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The Biblio File hosted by Nigel Beale

Arts & Culture Podcasts

THE BIBLIO FILE is one of the world's leading podcasts about "the book" and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by Nigel Beale it features wide ranging conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other certified bibliophiles.

THE BIBLIO FILE is one of the world's leading podcasts about "the book" and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by Nigel Beale it features wide ranging conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other certified bibliophiles.




THE BIBLIO FILE is one of the world's leading podcasts about "the book" and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by Nigel Beale it features wide ranging conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other certified bibliophiles.








Pamela Paul on her role as books editor at The New York Times

Pamela Paul was books editor at the New York Times from 2013 to March 2022 when she became an opinion columnist for the newspaper. We talk mostly about the role that books editors play in the lifecycle of 'the book.' I also whine a fair amount about how I don't like the fact that she left her position plus we diverge into discussion about Pamela's recent opinion piece 'There's More Than One Way to Ban a Book.' Topics tackled also include self-censorship in the publishing business...


James Marsh on making love and encyclopedias

Why listen to James Marsh? Because he knows about love and encyclopedias. He grew up in The Junction district of Toronto surviving a difficult childhood, and began his career in publishing at Holt Rinehart and Winston where he was editor of a Centennial history of Canada entitled Unity and Diversity. He later became executive editor of McClelland and Stewart's Carleton Library Series, after which he was hired by Mel Hurtig as editor-in-chief of The Canadian Encyclopedia - the biggest...


Nick Anthony on why he's workshopping his controversial first novel

Nick Anthony is a writer, stand-up comic, and screen-writer. He's participating in this year's Prague Summer Program for Writers and his novel, tentatively entitled Two Hits of Acid in Cambodia, was just workshopped this past week. We talk about the experience, but not before discussing magic, stand-up comedy writing; new material that kills; God complexes; screen-writing; Tarantino's Django Unchained; suspense and humour; intelligence and humour; doubt; and Dave Chappelle. We then talk...


Alexandra Pringle on arm-hair and other secrets to great editing

Why listen to Alexandra Pringle? Because Richard Charkin told me that she's the best editor in the English speaking world, that's why. Alexandra was editor-in-chief at Bloomsbury Publishing for more than two decades. She was recently appointed Executive Publisher. She began her publishing career at the British magazine Art Monthly before joining the women's publisher Virago in 1978. She became Editorial Director in 1984, and moved to Hamish Hamilton in 1991 to undertake the same role....


Marius Kociejowski reflects on the Soul of the Book Trade

What's not to like here? Marius Kociejowski is charming, erudite and funny. Why should you listen to him? He's just written a memoir about the soul of the book trade. What happens in bookstores doesn't happen elsewhere​ he says. The multifariousness of human nature is more on show​ here​ ​t​han anywhere else, he says, and ​"​I think it’s because of books, what they are, what they release in ourselves, and what they become when we make them magnets to our desires.”​ The ​memoir is called A...


Richard Katrovas on Creative Writing Programs and Publishing First Books

I'm in Prague for the Summer. Going to be participating in one of the world's leading creative writing programs. I interviewed its founder Richard Katrovas. Why listen to Richard? Having run the Prague Summer Program for Writers for more than two decades, he knows a lot about the process of teaching creative writing; plus he knows karate. We talk about listening and critiquing artfully, not fucking with style, the formalization of a sense of literary community; counter-culture, the...


Mark Andrews on Collecting Books about the Science and Engineering of Water

Why did I interview Mark Andrews? Because he's a fellow Canadian, he's an exceptional book collector who brings an engineer's mind to the task, and he's just published a beautiful book featuring selections from his book collection, entitled The Science and Engineering of Water; An illustrated catalogue of books and manuscripts on Italian hydraulics, 1500 - 1800; it's exemplary. Exactly the kind of thing every book collector should think about doing - in some iteration - with his/her/their...


Mark Samuels Lasner on book collecting, after the dopamine

Why am I interviewing Mark Samuels Lasner for a third time? Because he's a recognized and respected book collector who knows how to speak intelligently and amusingly about books. And though we've already talked about his impressive collections that cover late 19th century British literary culture, and The Bodley Head, I wanted to learn about what happens "after the dopamine" hits. What he's done with his collections - the cataloguing, the scholarship, the exhibitions, the research, the talks...


Kat McKenna on how Tik Tok's BookTok sells books

I came across Kat McKenna's name in an article written by Alison Flood in The Guardian last year. I'd googled Tik Tok's "Book-Tok" because I'd heard it was moving a lot of YA books and wanted to learn more. Kat was quoted in Alison's piece. It was clear she knew what made BookTok tick. I contacted her and now she's on the show. Kat has worked in UK publishing for almost 15 years specialising in children's and teen/YA marketing and brand strategy, and "delivers exciting and audience...


