the AI revolution with physicist Max Tegmark and science fiction writer Ken MacLeod
Jennifer Egan and M John Harrison – books podcast

48:32 | Nov 21st, 2017

On this week’s show, we examine the writing life with a Pulitzer winner who is not afraid to experiment and a genre-busting author with his most radical collection of short stories yet
Time-travelling with Michael Brooks and Britt Wray – books podcast

43:20 | Nov 14th, 2017

We examine the ethics of de-extinction and the origins of quantum mechanics with two science writers reaching across the centuries
Richard Flanagan and Jesmyn Ward – books podcast

43:55 | Nov 7th, 2017

On this week’s show, we hear from Man Booker prize-winning Flanagan about his latest book, First Person, and speak to Ward about her novel Sing, Unburied, Sing
Salman Rushdie on The Golden House, Trump and more – books podcast

1:08:52 | Oct 31st, 2017

Speaking with Mark Lawson, Rushdie looks back on his career and discusses his latest book, set in a US where a crass presidential candidate rises up in the dying days of Obama’s governnment
Halloween reading with Andrew Michael Hurley – books podcast

36:07 | Oct 24th, 2017

As nights grow darker, we share our favourite horror novels and ghostly tales – and the author of The Loney joins us to talk about his eerie new novel
Maria Alyokhina and Omar El Akkad – books podcast

35:19 | Oct 10th, 2017

We talk to the Pussy Riot musician about her memoir and to journalist Omar El Akkad, about his move from journalism to dystopian fiction
Orhan Pamuk and Nicole Krauss - books podcast

29:17 | Oct 3rd, 2017

The Turkish Nobel winner and American novelist talk about their new books, The Red-Haired Woman and Forest Dark
Can books and poetry make you happier? - books podcast

38:43 | Sep 26th, 2017

We talk to William Sieghart and Viv Groskop about the restorative properties of literature and poetry - can reading make you happier?
Robert Webb on modern masculinity – books podcast

24:35 | Sep 19th, 2017

Comedian and writer Robert Webb, star of Peep Show, discusses modern masculinity and his own boyhood in his new book ‘How Not to Be a Boy’
Kamila Shamsie and Preti Taneja on reimagining classics - books podcast

37:40 | Sep 12th, 2017

The two novelists have used Greek tragedy and Shakespeare respectively to tell tough stories of modern life. They discuss how they went about it
Colm Tóibín in conversation – books podcast

41:44 | Sep 5th, 2017

The acclaimed Irish novelist talks to Charlotte Higgins about House of Names, his reimagining of the Greek tragedy of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon
Colm Tóibín in conversation – books podcast

41:44 | Sep 5th, 2017

The acclaimed Irish novelist talks to Charlotte Higgins about House of Names, his reimagining of the Greek tragedy of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon
Edinburgh book festival with Colson Whitehead and others – books podcast

33:08 | Aug 29th, 2017

We visit the Edinburgh international book festival to speak with Man Booker nominee Whitehead, Norwegian author Lars Mytting and British novelist Rachel Seiffert
Jenny Zhang and Carolina Sanín – books podcast

33:45 | Aug 22nd, 2017

On this week’s podcast, we talk to the Chinese-American author Jenny Zhang and the Colombian writer Carolina Sanín
Living with Oliver Sacks and love in later life: Bill Hayes and Sylvia Brownrigg – podcast

42:29 | Aug 15th, 2017

On this week’s podcast, we talk to Hayes about his memoir Insomniac City and Brownrigg about her novel Pages for Her
Summer reading with John Gordon Sinclair and Horatio Clare – podcast

28:22 | Aug 8th, 2017

Crack open the sunscreen and one or two book spines: it’s summer time! We chat to actor-turned-crime writer John Gordon Sinclair and children’s author Horatio Clare
Man Booker prize 2017 and poet Kayo Chingonyi – books podcast

41:05 | Aug 1st, 2017

On this week’s podcast, we pull apart the 2017 Man Booker prize longlist and talk to poet Kayo Chingonyi about masculinity and race
Black history: Mumbo Jumbo and Paul Robeson – books podcast

26:57 | Jul 25th, 2017

On this week’s podcast, we talk to Ishmael Reed about his reissued classic novel Mumbo Jumbo and historian Jeff Sparrow about his biography of Paul Robeson
Sara Pascoe and Lucy Worsley on Jane Austen – books podcast

34:07 | Jul 18th, 2017

Two centuries after the death of the great English novelist, historian Lucy Worsley and comedian Sara Pascoe join us to talk about her life and work
Richard Dawkins and Carlo Rovelli on science and culture – books podcast

