The Guardian Books podcast

By The Guardian

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Subscribers: 1418
Reviews: 2

 Oct 11, 2019
Every time i listen, i learn something, discover a book, question my perspectives. I am a better reader, i read better books because of this podcast. Thank you.

 Aug 9, 2018
Great literary discussions and interviews.


The Guardian Books podcast is our weekly look at the world of books, presented by Claire Armitstead, Richard Lea and Sian Cain. In-depth interviews with authors from all over the world, discussions  and investigations make this the perfect companion for readers and writers alike

Episode Date
Hunting down the 42 paintings of Pieter Bruegel - books podcast
On this week’s show we talk to Toby Ferris about his pursuit of the Dutch master and look at how the literary world is dealing with the pandemic. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Mar 31, 2020
Glenn Patterson and what to read while self-isolating – books podcast
On this week’s show we talk to the Northern Irish writer about his new novel and discuss how headlines can impact our appetite for certain books. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Mar 24, 2020
Who was St Paul? With Christos Tsiolkas and Tom Holland – books podcast
On this week’s podcast, we talk to Tsiolkas about his novel on the life of St Paul and the historian Holland explains what we know about the man. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Mar 17, 2020
'What if Gandalf joined The Sweeney?': Ben Aaronovitch on Rivers of London – books podcast
On this week’s show, the bestselling fantasy author talks about how he came to invent a magical branch of the Met, and we discuss Hilary Mantel’s new novel The Mirror & The Light. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Mar 10, 2020
Inside the Brontës' fantasy world, and a Booker controversy – books podcast
On this week’s show, we talk to graphic novelist Isabel Greenberg about her comic Glass Town and the 2020 longlist for the International Booker prize. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Mar 03, 2020
The surprising history of astrology – books podcast
Alexander Boxer talks about his book A Scheme of Heaven and we discuss why Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers tried to remove a juror for her reading history. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Feb 25, 2020
Maaza Mengiste on the Ethiopian women who fought Italy – books podcast
The novelist explains how she discovered her family was woven into history, plus the new wave of Ethiopian literature in English. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Feb 18, 2020
Sophie Hannah on the recipe for a perfect crime novel – books podcast
The crime writer joins us to discuss the mechanics of mystery novels, plus Margaret Atwood at the Hay festival in Cartagena. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Feb 11, 2020
Adam Rutherford on how to tackle racist pseudoscience - books podcast
The geneticist explains why science offers no support for prejudice. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Feb 04, 2020
Jonathan Coe and Sara Collins on their Costa-winning novels – books podcast
We welcome not one but two Costa winners, as the victors in the novel and the debut fiction categories join us in the studio. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Jan 28, 2020
Jeanine Cummins on her explosive new novel, American Dirt
The novelist explains her sudden decision to write her controversial thriller, and we hail TS Eliot prize winner Roger Robinson. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Jan 22, 2020
Samantha Harvey on her year without sleep – books podcast
On this week’s show, the novelist explains how she came to write about her insomnia and we consider why indie bookshops are booming in the UK and Ireland. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Jan 14, 2020
Eoin Colfer on returning to Artemis Fowl – books podcast
This week, the creator of the biggest child villain in literature talks about comedy writing and seeing his creation adapted by Disney. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Jan 07, 2020
Our favourite books of 2019, and the most exciting books of 2020 – books podcast
Priya Basil talks about the dynamics of the dinner table and her book Be My Guest, and we chat about the best books of the year. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Dec 24, 2019
Ben Lerner and Meena Kandasamy on autofiction – books podcast
Ben Lerner and Meena Kandasamy talk about drawing on their most embarrassing and vulnerable moments to write fiction. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Dec 17, 2019
Escaping Westboro Baptist Church: Megan Phelps-Roper's journey – books podcast
A former member recalls growing up in ‘America’s most hated family’ and Claire McGlasson explains why we’re fascinated by cults. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Dec 10, 2019
