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Bookclub

BBC, BBC Radio 4
288 episodes
Led by James Naughtie, a group of readers talk to acclaimed authors about their best-known novels

Disclaimer: the content and artwork of this podcast are the property of its owner and are not affiliated with nor endorsed by Audiotrails.

Liane Moriarty - Big Little Lies

James Naughtie and a group of readers talk to Australian author Liane Moriarty about her New York Times bestselling novel Big Little Lies. Set in the sunny world of Pirriwee Public Primary School in the beautiful North Shore area of Sydney, there’s a dark thread of hidden violence running under the…

Amor Towles - A Gentleman in Moscow

James Naughtie and a group of readers talk to Amor Towles about his bestselling novel A Gentleman in Moscow. The 30 year story of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov takes in the sweep of Russian history from the period just after the Russian Revolution, through the Stalinist purges, and heading towards …

Kei Miller - The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion

James Naughtie and a group of readers talk to award winning poet, novelist and essayist Kei Miller about his Forward Prize Winning poetry collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion. The collection is set on Jamaica and structured through conversations between the map maker, trying to o…

Tana French - The Wych Elm

James Naughtie and a group of readers talk to acclaimed Irish crime writer Tana French about her novel The Wych Elm, which was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2018, and a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, The New York Times Book Review, Amazon, The Boston Globe, LitHub, Vulture, Slate, Elle, Vox, an…

Kazuo Ishiguro - Never Let Me Go

Kazuo Ishiguro, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, discusses his novel Never Let Me Go with James Naughtie and a group of invited readers. In one of the most acclaimed novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro tells the story of Kathy, Tommy, Ruth and other school friends growing up in a darkly…

David Vann - Legend of a Suicide

David Vann discusses his novel Legend of a Suicide with James Naughtie and this month's group of readers. Legend of a Suicide is an intimate and profound account of a family tragedy, told in six linked stories that deal with the complicated misunderstandings between a son and his father, and descr…

Tayari Jones - An American Marriage

Tayari Jones discusses An American Marriage, which won the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019. The novel tells the story of Roy and Celestial, a newly wed and successful African-American couple in Atlanta whose marriage is tested when the husband is imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. The book t…

Joseph O'Connor - Star of the Sea

Joseph O'Connor talks about his novel of Irish emigration at the time of the Famine, Star of the Sea with James Naughtie and readers. In the winter of 1847, the Star of the Sea sets sails from Ireland for New York. Among the refugees are a maidservant, a bankrupt aristocrat, an aspiring novelist a…

Oyinkan Braithwaite - My Sister, The Serial Killer

Oyinkan Braithwaite talks about her novel My Sister, The Serial Killer, a story full of deadpan wit and dark humour about two sisters in Lagos. Korede is bitter and jealous of her beautiful sister Ayoola, who is the favourite child. A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works is the…

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

James Naughtie and Louise Welsh discussed Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

August's edition is a Classic Bookclub - Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped - and is part of BBC Radio 4's ongoing support for students during the Covid-19 crisis. In the absence of Stevenson, our guide to the book is author Louise Welsh, who has written an opera inspired by him. Kidnapped is on…

Scott Turow - Presumed Innocent

Scott Turow talks about his first thriller, Presumed Innocent, with James Naughtie and a group of readers. The novel was first published in Britain in 1987 and Scott's books have since sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. The novel was seen as groundbreaking as it spawned a whole generation…

Max Porter - Lanny

Max Porter talks about his highly acclaimed novel Lanny, which was nominated for the Booker Prize 2019, and recently released in paperback. Max is one of the most exciting literary talents to emerge in recent years, with Lanny his follow-up novel to his 2015 debut, Grief Is the Thing with Feathe…

Rebecca Solnit - The Faraway Nearby

Rebecca Solnit is a leading American essayist and writer. She talks to James Naughtie and a group of invited readers about The Faraway Nearby, her recollections of her mother's advancing Alzheimer's and the power of storytelling. One summer, as their mother was diagnosed with dementia Rebecca's br…

Jenny Offill – Dept. of Speculation

American novelist Jenny Offill talks to James Naughtie and readers about her novel Dept. of Speculation. The novel is the story of a relationship between two people whose names we never know. They meet by chance - she’s a writer and he's an artist working with sound. They write to each other and t…

