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Continuing our month-long season to celebrate the English PEN centenary, World Book Club talks to multi-award-winning Turkish-Kurdish writer and activist Burhan Sönmez about his unforgettable novel Istanbul, Istanbul.At once powerfully political and intensely personal, Istanbul, Istanbul is the story of four prisoners kept in underground cells bene…
 
This month, to kick off a mini-season to celebrate a very special centenary World Book Club talks, for a second time, to the Nobel Prize-winning giant of world literature, Professor Wole Soyinka, about one hundred years of the writers’ organisation English PEN. PEN is the influential pressure group which helps support and campaign for the release o…
 
World Book Club this month talks to the award-winning French writer Maylis de Kerangal about her remarkable and haunting novel Mend the Living.After a horrific car accident on the Normandy coast surfer Simon Limbeau is rushed to hospital where his devastated parents are later told that he is on life-support, but is brain-dead. His heart, however, i…
 
To mark the bicentenary of the birth of the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky World Book Club revisits Crime and Punishment in an edition recorded at the elegant Pushkin House, London’s Russian cultural hub, in 2016.To help us explore Dostoyevsky’s haunting classic thriller Harriett Gilbert was joined by acclaimed Russian writer Boris Akunin …
 
World Book Club this month talks to the world-renowned Australian author Jane Harper at her home in Melbourne, Australia, about her internationally garlanded thriller, The Dry.Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, tensions in a small town community become unbearable when the Hadler family are found brutally murdered. Everyone thi…
 
Serious Men tells the intertwined stories of wily Ayyan Mani - who tries to pass off his son as a mathematical genius - and life at the Institute of Theory and Research in Mumbai, where Ayyan works, and where veteran scientists battle over their pet theories about how life began on Earth.Serious Men won the Hindu Best Fiction Award in 2010 and the …
 
This month World Book Club talks to acclaimed Canadian writer Louise Penny about the very first in her astonishingly successful series of Inspector Gamache crime novels.When a much-loved inhabitant of the village of Three Pines in the Eastern Townships of Quebec is found dead in the woods during Thanksgiving, the locals are certain that it was just…
 
Spanning much of the twentieth century and told with an elegant simplicity which belies the harshness of the tale it tells, Robert Seethaler's A Whole Life is the story of one man's relationship with an ancient landscape.Andreas Egger knows every nook and cranny of the Alpine mountain valley that is his home and from which vantage point he witnesse…
 
A modern classic in the African literary canon and voted in the Top Ten of Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century, Nervous Conditions is the coming-of-age story of two Shona girls, Tambudzai and Nyasha, both trying to find their place in contemporary Zimbabwe. Whilst Nyasha has been to England and questions the effect of that Westernisation on…
 
This month World Book Club discusses Bill Bryson’s hugely acclaimed travelogue Notes from a Small Island with the author and his readers around the world. After two decades as a resident of the United Kingdom, Bryson took what he thought might be a last affectionate trip around his adoptive country before returning to live in his native America. No…
 
On this month’s World Book Club, Icelandic literary superstar Sjón will be answering questions from readers around the world about his novel Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was.Set in Reykjavik in 1918, it’s the story of sixteen year old Mani, whose life is completely changed by the arrival of the Spanish flu in the city.It’s a fascinating novel about…
 
A novel of breathtaking sweep revealing the devastating impact of slavery through history. This month World Book Club discusses the multi-prize-winning debut novel Homegoing with its acclaimed Ghanaian author Yaa Gyasi and her fans around the world. The story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the …
 
Life or death choices in a bid to survive the horrors of 1970s Communist ChinaThis month in the penultimate edition of a year celebrating the globe’s greatest women writers World Book Club talks to acclaimed Chinese author Yiyun Li about her harrowing debut novel The Vagrants. Winner of the Guardian First Book Award The Vagrants is based on real ev…
 
A fast-moving, passionate, genre-bending work of art that both dazzles and entertains. This month, World Book Club discusses the much garlanded novel How to Be Both with its acclaimed British author Ali Smith and her fans around the world. Still not able to gather together in a studio, presenter Harriett Gilbert and Ali Smith will be talking remote…
 
This month’s World Book Club is the ninth in our series celebrating the greatest women writers at work across the globe. Harriett Gilbert and listeners from around the world talk to the world-renowned American author Elizabeth Strout at her home in New Brunswick, Maine, in the USA. The novel under discussion is her internationally-garlanded Olive K…
 
The Australian writer Helen Garner joins Harriett Gilbert as World Book Club continues its celebration of women writers. She’ll be talking about her 2008 novel The Spare Room. It’s the story of two women: Nicola, who has cancer, and Helen who looks after her for three challenging weeks. Helen has her doubts about the unconventional clinic where Nic…
 