When imagining our future, what can sci-fi teach us? – books podcast
On this week’s show, we talk to Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the two authors who published as James SA Corey and the space opera The Expanse. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Dec 03, 2019
Elizabeth Strout on the return of Olive Kitteridge – books podcast
On this week’s show, the Pulitzer prize winning novelist talks about the return of her wonderfully difficult character in Olive, Again. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Nov 26, 2019
How true does travel writing need to be? With Rory MacLean and Luke Harding – books podcast
Rory MacLean and Luke Harding talk about the challenges of writing about Russia, the subjectivity of experience and getting high on ‘Putin’s Pecker’. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Nov 19, 2019
'The past is amongst us. Taking notes': nature writing with Kathleen Jamie and Laurie Lee – books podcast
On this week’s show, Jamie talks about her new essay collection Surfacing and we hear a rare recording of the Cider with Rosie author. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Nov 12, 2019
'Mexico's drug problem is America's': crime legend Don Winslow – books podcast
On this week’s show, the US novelist talks about Donald Trump’s border policy and the personal toll of researching those left behind by the cartels. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Nov 05, 2019
One language dies every two weeks. How can poetry help? – books podcast
On this week’s show, we talk about endangered languages with Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort, Maori poet Vaughan Rapatahana and publisher Clive Boutle. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Oct 29, 2019
The history of the book, from Gilgamesh to now – books podcast
On this week’s show, we talk about books as physical objects and look at the history of Gilgamesh through centuries of translation. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Oct 22, 2019
The legacy of the Windrush scandal, plus the 2019 Booker prize winners - books podcast
We discuss the shock decision to split the 2019 prize, and look at two books about the UK’s Windrush generation. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Oct 15, 2019
'I want world domination!' Lucy Ellmann on her Booker behemoth Ducks, Newburyport – books podcast
On this week’s show, the British-American author talks about her 1,000-page stream-of-consciousness and we chat about ‘difficult books’. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Oct 08, 2019
Ann Patchett on her latest novel and facing down Amazon – books podcast
On this week’s show, the US novelist talks about The Dutch House and we discuss your additions to our top 100 books of the 21st century list. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Oct 01, 2019
Is freedom of speech a 'toxic myth'? Plus the top 100 books since 2000 – books podcast
Journalist Nesrine Malik talks about her book We Need New Stories and we discuss the Guardian’s top 100 books of the 21st century. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Sep 24, 2019
From Blair to Cameron: what makes a good political memoir? – books podcast
On this week’s show, we look at the history of political memoirs, and speak to fantasy author Brian Catling and Weil sibling biographer Karen Olsson. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Sep 17, 2019
'I felt a huge grief': the challenges of writing about trauma – books podcast
On this week’s show, we talk to Laura Cumming and Rhik Samadder about their memoirs, take a look at the Booker shortlist and give a verdict on Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Sep 10, 2019
Salman Rushdie on retelling Don Quixote in Quichotte – books podcast
In this week’s show, Rushdie talks about his Booker-nominated novel and we discuss the best literary road trips. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Sep 03, 2019
Elif Shafak on Turkey's treatment of novelists – books podcast
The Turkish author talks about 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, her new, Booker prize-longlisted novel. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Aug 27, 2019
Does 'the English canon' still shape what we read? – books podcast
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=""></a>
Aug 20, 2019
My friend, the fake German heiress: a true crime special – books podcast
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=""></a>
Aug 13, 2019
How we can learn to stop worrying and love language – books podcast
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=""></a>
Aug 06, 2019
Lisa Taddeo on sex and desire in Three Women – books podcast
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=""></a>
Jul 30, 2019
Ocean Vuong and the new Great American Novel - books podcast
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=""></a>
