385 episodes

Literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith.

The Book Club The Spectator

    • Arts
    • 4.4 • 75 Ratings

Literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith.

    Michael Nott: Thom Gunn's Cool Queer Life

    Michael Nott: Thom Gunn's Cool Queer Life

    My guest on this week's Book Club podcast is Michael Nott, author of the new biography Thom Gunn: A Cool Queer Life. He tells me about the poet's early trauma, his transatlantic identity, his unconventional family and his compartmentalised life, part teaching and writing, part sex, drugs and rock and roll. 

    • 29 min
    Kathleen Jamie: Cairn

    Kathleen Jamie: Cairn

    In her new book Cairn, the Scots poet Kathleen Jamie sets a capstone of sorts on her trilogy of short prose collections Findings, Surfacing and Sightlines. She joins Sam on this week’s Book Club podcast to talk about why she hesitates to call herself a nature writer, how prose found her late in life, and why whale-watching isn’t what it used to be.

    Produced by Patrick Gibbons.

    • 24 min
    Åsne Seierstad: The Afghans

    Åsne Seierstad: The Afghans

    My guest for this week's Book Club is the journalist and author Åsne Seierstad. She tells me about her new book The Afghans: Three Lives Through War, Love and Revolt; how and why she constructed a novelistic narrative about real-life people and events, and what her encounters with human rights activist Jamila, Taliban commander Bashir and thwarted student Ariana can tell us about the past, present and future of that troubled country.

    Produced by Patrick Gibbons.

    • 47 min
    Mark Bostridge: In Pursuit of Love

    Mark Bostridge: In Pursuit of Love

    My guest on this week’s Book Club podcast is Mark Bostridge. In his new book In Pursuit of Love: The Search for Victor Hugo’s Daughter, Mark describes his quest to uncover the traces of Adele Hugo and the doomed love affair which cost her her sanity. He tells me how Adele’s story chimed in poignant ways with his own life and what it taught him about the unstable emotional contract between biographer and subject.

    • 41 min
    Marlon James: A Brief History of Seven Killings

    Marlon James: A Brief History of Seven Killings

    My guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is Marlon James, who ten years ago published his Booker Prize winning novel A Brief History of Seven Killings. He tells me how that remarkable book came about, how he feared it would be 'my Satanic Verses', what genre means to him, the importance of myth, and what he learned from the X-Men.

    • 39 min
    Richard Flanagan: Question 7

    Richard Flanagan: Question 7

    In this week's Book Club podcast, my guest is the Booker Prize winning novelist Richard Flanagan, talking about his extraordinary new book Question 7. It weaves together memoir, reportage and the imaginative work of fiction. Flanagan collides his relationship with his war-traumatised father and his own near-death experience with the lives of H G Wells and Leo Szilard, the Tasmanian genocide and the bombing of Hiroshima. He talks to me about the work fiction can do, the intimate association of memory with shame, and the liberations and agonies of thinking of non-linear time.  

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
75 Ratings

75 Ratings

dbev79 ,

One of the very best

Sam Leith is a charming and terrifically informed and thoughtful reader and interviewer. This podcast never disappoints and is the best books cast I’ve found.

Buhlteufelin ,

Douglas-Fairhurst is wonderful

The ever fascinating Robert Douglas-Fairhurst was a great guest and the subsequent episode with Borch Jacobsen was intriguing and soberly radical. Excellent podcast.

Destael ,

Wonderful surprise

All the interviews on this podcast are typically informative and well done as a rule however I just had a good surprise today. Tessa Dunlop was interviewed about Army Girls. I didn’t expect it to be as fascinating and vivid as it turned out to be—nothing negative about her of course —it’s just that military topics are not usually what I turn to with interest. She was outstanding and I loved every minute of the interview. Can’t wait to get the book now.

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