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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.








Book Collector Miriam Borden on rescuing the Yiddish language

Miriam Borden, a teacher of Yiddish and PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, is winner of the 2020 Honey and Wax Book Collecting Prize for “Building a Nation of Little Readers: Twentieth-Century Yiddish Primers and Workbooks for Children.” Borden collects twentieth-century Yiddish educational materials. Language primers form the core of her collection which also includes songbooks and workbooks, flash cards, and scripts from school plays. These artifacts testify to a once-thriving...


Martin Latham on The Bookseller's Tale

Martin Latham has been a bookseller for thirty-five years. He has a PhD in Indian history, and taught at Hertfordshire University before turning to bookselling. He is proud to be responsible for the biggest petty-cash claim in Waterstones' history, when he paid for the excavation of a Roman bath-house floor under his bookshop. Martin's books include Kent's Strangest Tales, Londonopolis, and most recently The Bookseller's Tale which we talk about in this episode. It's really a book full of...


Doug Minett on Canada's most Innovative Bookstore

The Bookshelf bookshop in Guelph, Ontario was established in 1973 by Barb and Doug Minett. In 1980 it became The Bookshelf Cafe - Canada's first bookstore cafe/restaurant. Shortly thereafter an ambitious plan was conceived to add a cinema and bar to what was then the roof of the building. During implementation, University of Guelph physics professor and longtime customer, Jim Hunt, trained a team of 10 cafe servers and booksellers in the art & science of 35mm projection. In 1988 The...


Bianca Gillam on the role of a Special Sales Assistant at Simon & Schuster

It was on Twitter a couple of months ago that I noticed this tweet celebrating the work of one Bianca Gillam (@BinxGillam). 'You're the best special sales assistant ever', it said, or words to that effect. Hmm I thought. What, I wonder, does a special sales assistant do at a publishing house - I'd noticed that she worked at Simon & Schuster ( @simonschusterUK ). I wasn't sure. So I tweeted at Bianca, inviting her to appear on the podcast to explain just exactly what she does.


David Gilmour on Truman Capote's slow descent into Hell

Last year at about this time David Gilmour and I sat down together to talk about "Mojave" one of Truman Capote's greatest short stories. We enjoyed ourselves so much we decided to do it again, this time with "Shut a Final Door." Capote wrote this story when he was only 23 years old. David contends that it strongly foreshadows how Truman's actual life would unfold - as a slow, messy descent into hell. Perfect fare for the holiday season. Merry Christmas everyone. Thanks for...


Lennie Goodings on Virago & her new memoir A Bite of the Apple

Virago is a London-based British publishing company committed to publishing women's writing and books on "feminist" topics. Established by women in the 1970s in tandem with the Women's Liberation Movement (WLM), Virago has done much to address inequitable gender dynamics in the publishing world, and, unlike anti-capitalist publishing ventures, has branded itself a commercial alternative in a male dominated publishing industry, seeking to compete with mainstream international...


Martin Amis on his new novel Inside Story

Martin Amis was born in Oxford in 1949 and is a British novelist, essayist, and memoirist - all of whom show up to contribute to his latest novel, Inside Story. As it happens I read Lolita in tandem with Inside Story, so the front-end of our conversation is laden with nasty Nabokovian-related questions. Since Vladimir, along with Saul Bellow, has heavily influenced Martin's writing over the years, I decided this was fair game. Amis is best known for his novels Money (1984) and London...


David Mason on his memoir The Pope's Bookbinder, Part ll

Sly, sparkling, and endearingly gruff, David Mason is an engrossing conversationalist; a giant in the book trade whose infectious enthusiasm, human insight, commercial shrewdness, and deadpan humour are all on display here in our discussion about his memoir The Pope's Bookbinder. This episode will delight bibliophiles for decades to come. Listen to Part l here yKNy8pXzCRVVub2kcUqJ


Martin Parr on Collecting Photography Books

"Martin Parr's celebrated photographs bridge the divide between art and documentary photography. His studies of the idiosyncrasies of mass culture and consumerism around the world, his innovative imagery, and his prolific output have placed him firmly at the forefront of contemporary art. He is an avid collector and maker of photobooks. His own photobooks include The Last Resort (1986), Common Sense (iggg) and Boring Postcards (Phaidon Press, 1999), and he is the subject of the monograph...


Lawrence Krauss on science writing, and whether or not science is art

11/22/2020 which I posit that raising funds is a primary motivator explaining why scientists write, and Lawrence disagrees; and the two of us argue over the similarities and differences between art and science... The combatants tend to confuse human-made with nature-made art, and possibly don't even actually disagree, if we're talking big picture. Anyway, the conversation is lively, if nothing else. Throughout the episode we reference Lawrence's entertaining, readable book The Greatest Story...