Jul 23, 2019
Iris Murdoch at 100 and Howard Jacobson on humour and shame – books podcast
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=""></a>
Jul 16, 2019
Intolerance is rising in Europe, but can writers find hope? – books podcast
Johny Pitts and Roger Robinson talk about Windrush, the rise of rightwing populism – and why they both feel still hope. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Jul 09, 2019
Tracy K Smith on the place of poetry in modern America – books podcast
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=""></a>
Jul 02, 2019
Bernardine Evaristo and Lene Wold – books podcast
This podcast contains descriptions of violence which some may find distressing. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Jun 25, 2019
What is it like being a refugee? with Pajtim Statovci and Dina Nayeri – books podcast
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=""></a>
Jun 18, 2019
Women's prize winner Tayari Jones and Sandra Newman – books podcast
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=""></a>
Jun 11, 2019
Hay festival special with Pat Barker, John Lanchester, Max Porter and more – books podcast
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=""></a>
Jun 04, 2019
Inside the world of trauma cleaners – books podcast
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=""></a>
May 28, 2019
The life of Alexander von Humboldt, plus foraging for food – books podcast
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=""></a>
May 21, 2019
'You can't sustain a career on shocking people': is Bret Easton Ellis genuine? – books podcast
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=""></a>
May 14, 2019
Heida: the Icelandic model who became a shepherd – books podcast
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=""></a>
May 07, 2019
Joe Dunthorne and Sarah Crossan on poetry and fiction – books podcast
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=""></a>
Apr 30, 2019
Are we too reverent with William Shakespeare? – books podcast
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=""></a>
Apr 23, 2019
The Man Booker international shortlist and Nicole Flattery – books podcast
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=""></a>
Apr 16, 2019
Elizabeth-Jane Burnett and Ian Maleney on soil, family and loss – books podcast
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=""></a>
Apr 09, 2019
Nina Stibbe and the price of an expert bookseller – books podcast
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=""></a>
Apr 02, 2019
Why is it so hard for white people to talk about racism? – books podcast
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=""></a>
Mar 26, 2019
Therapy on the couch, plus the London book fair – books podcast
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=""></a>
Mar 19, 2019
Finding solace in nature, with Luke Turner – books podcast
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=""></a>
Mar 12, 2019
Why have we forgotten Jack the Ripper's victims? – books podcast
Historians Hallie Rubenhold and Lindsey Fitzharris discuss their books The Five and The Butchering Art. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Mar 05, 2019
Can rocks influence US elections? Lewis Dartnell on how Earth shapes who we are – books podcast
The scientist talks about his latest book Origins: How the Earth Made Us. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
Feb 26, 2019
Leïla Slimani and Cat Person author Kristen Roupenian – books podcast
The two authors discuss their stories about modern love and sex, and we reflect on the legacy of novelist Andrea Levy
Feb 19, 2019
The most disturbing books we've ever read, with Alice Clark-Platts
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
Feb 12, 2019
Jason Reynolds and JD Salinger's posthumous return – books podcast
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
Feb 05, 2019
Rethinking masculinity with Thomas Page McBee - books podcast
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
Jan 30, 2019
Costa biography prize winner Bart van Es and Mathias Énard – books podcast
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
Jan 22, 2019
TS Eliot poetry prize winner Hannah Sullivan and Kevin Powers – books podcast
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
Jan 16, 2019
Should we stop working? And the books of 2019 – books podcast
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
Jan 08, 2019
Sebastian Barry on James Joyce's Eveline – books podcast
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
Jan 01, 2019
Zadie Smith on Giuseppe Pontiggia's Umberto Buti – books podcast
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
Dec 31, 2018
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Ama Ata Aidoo – books podcast
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
Dec 26, 2018
Neil Gaiman on Rudyard Kipling's The Gardener – books podcast
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
