A monthly books podcast presented by Ted Hodgkinson featuring the finest writers, poets and thinkers from across the globe, onstage and backstage at Europe's largest arts centre.
Southbank Centre’s Book Podcast: Hilary Mantel – The Mirror and the Light
British author Hilary Mantel reveals the eagerly awaited third novel in her thrilling Thomas Cromwell trilogy, The Mirror and the Light.
The book offers a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision. It’s the story of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage.
In this podcast, chaired by journalist and broadcaster Alex Clark, Mantel reflects on the finale of one of the most compelling and celebrated trilogies of modern times, ending with a special reading of The Mirror and the Light.
Will Self: a life in writing
In this podcast, recorded live at Southbank Centre, author and journalist Will Self joins Alex Bilmes, to discuss his newly released, and typically funny and frenzied memoir, Will.
In an entertaining half hour, Self discusses why he wrote Will, the challenges of memoir writing and how it can lead to criticism that is much more ad hominem.
Will, perhaps inevitably, is also a book about drugs and drug use, a subject which Self expands upon to talk about the evolution of drug culture and why stories of drug use often draw in people who would never entertain the idea of drug-use themselves.
Richard Dawkins: an argument for Atheism
Ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins joins David Freeman to discuss his latest book Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide.
In this podcast recorded as part of our 2019 autumn literature season, the pair take Dawkins’ book as a cue to discuss a broad range of topics including the ‘tribalism’ of religion, Dawkins preference for truth over symbolism and whether you can be good without a God.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag: The Scriptures
At the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Phoebe Waller-Bridge stepped on stage to debut her new one-woman show, Fleabag. Now, six years on, that character has grown into a full-on phenomenon, with a sell-out runs in London’s West End and off-Broadway, and two critically acclaimed award-winning television series.
In this podcast, Waller-Bridge joins host of The Guilty Feminist, Deborah Frances-White, on stage at Southbank Centre to discuss all things Fleabag. Listen to the pair discuss the how the camera came to represent outside pressure to deliver a performance; combatting loneliness by trying to find connections through sex and family relationships, and how the character of the priest became ‘Hot Priest’.
Waller-Bridge also explains how Fleabag evolved from a ten minute monologue written to try and make her friend laugh and cry, and how one drunk woman’s feedback propelled it to the current phenomenon it is.
Malcolm Gladwell: Talking to Strangers
Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five international bestsellers and was named one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine.
In this podcast, recorded from a London exclusive live appearance here at Southbank Centre, Gladwell discusses his latest book, Talking to Strangers, with broadcaster and former barrister Afua Hirsch.
In this fascinating and entertaining talk, the author examines the misinterpretations and misunderstandings at the heart of the tragic case of Sandra Bland. He also asks, why are human beings so bad at detecting lies? And discusses taking risks in his writing.
But there is also a lighter side to this podcast as Hirsch and Gladwell discuss how most rich people are really terrible at being rich, why no-one wants to fight a naked pensioner, and suggest that if we are to have meaningful televised political debates, they should not be between politicians, but between their former spouses.
Anthony Daniels: My Life as C-3PO
Star Wars actor Anthony Daniels joins puppeteer and actor Brian Herring to reflect on his time playing one of the most famous droids in cinematic history. Recorded at London Literature Festival, this podcast sees Daniels discuss his new book I Am C-3PO - The Inside Story, a memoir of both himself and his best known role.
Daniels talks of his approach to writing the book and his childhood want to be an actor, before going on to discuss his role in the Star Wars films. Hear about the difficulties of honing the character of a droid whose expression never changed, the challenges of working with non-speaking robot co-stars, and incredibly enthusiastic directors alike, and how he feels about the potential end of Star Wars.