30:07 | Jul 11th, 2017

Two of the world’s foremost scientists discuss how to bridge the divide between the arts and sciences
Naomi Klein on neoliberalism and the fightback against Donald Trump – books podcast

36:33 | Jul 4th, 2017

The activist and author speaks to Gary Younge about her book No is Not Enough, and the importance of finding a way to push back against the shock politics of the Trump administration
Fair Field: Piers Plowman's Truth – books podcast

12:27 | Jun 21st, 2017

In the last of three original podcasts based on William Langland’s poem, our hero goes in search of an ideal Truth. But what does that mean?
Fair Field: Piers Plowman's world of work - books podcast

12:45 | Jun 21st, 2017

In the second of three original podcasts, William Langland’s 14th-century poem is brought into focus against a contemporary backdrop of precarious labour
Fair Field: Piers Plowman's dreamworld - books podcast

14:18 | Jun 21st, 2017

In episode one of a three-part series, the medieval ‘poem of crisis’ reveals a world of inequality, corruption and spiritual malaise that is all too familiar
Reni Eddo-Lodge and Juno Dawson - books podcast

36:08 | Jun 20th, 2017

We discuss race, gender and identity with activist Reni Eddo-Lodge and the writer Juno Dawson
Scottish crime fiction with Ann Cleeves and Chris Brookmyre – books podcast

33:19 | Jun 13th, 2017

We investigate the murky world of tartan noir, and look into this week’s headline honours, the Baileys and children’s laureate
The Dragon of Palma de Mallorca, read by Andrew Scott – Travel folktales for kids podcast

11:44 | Jun 2nd, 2017

The Spanish island city is terrorised by a fearsome dragon. But is it really a dragon, or something else?
Hay festival 2017: Cory Doctorow, Helen Fielding and Shashi Tharoor – podcast

47:05 | May 30th, 2017

We gaze uneasily to the future with Doctorow, look back on the history of the British Raj with Tharoor, and some comic relief comes from Fielding’s hapless heroine Bridget Jones
The wandering knight of Zagreb, read by Andrew Scott – Travel folktales for kids podcast

11:09 | May 26th, 2017

A knight loses his way in a haunted forest and is close to death – until salvation arrives in the form of a beautiful maiden
Islands and literature, from Iceland to Jamaica - books podcast

37:10 | May 23rd, 2017

As the Brexit boat prepares to set sail, writers from islands around the world explain what it means to be from a small place surrounded by sea
Pinocchio and the Field of Miracles, read by Andrew Scott – Travel folktales for kids podcast

10:42 | May 19th, 2017

The little wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy was born in Tuscany. The second of our new audio series for children explains how
Funny memoirs with Patricia Lockwood – books podcast

33:03 | May 16th, 2017

We talk to the poet-turned-memoirist about Priestdaddy, her account of growing up with a Catholic priest for a father, and discuss our favourite funny autobiographies
Jack, the Giant Killer, read by Andrew Scott – Travel folktales for kids podcast

11:15 | May 12th, 2017

Cormoran is a bloodthirsty giant who preys on a Cornish village – until a brave little boy named Jack decides to stand up to him
Tony Harrison at 80 - books podcast

34:53 | May 9th, 2017

Vanessa Redgrave, Blake Morrison and Melvyn Bragg are among the stars of page and stage who celebrate one of the UK’s most versatile – and angry – poets
The shadows of war in Primo Levi and Xan Brooks - books podcast

35:45 | Apr 18th, 2017

Seventy years on, Philippe Sands discusses the abiding relevance of If This Is a Man, and we meet the author of The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times
Man Booker International prize and Dorthe Nors – books podcast

39:59 | Mar 28th, 2017

This week’s podcast heads abroad as we look at the longlist for this year’s Man Booker International prize and speak to longlisted author Dorthe Nors about her novel Mirror, Shoulder, Signal
Baileys longlist author Ayòbámi Adébáyò, and London book fair – books podcast

38:43 | Mar 14th, 2017

Nigerian writer Ayòbámi Adébáyò pops into the studio to talk about her debut novel Stay With Me, and we look at what’s happening at the London book fair
Daniel Dennett on consciousness and 100 years of Anthony Burgess – books podcast

38:37 | Mar 7th, 2017

The influential thinker talks about From Bacteria to Bach and Back, and we discuss the Clockwork Orange author’s legacy
Reclaiming history with Yaa Gyasi and Chibundu Onuzo - books podcast

45:26 | Feb 17th, 2017

The authors of two buzzy new novels, Homegoing and Welcome to Lagos, explore ancient and modern stories of west Africa
Michael Chabon on The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – books podcast

