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World Book Club invites the globe's great authors to discuss their best known novel. This monthly programme, presented by Harriett Gilbert, includes questions from World Service listeners.

World Book Club invites the globe's great authors to discuss their best known novel. This monthly programme, presented by Harriett Gilbert, includes questions from World Service listeners.
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London, United Kingdom




World Book Club invites the globe's great authors to discuss their best known novel. This monthly programme, presented by Harriett Gilbert, includes questions from World Service listeners.




Junot Diaz: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

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 family’s search for love and belonging. (Photo: Junot Diaz attends the Norman Mailer Center's Fifth Annual Benefit Gala. Credit: Brad...


Jackie Kay: Trumpet

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 prey for a tabloid journalist. Besieged by the press and overwhelmed with grief, Millie withdraws to their remote seaside home where she seeks...


Agatha Christie

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’s most luxurious passenger trains. To help untangle this fiendish puzzleknot and discuss the enduring popularity of the Queen of Crime are...


Richard Flanagan: Narrow Road to the Deep North

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 its heart is one day in a Japanese slave labour camp in August 1943 which builds to a horrific climax as surgeon Dorrigo Evans battles and too...


Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty

This month World Book Club talks to bestselling British writer Alan Hollinghurst about his Booker prize-winning novel, The Line of Beauty. In the summer of 1983 twenty 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 sexuality and gay life in London of the mid 1980s. Against a backdrop of Thatcherite politics and the emerging...


Jane Gardam - Old Filth

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 be educated in pre-war England, so-called Home, where he is boarded out with strangers. A career as a successful lawyer in Southeast Asia later...


Sebastian Barry - The Secret Scripture

This month World Book Club is celebrating its 15th birthday and has come to where it all began – in September 2002 - The Edinburgh Book Festival, to talk to Irish literary superstar Sebastian Barry about his poignant and much garlanded novel The Secret Scripture. Now in her hundredth year Roseanne McNulty, once the most beautiful girl in County Sligo, has long been locked up in an mental asylum for reasons which gradually become clear as she decides to put down a secret record of her...


Delphine de Vigan - No and Me

With an IQ that’s off-the-scale and a hyper-active mind 13-year-old Lou feels out of place amongst the beautiful, confident teenagers in her class. She finds no comfort at home as her mother is in the throes of a profound depression. Her life changes when she meets No, an older homeless girl, whom she immediately feels an affinity with. Along with a classmate, Lucas, Lou tries to help No to build a life away from the streets. However, No's emotional scars run deep and she pushes Lou's...


Tim Winton - Cloudstreet

This month World Book Club is talking to chart-topping Australian writer Tim Winton about his unforgettable novel Cloudstreet. Winner of the Miles Franklin Award and recognised as one of the greatest works of Australian literature, Cloudstreet is Tim Winton's sprawling, comic epic about luck and love, fortitude and forgiveness, and the magic of the everyday. Precipitated by separate personal tragedies, two poor families flee their rural homes to share a "great continent of a house",...


Jeffrey Archer - Kane and Abel

This month World Book Club is in the BBC Radio Theatre and is talking to one of the most popular and widely read British novelists, Jeffrey Archer, about his stunningly successful novel Kane and Abel. William Lowell Kane and Abel Rosnovski, one the son of a Boston millionaire, the other a penniless Polish immigrant are two ambitious men born on the same day on opposite sides of the world. Their paths are destined to cross in the ruthless struggle to build a fortune and an empire. Fuelled...


Derek Walcott - Omeros

This month we mark the recent death of the St Lucian poet, playwright and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott with another chance to hear him talk-on-the-programme about his poetic masterpiece, the book-length Omeros. Following the wanderings of an extraordinary cast of characters from the island of St Lucia, Omeros echoes Homer’s ancient-Greek epic of war and love and deadly rivalry, the Iliad, in order to dramatise the lives, sufferings, displacements and conflicts of the inhabitants of today’s...