Dec 25, 2018
Penelope Lively on MR James' Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad – books podcast
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
Dec 24, 2018
The best audiobooks to enjoy this Christmas - books podcast
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’
Dec 18, 2018
Our favourite books of the year, and prose poetry with Claudia Rankine – books podcast
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
Dec 11, 2018
Crime and passion with Sara Paretsky and André Aciman – books podcast
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
Dec 04, 2018
The art of biography, with Diarmaid MacCulloch and Ken Krimstein – books podcast
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
Nov 27, 2018
Myth-making with Sarah Perry and Maria Dahvana Headley – books podcast
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
Nov 20, 2018
Robin Robertson and Andrew McMillan on sex, war and truth in poetry – books podcast
On this week’s show, Robertson talks about his narrative poem The Long Take and McMillan explores adolescent rites of passage in Playtime
Nov 13, 2018
How does our DNA shape who we are? Robert Plomin and Ivy Pochoda – books podcast
Behavioural geneticist Plomin picks apart the idea of nature versus nurture in Blueprint, and novelist Ivy Pochoda explains her latest novel, Wonder Valley
Nov 06, 2018
Political writing from Terrance Hayes to the Anglo-Saxons – books podcast
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
Oct 30, 2018
Feminist fairytales with Jessie Burton and Kiran Millwood Hargrave – books podcast
We travel to a faraway land, where brave writers fight deadly stereotypes and discover inspiring new ways to tell old stories
Oct 23, 2018
Anna Burns's Booker prize win and poet Kate Tempest – books podcast
Milkman delivers the 2018 Man Booker prize, while we listen in as a poet discusses the lyric art with her editor
Oct 17, 2018
What is it like being Ravenmaster at the Tower of London? – books podcast
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
Oct 09, 2018
Around the world with Simon Reeve and Neil MacGregor – books podcast
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
Oct 02, 2018
Sarah Waters, John Boyne and the 2018 Man Booker prize shortlist – books podcast
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
Sep 25, 2018
Karl Ove Knausgaard on the end of My Struggle – books podcast
As the final volume of his autobiographical novel arrives in English, the Norwegian literary sensation discusses how the books have changed his life
Sep 18, 2018
Kate Atkinson on her new novel, Transcription – books podcast
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
Sep 11, 2018
Eugenia Cheng and Tim Radford on finding solace in science – books podcast
This week, we turn away from the crowds of catastrophist headlines and dystopian fiction and discover hope in the world of science
Sep 04, 2018
Daisy Johnson and Michael Hughes on Classical adaptation - books
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
Aug 28, 2018
Paul Kildea on Chopin and Amy Sackville on Velázquez – books podcast
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
Aug 21, 2018
Navigating modern life with Matt Haig and Christina Dalcher on feminist dystopias – books podcast
We explore the unhealthy nature of modern life with Haig in Notes on a Nervous Planet, while Dalcher talks about her thriller Vox
Aug 14, 2018
Jericho Brown on poetry, religion and race in the US – books podcast
American poet Jericho Brown talks about his latest collection The New Testament
Aug 07, 2018
Refugees, in their own words – books podcast
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
Jul 31, 2018
Michael Ondaatje and the Booker longlist – books podcast
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
Jul 24, 2018
Marcus du Sautoy and James Bridle – books podcast
We talk about the troubling future of tech with artist and writer James Bridle, and the idea of infinity with Marcus du Sautoy
Jul 17, 2018
Summer reading and Ross Raisin on how to be a great writer – books podcast
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
Jul 10, 2018
The rise of autofiction, with Olivia Laing and Christina Patterson – books podcast
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
Jul 03, 2018
Psychedelic drugs: Michael Pollan on the history, science and experience of taking them – books podcast
The famously hands-on journalist talks about his colourful history of psychedelic drugs and their potential for treating addiction, depression and PTSD
Jun 26, 2018
What is it like being a first-time novelist today? – books podcast
On this week’s show, we discuss the challenges – and joys – of becoming an author with Paula Cocozza and Preti Taneja
Jun 19, 2018
Marilynne Robinson on democracy, religion and Donald Trump – books podcast
The celebrated novelist turns her eye to contemporary politics in a new essay collection, What Are We Doing Here?