40:50 | Feb 10th, 2017

The Pulitzer prize-winning novelist looks back on a modern classic at a Guardian book club event
Sebastian Barry on his Costa-winning novel Days Without End – books podcast

36:13 | Feb 3rd, 2017

In the week Sebastian Barry picked up his second Costa book of the year award, he joins us in the studio to read from and discuss Days Without End
The biography of a paperback – books podcast

51:08 | Jan 27th, 2017

We chart the business of making books from manuscript to bookshop shelf and beyond
Searching for alien life with Jim Al-Khalili – books podcast

25:47 | Jan 20th, 2017

As 21st-century telescopes transform the hunt for extraterrestrials from SF to hard science, physicist Jim Al-Khalili examines the prospects for finding life in space
Alan Bennett discusses Keeping On Keeping On – books podcast

55:42 | Jan 13th, 2017

A national treasure reads from the latest volume of his diaries and discusses finding inspiration in the everyday
The Last Poets – books podcast

42:30 | Jan 6th, 2017

Famed for militant spoken-word poetry about black America from the height of the civil rights struggle, the Last Poets join us to perform and talk about their own battles
Books of the year, with Sarah Perry and Francis Spufford - podcast

58:04 | Dec 30th, 2016

Costa contenders The Essex Serpent and Golden Hill bring historical fiction to the fore as we predict the books that will last from 2016
Deadly beauty with Ruth Padel and Lucinda Hawksley – books podcast

42:01 | Dec 23rd, 2016

Poetry and poison combine as we look at a lavishly illustrated history of arsenic in the home and a book-length Christmas poem
Margaret Drabble and the Ruby Dolls - books podcast

37:33 | Dec 9th, 2016

The challenges of ageing and the dark side of fairy stories examined in a novel, The Dark Flood Rises, and the cabaret Brides of Bluebeard
Alan Moore talks to Stewart Lee – books podcast

56:02 | Dec 2nd, 2016

The comics legend tells the standup comic why his latest project is a small-town novel set in the Midlands, running to 1,280 pages and titled Jerusalem
Nordic noir with Kati Hiekkapelto and Antti Tuomainen – books podcast

37:43 | Nov 25th, 2016

We investigate crime fiction from the frozen north with two of Finland’s rising literary stars
Climate change with Amitav Ghosh and Aaron Thier – books podcast

36:25 | Nov 18th, 2016

Amitav Ghosh discusses the failure of literary culture to confront climate change, while Aaron Thier explains how his novel Mr Eternity reflects current fears
Jonathan Safran Foer on his novel Here I Am – books podcast

55:50 | Nov 11th, 2016

The American writer discusses his first novel in 11 years, books he hasn’t finished – and how his fiction is driven by instinct
Goldsmiths prize and Anakana Schofield – books podcast

43:14 | Nov 4th, 2016

Blake Morrison discusses the UK’s most radical literary prize, while Anakana Schofield talks about the novel that earned her a place on the Goldsmiths shortlist
Susan Hill on ghost stories – books podcast

51:11 | Oct 28th, 2016

Susan Hill discusses the timeless appeal of the ghost story and reads from her new collection, while the Bookshop Band get into the Halloween spirit
Booker finalist Paul Beatty and Super Thursday – books podcast

41:41 | Oct 21st, 2016

As publishing begins the long climb to Christmas, Paul Beatty joins us to talk about life on the Man Booker shortlist
Colin Thubron and John Aggleton on memory – books podcast

44:43 | Oct 14th, 2016

How can we construct a sense of self from the fragments of life we can recall? We dissect how science and fiction shed light on the mysteries of memory
Naomi Alderman, Lauren Beukes and Alastair Reynolds on gender politics and scifi – books podcast

52:47 | Oct 7th, 2016

Warning strong language and imagery described in this podcast: This week’s podcast is dedicated to an in-depth and thorny discussion of women in sci-fi and the process of writing in and around the genre.
Ultimate questions with Adam Biles and Sean Carroll – books podcast

39:43 | Sep 30th, 2016

We examine beginnings and endings, with a novel set in a nursing home and a physicist who explores the influence of the big bang on our daily lives
Amos Oz on his novel Judas – books podcast

1:14:45 | Sep 23rd, 2016

The Israeli novelist Amos Oz talks about prose, poetry and politics in his latest novel, Judas
Deborah Levy and the Booker shortlist – books podcast

44:07 | Sep 16th, 2016

As the Booker prize announces a shortlist that’s long on surprises, we talk to Deborah Levy and assess the contenders for this year’s award
Charlotte Brontë at 200: stories inspired by Jane Eyre – books podcast

