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After almost two years where book events had to take place online only, we take a moment to celebrate the return of in-person events with a trip to the Cheltenham Literature Festival and our flagship shop in London Piccadilly. We speak with Ian Rankin, Malorie Blackman, Anna James and Geena Davis about connecting with readers, the questions that co…
 
When E. H. Gombrich's seminal work of art history, The Story of Art, was first published in 1950 it featured precisely zero female artists. Even today its latest edition features only one. Luckily Katy Hessel has produced The Story of Art Without Men, a timely corrective that puts women centre stage as we have too in this episode of the podcast whi…
 
Featuring Bonnie Garmus, Tess Gunty, Louise Kennedy, Sequoia Nagamatsu, Eloghosa Osunde and Tara M. Stringfellow. A unique opportunity to hear all six authors shortlisted for the inaugural Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize. With a prize celebrating debut novels across genres it's no surprise to find such variety amongst our six nominees. Social comme…
 
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good podcast, must be in want of four historical fiction writers ready to entertain listeners with their insights on why the nineteenth century has so much to tell us about today, how to balance research with storytelling, and why history’s habit of erasing women’s signifi…
 
As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week and its theme of loneliness, we speak with four writers who know the importance of talking about difficult things and why conversation is at the heart of better mental health. Marian Keyes and Candice Carty-Williams share the personal stories that fed into their fiction, whilst Dr Julie Smith brings her clini…
 
Consequences brings together two books that seemed to have one thing in common and then turned out to be connected in entirely different ways. Sam Knight's The Premonitions Bureau is a fascinating look at the work of psychiatrist John Barker and a network of psychic visionaries in the 1960s. A Terrible Kindness is the debut novel from Jo Browning W…
 
All books respond to the world we live in but in this fascinating episode we speak to three incredible authors who have all written books which speak to something absolutely of this time and very often beyond it. How much has the pandemic changed the way we view the world and each other, what about the impact of technology, and what does the future…
 
Cosy crime has been popular for over a hundred years now but with a surge in popularity recently we speak to three authors who've all done something slightly different with the genre to discover the reasons for its enduring appeal, the techniques they use to build up their stories and why we as humans have a fascination with the dark side of life. …
 
Derek Owusu's debut novel was the first fiction to be published by Stormzy's fledgling imprint #Merky Books and went on to win the Desmond Elliot Prize in 2020. In this episode we hear from Derek about the mental health crisis that first encouraged him to put pen to paper, from his editor Tom Avery about changing the mainstream and from chair of ju…
 
It was during a lockdown tidying spree that Stephen Fry reacquainted himself with his substantial tie collection. It will come as no surprise that a man who had over 40 ties by the age of 15, now had a collection in the hundreds. What was surprising was how easily the memories associated with those ties came back to him and so after sharing some of…
 
Marlon James became the first Jamaican-born writer to win the Booker Prize in 2015, when his multi-voiced epic, A Brief History of Seven Killings triumphed amongst a strong shortlist. In this episode we hear from the author about how the novel took its shape, from the publisher about what makes the book such a compelling read and from one of the ju…
 
We Are Not Like Them shows the impact of a police shooting of an unarmed black teenager from a different angle. Two close friends, Jen and Riley, one white, one black, one the wife of the police officer responsible, one the news anchor charged with covering the story. A premise made all the more intriguing as it was written by not one author but tw…
 
Some debut novelists arrive fully formed and as we’ll discover in this episode, Karina Lickorish Quinn is one such novelist; an Anglo-Peruvian writer who has drawn on family memories and the wider history of Peru to create a novel about home, injustice and ghosts that recalls Faulkner’s famous line, ‘The past is never dead. It's not even past.’ Com…
 
Sometimes all you need is a one sentence pitch to immediately get excited about a book. And when publisher Knights Of announced earlier this year that they would be publishing Empress & Aniya, a YA novella from Candice Carty-Williams which would be South London’s answer to Freaky Friday, you could almost hear the whoops and squeals across social me…
 
The rich mythology and linguistic skills on display in Yuri Herrera's Signs Preceding The End Of The World had been thought by some to make it untranslatable but in this episode we hear from the author about the mythical basis for this modern tale of border crossing, from translator Lisa Dillman about meeting the challenges of bringing the Spanish …
 
Publisher And Other Stories have spent the last decade bringing bold new voices to English readers and in their anniversary year they continue to break new ground. Interdisciplinary artist Tice Cin takes the reader inside the Turkish men's clubs and households of North London for a unique perspective on the heroin trade that spans generations and b…
 
When Susanna Clarke's magical vision of an alternate Georgian England arrived it became an instant bestseller but as we discover in this episode, the book's journey was far from certain. Clarke shares how a writer's confidence can wax and wane and we discover how secret support behind the scenes helped her writing come into the light. Featuring Nei…
 
In 2014 a book with a striking bird on its cover appeared in bookshops but what kind of book was it? Was it a memoir about grief, or a book about training a goshawk? Was it a biography of T. H. White, or was it nature writing? Or was it perhaps a melding of all of these things? And how did this hybrid book go on to become an award winner and intern…
 
Being a small, independent publisher doesn't mean thinking small, and with prize-winning successes already under their belt, Galley Beggar Press took on the challenge of publishing a novel consisting of a single sentence that ran for more than a thousand pages. Ducks, Newburyport went on to win prizes too as well as Booker recognition and in this e…
 
With perfect timing, our episode telling the inside story of A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll arrives just as we announce that it has been chosen as the overall winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2021. We speak to those involved about the serendipity of how it came to be published, why it's important to get the right people in the room…
 
As a bowler for the West Indies, Michael Holding was well known for his measured run up and devastating fast bowling, an approach he has taken into his punditry where he is always calm and controlled but also frank and honest with his opinions. So when rain delayed the start of play and conversation was steered to the impact of racism in cricket in…
 
After a few years working at one of the most established publishers in New York, Zakiya Dalila Harris was inspired to write a novel which would turn its gaze on the world of publishing itself and set up one of the most intriguing literary thrillers of the year. She spoke to us about the encounter that provided the novel's seed and the experience of…
 
The Vanishing Half, our current Fiction Book of the Month was first published last year, as the impact of lockdown hit us all and, over in America, the murder of George Floyd stirred up debate and protest. With the book now available in paperback we hear from Brit Bennett about the impact of that but also what came before it, from her editor about …
 
As an independent publisher that consistently punches above its weight, with Booker Prize shortlisting and other notable successes, we speak to Sam Jordison and Eloise Millar, the two people behind Galley Beggar Press, about their latest publication, Insignificance by James Clammer. We also hear from James about the world of the working class, his …
 
The novel that cemented the reputation of David Mitchell as one of the most exciting and innovative writers of his generation is also a masterclass in structure. In this episode of the podcast we get to hear about the painstaking work that went into its construction but also the happy accidents that emanated from that to help make the novel such a …
 
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