Jun 12, 2018
Hay festival 2018: the Golden Booker, Akala, Tishani Doshi and more
We discover the five best Booker winners, listen in to a smart rap on racial prejudice, and find out what #metoo means in India
Jun 01, 2018
American facts and fictions: Lawrence Wright and Amy Bloom – books podcast
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
May 29, 2018
Olga Tokarczuk's Man Booker win and David Graeber on pointless jobs – books podcast
We discuss the first winner of Man Booker’s £50,000 prize for translated fiction, and the rise of meaningless labour
May 23, 2018
Madeline Miller and Toby Litt – books podcast
What can history and myth tell us about the #MeToo moment? The books podcast tackles gender politics with a wrestler and a witch
May 15, 2018
Exploring mazes with Henry Eliot – books podcast
This week, the books podcast dives into the labyrinth as we explore the myths and meaning of the maze
May 08, 2018
Aminatta Forna on Happiness, plus what are the best crime novels? – books podcast
On this week’s show, Claire and Sian discuss their favourite whodunnits, plus Aminatta Forna talks about her fourth novel, Happiness
May 01, 2018
The unhealthy truth about doctors - books podcast
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
Apr 24, 2018
Benedict Wells, plus Man Booker International prize and London book fair news – books podcast
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
Apr 17, 2018
Lisa Halliday on her novel Asymmetry – books podcast
On this week’s show, the American novelist talks about her much-discussed debut
Apr 10, 2018
Mary Beard on women and power – books podcast
The Classics professor on the silencing of female voices throughout history, navigating social media and taking a long view of world civilisations
Apr 03, 2018
Samantha Harvey on The Western Wind, plus how to define science fiction – books podcast
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
Mar 27, 2018
Jim Crace on The Melody – books podcast
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
Mar 20, 2018
Man Booker International and the Women's prize for fiction: where to start reading? – books podcast
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
Mar 13, 2018
What makes a good short story? With Chris Power – books podcast
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
Mar 06, 2018
Steven Pinker defends the Enlightenment – books podcast
Is the world going to rack and ruin? The psychologist Steven Pinker makes the case for progress and Enlightenment values
Feb 27, 2018
Do our memories make us who we are? – books podcast
Wendy Mitchell talks about her memoir of early onset dementia and neurologist Jules Montague explains how the brain shapes our sense of self
Feb 20, 2018
Why we need to rethink climate change, with Timothy Morton – books podcast
This week, we talk to philosopher Timothy Morton about his book Being Ecological and why we need to move away from anthropocentrism
Feb 13, 2018
LGBT must-reads and a new history of trans Britain – books podcast
The hard-won victories of trans people, with Christine Burns, plus the classics to read in LGBT history week
Feb 06, 2018
Women and food, and Helen Dunmore's posthumous Costa prize – books podcast
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
Feb 01, 2018
Peter Carey in conversation - books podcast
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
Jan 23, 2018
Nikesh Shukla and Julia Kingsford on The Good Agency, plus Tony White - books podcast
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
Jan 16, 2018
Jonathan Safran Foer on Aleksandar Hemon's The Bees, Part 1 – short story podcast
Jonathan Safran Foer explains why he loves this tale about the Bosnian author’s father, which is then read by Chris Moran
Jan 09, 2018
David Mitchell on The Monkey's Paw by WW Jacobs – short story podcast
Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell introduces one of the great, early 20th century horror stories: WW Jacobs’s spine-tingling The Monkey’s Paw
Jan 05, 2018
Stephen Fry on Saki's Sredni Vashtar - short story podcast
A small boy’s rebellion takes a sinister turn in Saki’s classic tale – a story loved by Stephen Fry, who explains why
Jan 02, 2018
Neil Gaiman on Rudyard Kipling's The Gardener – short story podcast
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
Dec 29, 2017
Penelope Lively on MR James's Oh Whistle and I'll Come to you, my lad - short story podcast
You’ll never sleep in a twin bedroom again after hearing this classic Edwardian ghost story, selected by Penelope Lively read by Simon Callow