1:07:22 | Aug 26th, 2016

Tracy Chevalier and Esther Freud read stories inspired by Brontë’s most famous line: ‘Reader, I married him’
The art of editing – books podcast

38:52 | Aug 19th, 2016

As the digital revolution sweeps through publishing, is editing in decline? We find out how the 21st-century editor works, with Diana Athill, Matt Weiland, Karolina Sutton and many more
Rose Tremain on her novel The Gustav Sonata - Books podcast

59:57 | Jul 29th, 2016

Orange Prize winner Rose Tremain gives an account of writing her latest book, The Gustav Sonata
Catching the zeitgeist with Eileen Myles, Martin MacInnes and Idra Novey

48:38 | Jul 22nd, 2016

Fragilities of language and identity feature in edgy new works from two debut novelists and ‘the rock star of modern poetry’
Examining the past with Juan Gabriel Vásquez and Álvaro Enrigue – books podcast

35:31 | Jul 15th, 2016

Novels from Colombia and Mexico explore how our lives are shaped by history
Summer reading with Mark Lawson and Lisa McInerney – books podcast

42:07 | Jul 8th, 2016

As clouds gather over public life, we turn to the books shining brightly this summer with Mark Lawson, Lisa McInerney and pack in a host of recommendations from Guardian writers
Lives shaped by history with Hisham Matar and Margo Jefferson – books podcast

46:24 | Jul 1st, 2016

We examine how the most personal writing can illuminate a wider world as Hisham Matar and Margo Jefferson turn to memoir
Migration: Ali Smith, David Herd and Wolfgang Bauer listen for the true story – books podcast

54:51 | Jun 24th, 2016

As the UK adjusts to life outside the European Union, we ask if literature can get to the heart of an issue that dominated the referendum campaign
The art of memory with Abby Smith Rumsey and Simon Bill – books podcast

38:57 | Jun 17th, 2016

We explore memory and forgetting with a fictional artist who struggles with recall and a cultural historian examining the past to solve present troubles with data storage
Don DeLillo on writing his novel Underworld - books podcast

57:43 | Jun 10th, 2016

The American novelist Don DeLillo gives an account of writing his modern masterpiece Underworld to the Guardian book club
Simon Ingram and Fiona Reynolds on our natural landscapes – books podcast

35:23 | Jun 3rd, 2016

Simon Ingram tackles the forbidding rock face of the mountaineering memoir, while Fiona Reynolds mounts a passionate plea for the defence of our natural landscape
Maggie Nelson and Chris Kraus on confessional writing – books podcast

29:52 | May 27th, 2016

Maggie Nelson explains the nuances of tackling gender and sexuality in her genre-bending memoir The Argonauts, while Chris Kraus talks about her 1997 feminist text I Love Dick enjoying a second life in 2016
Lionel Shriver on writing The Mandibles – books podcast

1:00:09 | May 20th, 2016

The Orange Prize-winning novelist talks about her dystopian vision of economic collapse in the US at a Guardian live event recorded in London
Han Kang, winner of the Man Booker International 2016 - podcast interview

06:49 | May 16th, 2016

The South Korean author of The Vegetarian explains her mysterious fable of a woman who refuses to eat Han Kang wins the 2016 Man Booker International prize
Book festivals around the world – books podcast

35:39 | May 13th, 2016

We drop in on Lahore, track Jean Rhys back to the Caribbean and tackle the troubling issue of payments to authors appearing at the UK’s 350 literary jamborees
Writing crime with Donna Leon, Duncan Campbell and Barry Forshaw – books podcast

43:51 | May 6th, 2016

Crime writing is up for interrogation this week, as we examine the evidence for our abiding obsession with murder and misdemeanours in both fact and fiction
Sara Pascoe and Amy Stewart on the female body – books podcast

39:37 | Apr 29th, 2016

Comedian Sara Pascoe explores how our experience is shaped by our physical form in Animal, and we track down a New Jersey pioneer with Amy Stewart
Hearing voices with Charles Fernyhough and Francesca Kay – books podcast

45:35 | Apr 22nd, 2016

We tune in to the voices inside our heads with the psychologist Charles Fernyhough and the novelist Francesca Kay
Reading the globe at the London book fair – books podcast

41:27 | Apr 15th, 2016

We head to the UK’s biggest book fair to find independent publishers bringing us literary gems from all over the world
Russian poetry and poison with Luke Harding and Pussy Riot - books podcast

42:32 | Apr 8th, 2016

Guardian journalist Luke Harding and filmmaker Peter Pomerantsev discuss the assassination of Aleksander Litvinenko, and Masha Aloykhina of Pussy Riot shares the poetry that helped her survive prison
Rewriting the Qur'an and rereading Hanya Yanagihara – books podcast