This month, for the seventh World Book Club edition celebrating International Women writers, Harriett Gilbert is joined by the remarkable British writer Bernardine Evaristo from her home in east London to talk about her Booker-Prize-winning novel Girl, Woman, Other. Although still unable to gather an audience together in a studio, we take questions…
 
This month World Book Club talks to acclaimed British author Deborah Levy about her Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel Hot Milk. In this era of coronavirus we are sadly not able to gather together in a studio but we will be talking remotely to international listeners via phonelines, emails, skype calls, social media – you name it! In Levy’s hypnoti…
 
This month World Book Club marks the recent worldwide publication of The Mirror and The Light by treating you to a repeat of our memorable edition of the programme with the double-Booker prize-winning British writer Hilary Mantel.Recorded two years ago at the Man Booker 50 Festival at the South Bank Centre, which was celebrating the 50th anniversar…
 
Long-listed for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, Bhutto’s lyrical debut novel unfolds over the course of one morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan's Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border.Set during the American invasion of Afghanistan, it chronicles the lives of five young people trying to live and love in a world on fire. On a day s…
 
French-Moroccan writer Leïla Slimani joins Harriett Gilbert in the Radio Theatre at the BBC and readers from around the world to talk about her novel Lullaby, the devastating story of a nanny, Louise, who kills two children in her care.The book – an international bestseller – opens with this horrific crime then travels back in time to discover why …
 
Harriett Gilbert is joined by Zimbabwean novelist Petina Gappah for this month’s edition of World Book Club, continuing 2020’s celebration of women’s writing. Petina will be answering questions from readers around the world about her novel The Book Of Memory. It’s narrated by Memory, an albino woman convicted of murdering her wealthy white guardian…
 
Naomi Alderman talks about her extraordinary novel The Power which imagines that women suddenly develop an electrifying strength, putting them firmly in control - of everything. The new order spreads around the globe, liberating women from enslavement and subjugation but also freeing their darker ambitions. It’s a pacey read, teeming with character…
 
This month World Book Club is in Germany marking the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall with a programme from the St George’s Bookshop in the heart of the capital. We’re speaking with one of the country’s greatest living writers Jenny Erpenbeck about her highly acclaimed novel, Visitation. Visitation’s central character is a beguiling …
 
David Nicholls talks about his internationally successful novel Us. Almost three decades after their improbable relationship first blossomed in London biochemist Douglas and his attractive artist wife Connie live seemingly happily enough with their moody 17-year-old son, Albie just outside London. Then Connie drops a bombshell: she thinks she wants…
 
The Colombian novelist and journalist Héctor Abad discusses his memoir Oblivion, a heart-breaking tribute to his late father. Héctor Abad Gómez was a medical doctor, professor and human rights campaigner in the city of Medellín, Colombia, whose criticism of the Colombian regime led to his brutal murder by paramilitaries in 1987. One of the most exq…
 
British writer Ann Cleeves discusses Raven Black, the haunting first novel in her award-winning Shetland crime series, with presenter Harriett Gilbert, a studio audience and readers around the world. On a remote Scottish island in the Shetland Isles, a teenage girl is found dead in a snow-covered field. Some years ago, another young girl disappeare…
 
Acclaimed Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma talks about his novel The Fishermen. Shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, The Fishermen tells the story of four young brothers who defy their authoritarian father to go fishing in a forbidden river on the outskirts of the western Nigerian town where they live. After a local madman issues a shocking pr…
 
Acclaimed British writer Andrea Levy was only 62 when she died earlier this year. This month another chance to hear this hugely popular author talking about her multi-prize-winning novel Small Island. A thought-provoking tale of love, friendship and immigration set in London in 1948, Small Island focuses on the diaspora of Jamaican immigrants, thro…
 
This month World Book Club talks to award-winning writer Siri Hustvedt about her novel What I Loved, a troubling, often turbulent tale of love, art, friendship and heartbreak set amidst the darkly flamboyant New York art scene of the late twentieth century.Scholars Leo and his wife Erica admire, then befriend, artist Bill and his first and second w…
 
This month World Book Club talks to award-winning American writer Donna Leon about her celebrated novel Death at La Fenice. When legendary German conductor Helmut Wellauer is found dead in his dressing room two acts into a performance of La Traviata at Venice’s spectacular opera house, police commissario Guido Brunetti is called in. Despite being u…
 
Highly acclaimed British author Tessa Hadley talks to Harriett Gilbert about her award-winning novel - The Past. Recorded at the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival in the elegant surroundings of The Mathematical Institute, part of the university. Tessa skilfully evokes a brewing storm of lust and envy, the indelible connections of memory and affec…
 
This month a special edition of BBC World Book Club coming from Nairobi in Kenya. Lawrence Pollard talks to celebrated Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o in the company of an enthusiastic audience of readers and students who have gathered in the bustling bookshop of Nairobi University where Ngugi was once a director. We’re discussing Ngũgĩ's landmark …
 