Dec 26, 2017
Edward St Aubyn's King Lear and the future of literary fiction - books podcast
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
Dec 19, 2017
1947: When Now Begins and the best books of 2017 – books podcast
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
Dec 12, 2017
Stephen Fry and Emily Wilson on Greek myths – books podcast
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
Dec 05, 2017
Max Tegmark and Ken MacLeod on artificial intelligence – books podcast
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
Nov 28, 2017
Jennifer Egan and M John Harrison – books podcast
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
Nov 21, 2017
Time-travelling with Michael Brooks and Britt Wray – books podcast
We examine the ethics of de-extinction and the origins of quantum mechanics with two science writers reaching across the centuries
Nov 14, 2017
Richard Flanagan and Jesmyn Ward – books podcast
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
Nov 07, 2017
Salman Rushdie on The Golden House, Trump and more – books podcast
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
Oct 31, 2017
Halloween reading with Andrew Michael Hurley – books podcast
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
Oct 24, 2017
George Saunders's Man Booker win and Valeria Luiselli – books podcast
We discuss whether Lincoln in the Bardo really is the best novel of 2017, and Mexican writer Luiselli joins us in the studio
Oct 18, 2017
Maria Alyokhina and Omar El Akkad – books podcast
We talk to the Pussy Riot musician about her memoir and to journalist Omar El Akkad, about his move from journalism to dystopian fiction
Oct 10, 2017
Orhan Pamuk and Nicole Krauss - books podcast
The Turkish Nobel winner and American novelist talk about their new books, The Red-Haired Woman and Forest Dark
Oct 03, 2017
Can books and poetry make you happier? - books podcast
We talk to William Sieghart and Viv Groskop about the restorative properties of literature and poetry - can reading make you happier?
Sep 26, 2017
Robert Webb on modern masculinity – books podcast
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’
Sep 19, 2017
Kamila Shamsie and Preti Taneja on reimagining classics - books podcast
The two novelists have used Greek tragedy and Shakespeare respectively to tell tough stories of modern life. They discuss how they went about it
Sep 12, 2017
Colm Tóibín in conversation – books podcast
The acclaimed Irish novelist talks to Charlotte Higgins about House of Names, his reimagining of the Greek tragedy of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon
Sep 05, 2017
Edinburgh book festival with Colson Whitehead and others – books podcast
We visit the Edinburgh international book festival to speak with Man Booker nominee Whitehead, Norwegian author Lars Mytting and British novelist Rachel Seiffert
Aug 29, 2017
Jenny Zhang and Carolina Sanín – books podcast
On this week’s podcast, we talk to the Chinese-American author Jenny Zhang and the Colombian writer Carolina Sanín
Aug 22, 2017
Living with Oliver Sacks and love in later life: Bill Hayes and Sylvia Brownrigg
On this week’s podcast, we talk to Hayes about his memoir Insomniac City and Brownrigg about her novel Pages for Her
Aug 15, 2017
Summer reading with John Gordon Sinclair and Horatio Clare
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
Aug 08, 2017
Man Booker prize 2017 and poet Kayo Chingonyi – books podcast
On this week’s podcast, we pull apart the 2017 Man Booker prize longlist and talk to poet Kayo Chingonyi about masculinity and race
Aug 01, 2017
Black history: Mumbo Jumbo and Paul Robeson – books podcast
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
Jul 25, 2017
Sara Pascoe and Lucy Worsley on Jane Austen – books podcast
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
Jul 18, 2017
Richard Dawkins and Carlo Rovelli on science and culture – books podcast
Two of the world’s foremost scientists discuss how to bridge the divide between the arts and sciences
Jul 11, 2017
Naomi Klein on neoliberalism and the fightback against Donald Trump – books podcast
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
Jul 04, 2017
Arundhati Roy on The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – books podcast
The Booker Prize-winning author tells a Guardian Live audience about the long-awaited follow-up to her 1997 debut, The God of Small Things
Jun 28, 2017
Fair Field: Piers Plowman's Truth – books podcast
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?