46:51 | Apr 1st, 2016

We look at challenging writing from both sides, with Iranian author Kader Abdolah and a discussion about the difficult experience of reading Hanya Yanagihara’s novel A Little Life
Political poetry with Luke Wright and Hollie McNish – books podcast

1:01:11 | Mar 25th, 2016

We put politics, performance and poetry under the lens with spoken-word stars Luke Wright and Hollie McNish
Writing about art, music and loneliness – books podcast

39:11 | Mar 18th, 2016

Robin Ince and Green Gartside explain why the music world needs a book prize and Olivia Laing follows Edward Hopper and Andy Warhol down lonely street
Imagining the future with Claire Vaye Watkins and Leif Wenar – books podcast

47:53 | Mar 11th, 2016

We look ahead to a dystopian California and a world where the wealth brought by oil no longer fuels autocrats and extremists
Medical literature with Chris Brookmyre, Gavin Francis and Samer Nashef – books podcast

49:22 | Mar 4th, 2016

We travel around the human body with GP Gavin Francis, venture into the operating theatre with surgeon Samer Nashef and join investigative reporter Jack Parlabane on the trail of ‘blade bitch’
Reading Infinite Jest 20 years on – books podcast

32:49 | Feb 26th, 2016

Twenty years after David Foster Wallace’s magnum opus was first published it continues to delight and astonish. We discuss the unending pleasures of Infinite Jest
Guardian Books Podcast: a special from the Calais Jungle

47:09 | Feb 19th, 2016

On a trip to the Calais refugee camp known as ‘the Jungle’, we explore the impact of books, storytelling and creativity on the refugees there, take a tour of their library and speak to one of the members of Pussy Riot visiting the camp
Welcome to Britain with Ben Judah and Sunjeev Sahota – books podcast

42:11 | Feb 12th, 2016

As migration continues to dominate the headlines, we go walkabout in a capital city transformed by new arrivals with Ben Judah, while Sunjeev Sahota explores home and identity in Sheffield
John Irving in conversation with Jeanette Winterson - Guardian Live

1:08:29 | Feb 8th, 2016

At a Guardian Live event John Irving, one of America’s greatest living novelists, discusses his new book, Avenue of Mysteries, with author and professor of creative writing Jeanette Winterson
Celebrating libraries with Ali Smith, Jackie Kay and Tom Holland – books podcast

52:01 | Feb 5th, 2016

As National Libraries Day approaches, we salute these temples of learning with the writers Ali Smith, Jackie Kay and Tom Holland, and head across the Channel to find out what’s on the shelves of the library in Calais’ Jungle
What makes a book great? with Frances Hardinge and Robert McCrum – books podcast

31:24 | Jan 29th, 2016

As a children’s novel is proclaimed Costa book of the year, and a new Guardian series sets out to identify the 100 best non-fiction books of all time, we investigate literary stature
Frederick Forsyth with Mark Lawson - Guardian Live event

1:28:24 | Jan 23rd, 2016

To celebrate the publication of his autobiography The Outsider, Frederick Forsyth gives a rare public interview discussing his life as a bestselling novelist and Cold War spy
The great outdoors with Amy Liptrot and Emily Chappell – books podcast

44:26 | Jan 22nd, 2016

This week we find ourselves out of doors on the windswept islands of Orkney with Amy Liptrot and among the traffic-clogged streets of London with Emily Chappell
Poetry, music and identity with Sarah Howe, Emmy the Great and Solomon OB – books podcast

36:17 | Jan 15th, 2016

The winners of the TS Eliot prize and the National poetry slam explore the territory between lyric and music with singer-songwriter Emmy the Great
Bill Bryson on Notes from a Small Island – books podcast

37:51 | Jan 8th, 2016

As Bill Bryson returns to travel writing after 15 years with The Road to Little Dribbling, he joins John Mullan to discuss his voyages around the United Kingdom
EL James: black and blue and read all over? – books podcast

14:29 | Dec 31st, 2015

John Crace whips through the lastest instalment of EL James’s sado-masochistic bestseller, Grey, and asks if it’s time to apply the safe word
Michel Houellebecq: profane or prophetic? – books podcast

16:30 | Dec 30th, 2015

John Crace squashes Houellebecq’s Submission and asks whether the sacred monster of French fiction is just making trouble for its own sake
TS Eliot: beyond commentary? – books podcast

16:10 | Dec 29th, 2015

John Crace puts the annotated editon of the Nobel laureate’s poetical works through the wringer and assesses the stature of the modernist master