Robert Harris - Imperium

This month World Book Club visits the Oxford Literary Festival in the elegant surroundings of Worcester College, part of the university and is talking to the hugely popular British author Robert Harris with an audience about the first of his bestselling Roman trilogy, Imperium. The setting is Ancient Rome, a city teeming with ambitious and ruthless men, but none more brilliant than a rising young lawyer Marcus Cicero who decides to gamble all on one of the most dramatic courtroom battles...


Joël Dicker - The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

This month World Book Club are once again part of The Hay Literary Festival in Cartagena, Colombia. Harriett Gilbert and a Festival audience talk to the acclaimed Swiss writer Joël Dicker about his gripping and chart-topping novel The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. A famous American writer suddenly finds himself the main suspect in a 30 year-old cold case in his sleepy home town in New England. His former student, a novelist desperate for material, appears as his only saviour. The...


Laura Restrepo - Delirium

This month World Book Club are lucky enough to be in the beautiful old city of Cartagena in Colombia as part of the Cartagena Hay Festival of Literature. Harriett Gilbert will be talking to one of Colombia’s most acclaimed writers Laura Restrepo about her haunting novel Delirium and learning something about this stunning country’s troubled recent past. Returning home after a business trip to discover his beloved wife Agustina has gone mad her kindly husband Aguliar delves back into her...


Karl Ove Knausgaard - A Death in the Family

We talk to the acclaimed Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard about A Death in the Family, volume one of his remarkable series of memoirs My Struggle. Knausgaard writes with painful honesty about his childhood and teenage years, his infatuation with rock music, his relationship with his loving yet almost invisible mother and his distant and dangerously unpredictable father, and then his bewilderment and grief on his father's death. Becoming a father himself, he must balance the demands of...


Margaret Drabble - The Millstone

This month World Book Club is talking to the acclaimed British writer Margaret Drabble about her remarkable novel The Millstone. At a time when illegitimacy is taboo, Rosamund Stacey is pregnant after a one-night stand. Despite her independence and academic brilliance, she is naïve and unworldly and the choices before her are daunting. She must adapt to life as a single mother, but in the perfection and helplessness of her baby she finds a depth of feeling she has never known before. The...


Crime and Punishment

Russian writer Dostoyevsky’s haunting classic thriller, Crime and Punishment, is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. Consumed by the idea of his own special destiny, Rashkolnikov is drawn to commit a terrible crime. In the aftermath, he is dogged by madness, guilt and a calculating detective, and a feverish cat-and-mouse game unfolds. Speaking on behalf of the novel are acclaimed Russian writer Boris Akunin and Russian scholar Dr Sarah Young who will be discussing this timeless...


Anne Enright - The Gathering

This month World Book Club talks to the acclaimed Irish writer Anne Enright about her poignant Booker Prize-winning novel The Gathering. In it Veronica, one of the nine surviving Hegarty siblings, is bringing her brother Liam home to Dublin to bury. He walked to his death in the sea in Brighton, his brain muddled by drink, his pockets filled with stones. As the Hegarty clan gathers to mourn at Liam’s funeral Veronica retraces the troubled history and the murky family secrets that have...


DBC Pierre - Vernon God Little

Harriett Gilbert talks to the hugely acclaimed writer DBC Pierre about his best-selling first novel Vernon God Little. An absurdly humorous look at the misadventures of a Texas teen named Vernon Little whose best friend has just killed 16 of their classmates and himself. In the wake of the tragedy, the townspeople seek both answers and vengeance; because Vernon was the killer's closest friend, he becomes the focus of their fury. Hailed by the critics and lauded by readers for its riotous...


Juan Gabriel Vasquez - The Sound of Things Falling

We talking to acclaimed Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vasquez about his dark and compelling novel The Sound of Things Falling. Vasquez explores the recent tortured history of his home country through a complex interweaving of personal stories and confronts the disastrous consequences of the war between the drugs cartels and government forces which played out so violently in Colombia’s streets and in the skies above. After witnessing a friend’s murder, Antonio discovers the many ways in...


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