The world's great authors discuss their best-known novel.
Sunjeev Sahota - The Year of the Runaways
World Book Club travels to The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in England, as guests of The Off the Shelf Festival and talks to local prize-winning Sheffield writer Sunjeev Sahota about his compelling novel, The Year of the Runaways.
Voyaging from India to England, from childhood to the present day, Sunjeev Sahota's heart-rending novel follows a group of young men each in flight from India and desperately searching for a new and fulfilling life in the northern British town of Sheffield. Tarlochan is silent about his past in Bihar, and Avtar has a secret that binds him to protect the traumatized Randeep. Randeep has a visa wife living separately in a flat nearby, who constantly dreads a surprise call from the immigration authorities.
An unforgettable story of dignity in the face of adversity and of the enduring power of the human spirit.
(Picture: Sunjeev Sahota. Photo credit: Simon Revill.)
Tahmima Anam: A Golden Age
This month as World Book Club continues its year-long season celebrating the Exuberance of Youth it also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the programme.
To mark this happy occasion World Book Club are guests of the London Literature Festival at the South Bank Centre on the River Thames and Harriett Gilbert talks to Bangladeshi-born British novelist Tahmima Anam about her enthralling novel, A Golden Age.
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, A Golden Age is a story of passion and revolution, of hope, faith and unexpected heroism in the middle of chaos. Set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence we follow Rehana, a mother struggling to protect her children as the civil war intensifies. Wanting only to keep them safe she finds herself facing a heartbreaking dilemma in a war that will eventually see the birth of Bangladesh.
(Picture: Tahmima Anam. Photo credit: Abeer Y Hoque.)
Brit Bennett: The Vanishing Half
This month, in the next in our season celebrating The Exuberance of Youth, we talk to American writer Brit Bennett about her unputdownable novel, The Vanishing Half.
The Vanishing Half charts the rollercoaster parallel lives of estranged twin sisters who choose to live in two very different worlds - one black and one white.
Stella and Desiree are identical twins, growing up together in a small, Southern black community. Until, at age sixteen, they run away. Decades later, still separated by many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?
Weaving together multiple stories and generations of one family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Bennett has produced both a riveting, emotional family drama and an unforgettable exploration of the American history of passing as White.
(Picture: Brit Bennett. Photo credit: Emma Trim.)
Ben Lerner: Leaving the Atocha Station
Next in the series exploring The Exuberance of Youth World Book Club talks to the award-winning American author Ben Lerner about his beguiling debut novel Leaving the Atocha Station.
Brilliant, unreliable, young American poet Adam Gordon is on a fellowship in Madrid, where he is struggling to establish his identity and dazzle his contemporaries.
Instead of studying, his research becomes a meditation on authenticity - are his relationships with the people he meets in Spain, especially the two clever and beautiful women he falls for, as fraudulent as he fears his poems are? In the aftermath of the 2004 Madrid train bombings has he participated in history or merely watch it pass him by?
Winner of the Believer Book Award and a Guardian Book of the Year from 2012 which marked the launch a major new literary talent.
(Picture: Ben Lerner. Photo credit: Catherine Barnett.)
Yaa Gyasi: Homegoing
In this year-long celebration of The Exuberance of Youth, World Book Club revisits the multi-prize-winning debut novel Homegoing by the acclaimed Ghanaian author Yaa Gyasi.
The story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a white slave-trader, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history. A novel of remarkable sweep and power, with each character’s life indelibly drawn, Homegoing reveals the devastating legacy of slavery and the resilience of the human spirit.
(Picture: Yaa Gyasi. Photo credit: Peter Hurley/Vilcek Foundation.)
Mohsin Hamid: Exit West
In the season celebrating The Exuberance of Youth, World Book Club talks to Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid about his compelling novel, Exit West.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize Exit West features Nadia and Saeed, two ordinary young people, attempting to fall in love in a world turned upside down. Civil war is driving them from their homeland and they join the great outpouring of people fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, to find their place in the world. Then something extraordinary happens: doors start appearing, all over the world. They lead to other cities, other countries, other lives. But once you leave there’s no coming back. Readers from around the world put their questions to Mohsin Hamid about this dazzling book.
(Picture: Mohsin Hamid. Photo credit: Jillian Edelstein.)
I really enjoy driving and listening to such a brilliant podcast and interviews, very well done! It make you to dive deeply in subjects with an existential and philosophical way.
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I find this podcast delicious and comforting. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to hear from the authors what motivated them and about their writing process.
I look forward to hearing each new episode when it appears in my stream each month.
This podcast has been fun to listen to, so interesting to get a bit of a global perspective on literature. I have enjoyed learning about the wide variety of authors and books selected for discussion, some of whom have been new to me while some are “old friends.” The questions and answers are great! Thanks for a wonderful podcast!