Stephen Enniss on special collections libraries and value

Stephen Enniss is director of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin. Previous posts include Head Librarian at the Folger Shakespeare Library and Director of Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library where he made a series of impressive acquisitions including the archives of Seamus Heaney, Salman Rushdie and Ted Hughes. Since taking over at the Ransom Center in 2013, Stephen has overseen the acquisition of the archives of Ian McEwan, J.M. Coetzee,...


Sarah Miniaci on how to publicize a book in 2022

Sarah Miniaci is a freelance book publicist with fifteen years of experience in the New York and Toronto markets. Ken Whyte's Sutherland House is one of her clients. Ken interviewed Sarah for a recent issue of Shush, his excellent Substack newsletter on the publishing business. Together they surveyed today's new publishing landscape. With the help of Michael Legat's An Author's Guide to Publishing, Sarah and I do the same here, only with our voices, tracing the evolution of book publicity...


Bob Rae on Orwell's Politics and the English Language, totalitarianism and genocide

Bob Rae is a Canadian diplomat, lawyer, former Premier of Ontario, and former interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. A Rhodes Scholar and graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, he is currently Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations. He has been elected to federal and provincial parliaments 11 times (between 1978 and 2013), and reveres the English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic George Orwell. Because of this I invited him to engage in a conversation...


Stuart Kells reveals the truth about Allen Lane and Penguin Books

Author/historian Stuart Kells has been chasing rare books and other bookish treasures since childhood. In the 1980s he went for classic sci-fi paperbacks from Ace and Dell, and authors such as Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein. When he moved to Melbourne in the summer of 1989 he was amazed by the city’s bookshops, especially secondhand shops - notably Alice’s and Sainsbury’s in Carlton. When ​he wasn’t looking for books​ here he was fossicking in the Co-op bookshop at Melbourne...


Laura J. Miller updates us on Reluctant Capitalists her book on bookselling

Over the past half-century, bookselling, like many retail sectors, has evolved from an business dominated by independent bookstores to one in which chain stores have significant market share. This transformation has often been a less-than-smooth process, especially so in bookselling, argues Laura J. Miller, because more than most other consumer goods, books are the focus of passionate debate. What drives this debate? And why do so many people believe that bookselling should be immune to...


Jonathan Kay on how to be a Ghostwriter

Jonathan Kay is a Canadian journalist. He was editor-in-chief of The Walrus magazine, and is a senior editor of Quillette. He was previously comment pages editor, columnist, and blogger for the Toronto-based Canadian daily newspaper National Post, and continues to contribute to the newspaper on a freelance basis. He's also a ghostwriter, best known in this capacity as the author of Justin Trudeau's memoir Common Ground. During our conversation we talk about Jon's ghostwriting practice -...


Kathryn Schulz on Death and Love, Memoirs and Essays, and

Kathryn Schulz joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2015. In 2016, she won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing and a National Magazine Award for “The Really Big One,” her story on seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest. Previously, she was the book critic for New York, the editor of the environmental magazine Grist, and a reporter and editor at the Santiago Times. She is the author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. We talk about Lost and Found, her just published...


Larry Grobel on how he writes his short stories

Larry Grobel is a journalist, author and teacher. He has written more than 25 books including Conversations with Capote (which received a PEN Special Achievement award) and The Art of the Interview (which has been used as a text in many journalism schools), most of his books however are short story collections. His latest is called The Narcissist. Over the years he's written for dozens of publications including the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly, but he's best known...


James Wood on his role as a book critic

James Wood is a literary critic, essayist and novelist. He was The Guardian's chief literary critic between 1992 and 1995, and a senior editor at The New Republic between 1995 and 2007. Since roughly that time he's taught the Practice of Literary Criticism at Harvard University and has been a staff writer and book critic at The New Yorker magazine. In 2009, he won the National Magazine Award for reviews and criticism. Books include How Fiction Works, the novel Upstate, and essay...


William Taylor on how to sell your books through an auction house

William Taylor Jr. is a cataloger with PBA Galleries, a San Francisco-based auction house for rare books and ephemera; he specializes in fine literature, counterculture and poetry. He's an avid reader, and a prolific writer. His first book of fiction is included in the curriculum at select universities across the United States. In 2013 he was the recipient of an Acker Award, a tribute named after groundbreaking writer Kathy Acker given to members of the avant-garde arts communities in both...


Booker Prize winner Damon Galgut on how he writes novels

Damon Galgut is a South African novelist and playwright. He was awarded the 2021 Booker Prize for his novel The Promise and shortlisted for the prize in 2003 and 2010 right about the time I first interviewed him at his apartment in Cape Town (listen here). Damon was head boy at Pretoria Boys High School, matriculating in 1981, and then studied drama at the University of Cape Town. He wrote his first novel, A Sinless Season (1982), when he was 17. We met via Zoom to talk about his life as...