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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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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.




Ngugi wa Thiong'o

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 novel A Grain of Wheat, set in the wake of the Mau Mau rebellion and on the cusp of Kenya’s independence from Britain. In it the tangled...


JoJo Moyes

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 caretaker. Worlds apart and trapped together by circumstance, the two get off to a rocky start. But Lou is determined to prove that life is worth...


Lee Child - Killing Floor

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 Reacher jumps off a bus in the middle of nowhere and walks 14 miles down an empty country road. The minute he reaches the town of Margrave he is thrown...


Chan Koonchung - The Fat Years

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 speculative fiction, The Fat Years, has been described as giddily daring. It imagines a time in the near future where China is the world’s dominant...


Lijia Zhang: Lotus

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 while working in a missile factory in a bid to become a writer and a journalist, and she’s written Lotus in English. It’s the story of a young...


Kate Atkinson: Life After Life

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 breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least,...


James Ellroy - American Tabloid

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 three men close to the tentacles of power in a conspiracy with the Mafia that leads to the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and the assassination of JFK...


Hilary Mantel: Bring Up the Bodies

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 Bodies delves into the heart of Tudor history and the downfall of Queen Anne Boleyn whom King Henry VIII had battled for seven years to marry.


Anuradha Roy: An Atlas of Impossible Longing

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 isolated house on the outskirts of a small town in Bengal. Centred on sensitive foundling orphan boy Mukunda and the wild and motherless daughter of...


Amy Bloom: Away

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 Lower East Side, to Seattle's Jazz District, and up to Alaska, toward Siberia. A novel encompassing the searing experiences of migration and exile,...


Sarah Waters: Tipping the Velvet

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 and infatuated with actress Kitty Butler Nan starts up a double act with her idol both on and off the stage. But when Kitty, hankering after a...


Celeste Ng

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 were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Chinese-American Lee...


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 Barket/Getty...


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

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 sexuality and gay life in London of the mid 1980s. Against a backdrop of Thatcherite politics and the emerging Aids crisis of that decade The Line...


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...