Marian Keyes - Rachel's Holiday

Marian Keyes talks about one of her most popular novels, Rachel's Holiday. Rachel Walsh is an Irish woman in her late 20s living in New York, but whose life is disintegrating around her. She's lost her dead-end job; her boyfriend Luke has broken up with her; her best friend and flat-mate Brigit ca…

James Meek - The People's Act of Love

Journalist James Meek talks about his novel The People's Act of Love, first published in 2005, a bold and imaginative work based in the wilds of Siberia where a strange and violent group of individuals come together with sinister results. Set in a time of great social upheaval, warfare, and terro…

Erin Morgenstern - The Night Circus

American author Erin Morgenstern talks about her fantasy novel The Night Circus which has become a cult favourite with readers. James Naughtie presents and an invited group of readers ask the questions. It's the story of a mysterious Victorian travelling circus that only opens at night and is con…

Ben Lerner - Leaving the Atocha Station

American author Ben Lerner talks about Leaving the Atocha Station, his first novel narrated by a young man living outside his usual experience. Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable, young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self an…

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

To mark Bookclub's 21st birthday Helen Fielding talks about her creation Bridget Jones, with the first novel in the series, Bridget Jones's Diary. Bridget has now become an iconic figure in modern fiction. Bridget Jones started life as a weekly column in the pages of The Independent in 1995, when …

Colson Whitehead - The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead talks about his novel The Underground Railroad with James Naughtie and readers The novel is a devastating and imaginative account of a young slave's bid for freedom from a brutal Georgian plantation in the American South. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it wo…

Aminatta Forna - The Memory of Love

Aminatta Forna discusses her novel The Memory of Love with James Naughtie and a group of readers. The Memory of Love has as its background three decades of unrest and violence in Sierra Leone, Aminatta Forna's father's home country and the one where she mostly grew up. The story deals with two …

Owen Sheers - I Saw A Man

Owen Sheers talks about his novel I Saw A Man with James Naughtie and a group of readers at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea. After the sudden loss of his wife, Michael Turner moves from Wales to London to start again. Living on a quiet street in Hampstead, he develops a close bond with the Nelson…

Gail Honeyman - Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Gail Honeyman talks about her novel Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine which won the 2017 Costa First Novel Award and has been a runaway success since. Gail was inspired to write her debut novel after reading an article in which a young woman described her lonely life. On the outside, her life…

David Szalay - All That Man Is

David Szalay discusses his novel All That Man Is which was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2016. All That Man Is is a meditation of modern man told through the stories of nine men from across Europe, who are all at different stages of their lives. David says the three ages of man was pr…

Louise Doughty - Apple Tree Yard

Louise Doughty talks about her novel Apple Tree Yard, which went on to be a popular BBC television drama. It is the story of Yvonne, a high-flying married scientist, whose personal life is, by turns, erotic and troubled and, eventually, disastrous. Completely out of character, Yvonne has consens…

Richard Holmes - The Age of Wonder

Richard Holmes talks about The Age of Wonder, his non-fiction account of the Romantic age, as scientific and artistic thinking began to diverge. In the book he describes the scientific ferment that swept through Britain in the late-18th century and tells the stories of the celebrated innovators …

Simon Mawer - Tightrope

Simon Mawer talks about Tightrope, an espionage story featuring the enigmatic agent Marian Sutro which is set during World War II and the years into the Cold War. Tightrope opens as Marian returns to England having survived Ravensbruck concentration camp. She had been parachuted into France by th…

Alice Oswald - Falling Awake

Alice Oswald, Radio 4's Poet in Residence, discusses her collection Falling Awake which won the Costa Poetry Prize 2016. Falling Awake explores two of Alice Oswald’s recurring preoccupations - with the natural world, and with the myths of more ancient civilizations. Alice studied Classics at uni…

Jessie Burton - The Miniaturist

Jessie Burton discusses The Miniaturist, her debut novel which was the subject of a bidding war between 11 publishers at the 2013 London Book Fair. Set in Amsterdam in 1686–87, the novel was inspired by Petronella Oortman's doll's house which is on display at the Rijksmuseum. Jessie explains how s…