149 episodes

Simon Mayo and Matt Williams invite the world's finest authors in for a chat.
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Simon Mayo's Books Of The Year Ora Et Labora

    • Arts
    • 4.7 • 48 Ratings

Simon Mayo and Matt Williams invite the world's finest authors in for a chat.
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    Jonathan Freedland: The Escape Artist

    Jonathan Freedland: The Escape Artist

    Simon and Matt chat to Jonathan Freedland about his new book The Escape Artist.
    In April 1944 nineteen-year-old Rudolf Vrba and fellow inmate Fred Wetzler became the first Jews ever to break out of Auschwitz. Vrba's mission: to reveal to the world the truth of the Holocaust.
    In the death factory of Auschwitz, Vrba had become an eyewitness to almost every chilling stage of the Nazis' process of industrialised murder. The more he saw, the more determined he became to warn the Jews of Europe what fate awaited them. A brilliant student of science and mathematics, he committed each detail to memory, risking everything to collect the first data of the Final Solution. After his escape, that information would form a priceless thirty-two-page report that would reach Roosevelt, Churchill and the pope and eventually save over 200,000 lives.
    But the escape from Auschwitz was not his last. After the war, he kept running - from his past, from his home country, from his adopted country, even from his own name. Few knew of the truly extraordinary deed he had done. Now, at last, Rudolf Vrba's heroism can be known - and he can take his place alongside those whose stories define history's darkest chapter.
    Jonathan Freedland is a Guardian columnist and former foreign correspondent. He was named Columnist of the Year in 2002, Commentator of the Year in 2016 and won an Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2014. He is the presenter of BBC Radio 4's contemporary history series, The Long View, and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. He is the author of 11 books, two of them non-fiction, including his first book, the award-winning Bring Home the Revolution. He has written nine thrillers under the name Sam Bourne, including The Righteous Men which was a #1 Sunday Times bestseller and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.

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    • 48 min
    Q&A with Mick Herron (Slow Horses, Bad Actors)

    Q&A with Mick Herron (Slow Horses, Bad Actors)

    Mick Herron chats about some of his favourite books and authors which include Francis Spufford, John Steinbeck, Gorky Park and The Wind In The Willows
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    • 8 min
    Mick Herron (Bad Actors)

    Mick Herron (Bad Actors)

    In 2010, with Slow Horses, Mick Herron began a spy series, entitled Slough House, featuring MI5 agents who have been exiled from the mainstream for various offences. With the follow up Dead Lions, he won the Crime Writers' Association 2013 Gold Dagger award. It has recently been turned in to a series on Apple TV featuring Gary Oldman. Bad Actors is the latest in the series.
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    • 28 min
    Q&A with Tom Bradby (Yesterday's Spy)

    Q&A with Tom Bradby (Yesterday's Spy)

    Tom Bradby chats about some of his favourite authors including Len Deighton, Delia Owens, Thomas Harris and Simon Mayo
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    • 16 min
    Tom Bradby: Yesterday's Spy

    Tom Bradby: Yesterday's Spy

    Tom Bradby is a novelist, screenwriter and journalist. He has written nine previous novels, including top-ten bestselling Secret Service, and its two sequels, Double Agent and Triple Cross. As a broadcaster, he is best known as the current Anchor of ITV's News at Ten. He has been with ITN for thirty years and was successively Ireland Correspondent, Political Correspondent, Asia Correspondent (during which time he was shot and seriously injured whilst covering a riot in Jakarta), Royal Correspondent, UK Editor and Political Editor- a job he held for a decade - before being made the Anchor of News at Ten in 2015
    His latest novel is Yesterday's Spy. Set against the backdrop of one of the defining events of the Cold War.
    Nothing good ever comes from a midnight phone call. For washed-up spy Harry Tower, it is the worst news at the worst possible time. His son, Sean, has gone missing in troubled Iran after writing an exposé about government corruption. Their relationship has never recovered since Harry's wife's suicide, for which Sean holds his father responsible. And Harry, with his career on the verge of disintegration, needs to find him and put things right. When Harry arrives in Tehran, he finds a city on the cusp of revolution. Foreign powers are jockeying for influence, money and, most importantly, oil. The CIA are conspiring to undermine the government with an impending coup, and there are dark mutterings about opium smuggling. But the reasons for Sean's disappearance may be even more sinister than Harry first suspected. Before long, he is on the run - not only from a faceless enemy, but from his own past. Which will catch up with him first?
    , Yesterday’s Spy is a story that is rich in intrigue and history and will keep readers guessing until the final pages.

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    • 27 min
    Q&A with Claire Powell (At The Table)

    Q&A with Claire Powell (At The Table)

    Claire Powell tackles our Q&A about the books she loved as a child, books that cheer her up and her favourite book shops.
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    • 11 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
48 Ratings

48 Ratings

csi mel ,

Books of the Year

I adore this podcast! I have listened to Simon and Matt talk about books since their Radio 2 days, and they keep getting more interesting. Simon is also a wonderful writer, and I enjoyed his latest novel, Knife’s Edge. Keep up the good work, gentlemen!

AlistairCandlin ,

Just what I’ve been looking for

Thumbs up from a new listener. Just listened to the Alastair Campbell interview and am half way through the q&a episode that follows.

It’s great - light hearted, funny, interesting. I downloaded Campbell’s new book on Audible. Looking forward to listening to that and catching up on old episodes of your show.

All the best,

Alistair Candlin, South Korea.

cindyT6k ,

Pod of the year

Come for the insightful chat about books, stay for the comedy. Two of the BBC’s most beloved personalities are also serious about literature. Highly recommended!

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