The Guardian Books podcast

The Guardian Books podcast Podcast

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 contemporary writing, this is the perfect book worm’s companion

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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’...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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?...

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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’...

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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...

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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...

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Reni Eddo-Lodge and Juno Dawson - books podcast
We discuss race, gender and identity with activist Reni Eddo-Lodge and the writer Juno Dawson...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Amos Oz on his novel Judas – books podcast
The Israeli novelist Amos Oz talks about prose, poetry and politics in his latest novel, Judas...

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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...

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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...

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David Harewood reads from A Small Town in Germany by John le Carré – books podcast
As part of a series of readings to celebrate publication of le Carré’s memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel, David Harewood reads from the 1968 novel A Small Town in Germany, in which Alan Turner investigates the mysterious disappearance of a foreign office worker in the West German Capital, Bonn...

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The art of editing – books podcast
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...

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Maggie Nelson and Chris Kraus on confessional writing – books podcast
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...

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Book festivals around the world – books podcast
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...

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Russian poetry and poison with Luke Harding and Pussy Riot - books podcast
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...

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Rewriting the Qur'an and rereading Hanya Yanagihara – books podcast
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...

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Writing about art, music and loneliness – books podcast
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...

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Reading Infinite Jest 20 years on – books podcast
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...

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Guardian Books Podcast: a special from the Calais Jungle
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...

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Welcome to Britain with Ben Judah and Sunjeev Sahota – books podcast
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...

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Celebrating libraries with Ali Smith, Jackie Kay and Tom Holland – books podcast
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...

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Frederick Forsyth with Mark Lawson - Guardian Live event
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...

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