Patrick McGahern on 51 Years of Antiquarian Bookselling

Patrick McGahern has been operating an antiquarian bookshop in Ottawa, Canada's capital, since 1969. Today it continues to thrive under the management of Patrick's son Liam. The store specializes in Used and Rare Books, Canadiana, Americana, Arctic, Antarctic, Travel, Natural History & Voyages, Illustrated & Plate Books, Rare Books, Irish and Scottish History and Literature. I met Patrick via Zoom to celebrate his 51 years in business, to try to learn some of what he's learned over the...


Roger Chartier on the Study of Book History and its Giants

Roger Chartier​ was born​ in 1945 in Lyon, ​France. He is a giant in the field of ​book​ history ​and the study of ​publishing and reading.​ He teaches at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, the Collège de France, and the University of Pennsylvania.​ ​ I interviewed Roger via Zoom in hopes of determining exactly why he's a giant, who's shoulders he stands on, and what he has contributed to the study of book history. Among other things we talk about Roger's book of...


Toby Faber tells the Untold Story of Faber & Faber

Toby Faber grew up with Faber & Faber - its books and stories have played an important role in his life. He was the company's managing director for four years and remains a non-executive director and chairman of sister company Faber Music. He has written two celebrated works of non-fiction, Stradivarius and Fabergé 's Eggs. His first novel, Close to the Edge, was published by Muswell Press in 2019. He lives in London with his wife and two daughters. We met via Zoom to talk about his book ...


Emily Powell on dumping Amazon, and the success of her storied Bookstore

Powell's Books is a chain of bookstores located in and around Portland, Oregon. It claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. Powell's 'City of Books' store is located on the edge of downtown and occupies a full city block. It covers some 68,000 square feet or 1.6 acres of retail floor space. Emily Powell is a third generation owner of the bookstore. She made headlines this past August for dumping Amazon as a sales partner. To mark "Independent Bookstore Day"...


Tiphaine Guillermou on 20th Century French Book Design

Tiphaine Guillermou is an editor with Graphéine, a design agency with offices in Paris and Lyon. While researching 20th century French book design - so that I'd have some books to hunt down while visiting bookstores in France - I came across a terrific article Tiphaine had written for Graphéine's blog, here. It was exactly what I was looking for - filled with all sorts of great book collecting leads. I was so impressed with the article I decided to interview Tiphaine about it. Listen as we...


Andy Hunter on and how to stick it to Amazon

Andy Hunter is the founder and CEO of He's also the publisher at Catapult, at Counterpoint and at Softskull, and, as if this isn't enough, publisher and co-creator at LitHub, and co-founder and chairman at Electric Literature. Despite all of these responsibilities, Andy took the time to talk via Zoom about his latest venture and how to use it to help support indie bookstores, and, at the same time, stick it to Amazon. is "an online book marketplace designed to...


Benoit Forgeot, one of Paris's Top Rare Book Dealers

Benoit Forgeot is one of France's leading antiquarian book dealers. We met in his office, in the Odeon district of Paris to talk about what differentiates French collectors from American; French book binders; secrets; coffee; the manuscript market ( good time to buy); Paul Bonet, coffee again; business in Paris versus the provinces; the crucial knowledge that American curators impart, and much more, (includes Parisian street sounds).


Anne-Solange Noble on selling English Language Rights for books published by Gallimard

Anne-Solange Noble has been International Rights Manager at Gallimard since 1992. She was born and raised in Montreal, Canada and graduated from McGill University in Hispanic Literature. After spending two years in Mexico she went to Paris where she studied International Relations at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris. In 1985 she landed a job in rights negotiations with Flammarion. Seven years later she moved to Gallimard to do the same thing, and has been there ever since. Recently...


Bill Samuel on William and Christina Foyle

Lifted from Bill Samuel's website: Itinerant one-time chartered accountant who has lived in Denmark, East Africa, the Gulf (Arabian/Persian, not Texan) and the Caribbean with shorter stints in Eastern Europe and various rather nice small islands. Born in England into a family with an international outlook, an interest in people and a feeling for the cultural side of life. William Foyle, one of the greatest booksellers, and book collectors, of the twentieth century was his...


John Freeman on Lit Hub, Editing, & Interviewing Authors

John Freeman is an American writer and a literary critic. He was the editor of Granta from 2009 to 2013, and is a former president of the National Book Critics Circle. His writing has appeared in more than 200 English-language publications around the world and he currently edits a series of anthologies of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry entitled Freeman's, published in partnership with Grove/Atlantic and The New School. Reason enough, I figured, to want to talk to him about the role of the...