Jun 21, 2017
Fair Field: Piers Plowman's world of work - books podcast
In the second of three original podcasts, William Langland’s 14th-century poem is brought into focus against a contemporary backdrop of precarious labour
Jun 21, 2017
Fair Field: Piers Plowman's dreamworld - books podcast
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
Jun 21, 2017
Reni Eddo-Lodge and Juno Dawson - books podcast
We discuss race, gender and identity with activist Reni Eddo-Lodge and the writer Juno Dawson
Jun 20, 2017
Scottish crime fiction with Ann Cleeves and Chris Brookmyre – books podcast
We investigate the murky world of tartan noir, and look into this week’s headline honours, the Baileys and children’s laureate
Jun 13, 2017
The Legend of the Almond Trees, read by Andrew Scott – Travel folktales for kids podcast
Prince Ibrahim’s Nordic bride yearns for the snow-covered fields of home. But they live in the Algarve. What can the prince do?
Jun 09, 2017
Richard Ford discusses his family memoir – books podcast
The Pulitzer prize-winning author talks to Sarah Churchwell about his new memoir, Between Them: Remembering my Parents
Jun 06, 2017
The Dragon of Palma de Mallorca, read by Andrew Scott – Travel folktales for kids podcast
The Spanish island city is terrorised by a fearsome dragon. But is it really a dragon, or something else?
Jun 02, 2017
Hay festival 2017: Cory Doctorow, Helen Fielding and Shashi Tharoor
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
May 30, 2017
The wandering knight of Zagreb, read by Andrew Scott – Travel folktales for kids podcast
A knight loses his way in a haunted forest and is close to death – until salvation arrives in the form of a beautiful maiden
May 26, 2017
Islands and literature, from Iceland to Jamaica - books podcast
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
May 23, 2017
Pinocchio and the Field of Miracles, read by Andrew Scott – Travel folktales for kids podcast
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
May 19, 2017
Funny memoirs with Patricia Lockwood – books podcast
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
May 16, 2017
Jack, the Giant Killer, read by Andrew Scott – Travel folktales for kids podcast
Cormoran is a bloodthirsty giant who preys on a Cornish village – until a brave little boy named Jack decides to stand up to him
May 12, 2017
Tony Harrison at 80 - books podcast
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
May 09, 2017
Writing about working class life with Lisa McInerney and Lynsey Hanley – books podcast
Irish author McInerney talks about writing working class characters in her novel The Blood Miracles, while social historian Hanley talks about Richard Hoggart’s groundbreaking study, The Uses of Literacy
May 02, 2017
Neil Gaiman on American Gods, Norse Mythology and more – books podcast
The much-loved author talks about seeing American Gods adapted for TV, his love for Norse mythology – and his many other projects
Apr 25, 2017
The shadows of war in Primo Levi and Xan Brooks - books podcast
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
Apr 18, 2017
Sara Baume, Peter Bazalgette and the art of empathy – books podcast
Novelist Sara Baume discusses her novel A Line Made by Walking, while broadcaster Peter Bazalgette makes the case for prioritising compassion in The Empathy Instinct
Apr 11, 2017
George Saunders and the Baileys women's prize – books podcast
In this week’s podcast we speak to Saunders about his novel Lincoln in the Bardo, and rate the finalists for this year’s Baileys women’s prize for fiction
Apr 04, 2017
Man Booker International prize and Dorthe Nors – books podcast
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
Mar 28, 2017
Being a radical optimist with Mohsin Hamid – books podcast
Hamid talks about his latest novel Exit West, in which a couple use doors to move between cities and realities – and we have a chat about speculative fiction
Mar 21, 2017
Baileys longlist author Ayòbámi Adébáyò, and London book fair – books podcast
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
Mar 14, 2017
Daniel Dennett on consciousness and 100 years of Anthony Burgess – books podcast
The influential thinker talks about From Bacteria to Bach and Back, and we discuss the Clockwork Orange author’s legacy
Mar 07, 2017
Fact or fiction: autobiographical novels with Édouard Louis – books podcast