This month we’re talking to bestselling British writer JoJo Moyes about her wildly popular novel Me Before You. Lou is a small town girl in need of a job. Will is a successful high-powered city trader who becomes wheelchair bound following an accident and decides he doesn’t want to go on living.And then Lou is hired for six months to be his new car…
 
World Book Club talks to one of the world’s leading thriller writers, British-born Lee Child. Killing Floor is the first book in the internationally popular Jack Reacher series and presents the all-action hero for the first time, as the tough ex-military cop of no fixed abode: a righter of wrongs, and not a man to mess with.Early one morning Reache…
 
This month's World Book Club once again comes from China's capital Beijing. Lawrence Pollard interviews acclaimed and controversial writer Chan Koonchung about his much debated dystopian novel The Fat Years from a buzzy local bookstore in the city centre, filled with an audience of excited readers ready with their questions for the author.Chan’s sp…
 
This month BBC World Book Club comes from Beijing with Lawrence Pollard. The programme is a guest of the Bookworm, three rooms and a roof terrace full of books in Chinese and English, a fixture on the literary scene here for over a decade. Bestselling Chinese writer Lijia Zhang answers questions about her novel Lotus. Lijia taught herself English w…
 
This month on World Book Club award-winning British writer Kate Atkinson discusses her celebrated novel Life After Life. In it Atkinson poses the question: What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born and then dies before she can draw her first br…
 
On this month’s World Book Club, as he turns seventy, another chance to hear acclaimed American writer James Ellroy, who over a span of fifteen years worked on a massive fictional chronicle of 1960s America. American Tabloid, the first of the three books, exposes the underbelly of a country on the threshold of Kennedy's golden age, and follows thre…
 
This month’s World Book Club broadcasts from the Man Booker 50 Festival at the Southbank Centre, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the renowned prize. In the World Book Club chair is the double-Booker prize-winning British writer Hilary Mantel discussing the second volume in her acclaimed series of novels about Thomas Cromwell. Bring Up the Bodie…
 
This month World Book Club talks to internationally celebrated Indian writer Anuradha Roy about her much-loved novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing.Spanning three generations of an Indian family from the turn of the 20th century to India's partition An Atlas of Impossible Longing traces the intertwining lives of the inhabitants of a vast and isola…
 
Epic in scope, Away is the captivating story of young Lillian Leyb, whose family is destroyed in a horrific Russian pogrom and who comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When she hears that her daughter might still be alive, Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the Yiddish theater on New York's L…
 
This month World Book Club talks to British writer Sarah Waters about her chart-topping novel, Tipping the Velvet.Celebrating twenty years since its first publication Tipping the Velvet is a bawdy, historical, lesbian romance, following the startling career of Nan King, oyster girl from Whitstable turned music-hall star turned rent boy. Star-struck…
 
Presenter Lawrence Pollard talks to chart-topping Chinese-American writer Celeste Ng and an audience gathered in the local Boston radio Newsfeed Café in the Boston Public Library about her bestselling novel Everything I Never Told You.In 1970s small-town Ohio Lydia is the favorite child of parents, determined that she will fulfill the dreams they w…
 
Award-winning Dominican American writer Junot Diaz talks to World Book Club on location in Boston, US, about his wildly popular novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Moving across generations and continents, from the dark and tragic past in the Dominican Republic to struggles and dreams in suburban America the novel chronicles Oscar and his f…
 
This month World Book Club talks to Scottish poet Laureate Jackie Kay about her award winning novel, Trumpet.When legendary jazz trumpeter Joss Moody dies an extraordinary secret is revealed, one that he shared in life only with his beloved wife, Millie. On learning the truth about his father, their adopted son Colman is devastated and becomes easy…
 
This month World Book Club comes from the Belgium capital Brussels for an Agatha Christie special.The programme visits the Bibliotheca Wittockiana to discuss one of the bestselling crime novels of all time: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie in which that shrewdest of detectives Hercule Poirot hunts for a killer aboard one of the world…
 
Best-selling Australian writer Richard Flanagan talks about his Booker prize-winning novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.This unforgettable novel about the cruelty of war and the tenuousness of love and life tells the story of captive Australian soldiers forced into hard labour, working on the Burmese railway during and after World War Two. At …
 
Best-selling British writer Alan Hollinghurst talks about his Booker prize-winning novel, The Line of Beauty.In the summer of 1983 20-year-old graduate Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the glamorous Notting Hill home of ambitious Tory MP Gerald Fedden. Nick’s glittering party and politics filled life is contrasted with the realities of his se…
 
On this month’s World Book Club British writer Jane Gardam discusses her award-winning novel Old Filth with the studio audience at Broadcasting House and listeners from around the world. Edward Feathers is a child of the Raj. His earliest memories are of his beloved Amah, a teenage Malay girl whom he is soon torn away from when he is sent back to b…
 
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