Louis’s acclaimed debut The End of Eddy sparked a media hunt for the truth in France due to its blend of narrative and autobiographical fact. We speak to him about his novel’s reception, plus discuss the best and worst of autofiction
Feb 28, 2017
Reclaiming history with Yaa Gyasi and Chibundu Onuzo - books podcast
The authors of two buzzy new novels, Homegoing and Welcome to Lagos, explore ancient and modern stories of west Africa
Feb 17, 2017
Michael Chabon on The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – books podcast
The Pulitzer prize-winning novelist looks back on a modern classic at a Guardian book club event
Feb 10, 2017
Sebastian Barry on his Costa-winning novel Days Without End – books podcast
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
Feb 03, 2017
The biography of a paperback – books podcast
We chart the business of making books from manuscript to bookshop shelf and beyond
Jan 27, 2017
Searching for alien life with Jim Al-Khalili – books podcast
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
Jan 20, 2017
Alan Bennett discusses Keeping On Keeping On – books podcast
A national treasure reads from the latest volume of his diaries and discusses finding inspiration in the everyday
Jan 13, 2017
The Last Poets – books podcast
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
Jan 06, 2017
Books of the year, with Sarah Perry and Francis Spufford
Costa contenders The Essex Serpent and Golden Hill bring historical fiction to the fore as we predict the books that will last from 2016
Dec 30, 2016
Deadly beauty with Ruth Padel and Lucinda Hawksley – books podcast
Poetry and poison combine as we look at a lavishly illustrated history of arsenic in the home and a book-length Christmas poem
Dec 23, 2016
Nadja Spiegelman and Alex Wheatle - books podcast
How life stories play out in memoir and fiction with the authors of family memoir I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This and YA award-winner Crongton Knights
Dec 16, 2016
Margaret Drabble and the Ruby Dolls - books podcast
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
Dec 09, 2016
Alan Moore talks to Stewart Lee – books podcast
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
Dec 02, 2016
Nordic noir with Kati Hiekkapelto and Antti Tuomainen – books podcast
We investigate crime fiction from the frozen north with two of Finland’s rising literary stars
Nov 25, 2016
Climate change with Amitav Ghosh and Aaron Thier – books podcast
Amitav Ghosh discusses the failure of literary culture to confront climate change, while Aaron Thier explains how his novel Mr Eternity reflects current fears
Nov 18, 2016
Jonathan Safran Foer on his novel Here I Am – books podcast
The American writer discusses his first novel in 11 years, books he hasn’t finished – and how his fiction is driven by instinct
Nov 11, 2016
Goldsmiths prize and Anakana Schofield – books podcast
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
Nov 04, 2016
Susan Hill on ghost stories – books podcast
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
Oct 28, 2016
Booker finalist Paul Beatty and Super Thursday – books podcast
As publishing begins the long climb to Christmas, Paul Beatty joins us to talk about life on the Man Booker shortlist
Oct 21, 2016
Colin Thubron and John Aggleton on memory – books podcast
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
Oct 14, 2016
Naomi Alderman, Lauren Beukes and Alastair Reynolds on gender politics and scifi – books podcast
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.
Oct 07, 2016
Ultimate questions with Adam Biles and Sean Carroll – books podcast
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
Sep 30, 2016
Amos Oz on his novel Judas – books podcast
The Israeli novelist Amos Oz talks about prose, poetry and politics in his latest novel, Judas
Sep 23, 2016
Deborah Levy and the Booker shortlist – books podcast
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
Sep 16, 2016
Tricks of the mind with David Means and Marc Lewis – books podcast
We talk about memory loss and addiction with Man Booker longlisted author David Means and neuroscientist Marc Lewis.
Sep 09, 2016
Rachel Weisz reads from The Constant Gardener by John le Carré – books podcast
As part of a series of readings to celebrate publication of le Carré’s memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel, Rachel Weisz reads from the 2001 novel The Constant Gardener, in which British diplomat Justin Quayle takes on the might of big pharma after the murder of his activist wife in Kenya
Sep 09, 2016