Episodes
Being a small, independent publisher doesn't mean thinking small, and with prize-winning successes already under their belt, Galley Beggar Press took on the challenge of publishing a novel consisting of a single sentence that ran for more than a thousand pages. Ducks, Newburyport went on to win prizes too as well as Booker recognition and in this episode we hear from Lucy Ellman about how you write a stream-of-consciousness novel on this scale and from those involved in publishing it about...
Published 07/13/21
With perfect timing, our episode telling the inside story of A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll arrives just as we announce that it has been chosen as the overall winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2021. We speak to those involved about the serendipity of how it came to be published, why it's important to get the right people in the room when it comes to publishing and why this book is not just important but also one of the best books for children of the last decade. Featuring:...
Published 07/01/21
As a bowler for the West Indies, Michael Holding was well known for his measured run up and devastating fast bowling, an approach he has taken into his punditry where he is always calm and controlled but also frank and honest with his opinions. So when rain delayed the start of play and conversation was steered to the impact of racism in cricket in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Holding spoke with a clarity which forced everyone watching and those who caught up later to take notice...
Published 06/22/21
After a few years working at one of the most established publishers in New York, Zakiya Dalila Harris was inspired to write a novel which would turn its gaze on the world of publishing itself and set up one of the most intriguing literary thrillers of the year. She spoke to us about the encounter that provided the novel's seed and the experience of working both inside publishing and outside it as an author. We also hear from editor Alexis Kirschbaum about this book's unique qualities and...
Published 06/01/21
The Vanishing Half, our current Fiction Book of the Month was first published last year, as the impact of lockdown hit us all and, over in America, the murder of George Floyd stirred up debate and protest. With the book now available in paperback we hear from Brit Bennett about the impact of that but also what came before it, from her editor about the battle to get to publish her and from early readers about why this tale of twin sisters living such separate lives has resonated with so many...
Published 05/25/21
As an independent publisher that consistently punches above its weight, with Booker Prize shortlisting and other notable successes, we speak to Sam Jordison and Eloise Millar, the two people behind Galley Beggar Press, about their latest publication, Insignificance by James Clammer. We also hear from James about the world of the working class, his own past as a plumber, and the emotional journey of his protagonist, Joseph. Featuring James Clammer, Sam Jordison, Eloise Millar 
Published 05/18/21
The novel that cemented the reputation of David Mitchell as one of the most exciting and innovative writers of his generation is also a masterclass in structure. In this episode of the podcast we get to hear about the painstaking work that went into its construction but also the happy accidents that emanated from that to help make the novel such a rich and rewarding reading experience. We also hear about how his background as a Waterstones bookseller helped to make him the novelist he is...
Published 05/11/21
Not many books make a big fanfare about their 42nd anniversary but fans will know why this year is important for Douglas Adams's comic masterpiece. To celebrate its enduring legacy we speak with long-time friends, colleagues, collaborators and fans to try and put our finger on why the universe he created remains so popular today. From his famed struggles with deadlines to the legendary tales that surround his ideas we take a look at what made him so funny and still so very much missed by...
Published 05/04/21
The first in a new series that discovers the story behind books which went on to become prize-winners, trail-blazers, or are now seen as modern classics. We speak exclusively with Dame Hilary Mantel and her editor, Nicholas Pearson, about Wolf Hall, the first part of her Cromwell trilogy which not only won the Booker Prize but set up a series of books that went on to become a unique cultural moment at their conclusion. We hear how plans for one book became three, what it felt like to win the...
Published 04/27/21
After two critically acclaimed novels it has been a long wait for Leone Ross's third but you know what they say about all good things. Fifteen years in the making, This One Sky Day transports us to Popisho, a fantastical island archipelago, where every resident has some kind of magical ability. Food, politics, satire, sex and magic combine in this rich and evocative novel and we hear how pain, hard-work and healing combined to make such a delicious dish. Featuring Leone Ross, Niki Chang,...
Published 04/13/21
The buzz is real and in this episode we find out why so many people are talking about The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward. We speak with the author about the book's inspirations; agent and editor about shaping such an intricately plotted book with multiple narrative voices (including a cat), and find out from fellow authors why this book has blown them away. Join us for a spoiler-free journey into a dark tale. Featuring Catriona Ward, Jenny Savill, Miranda Jewess, Joanna...
Published 03/30/21
Based on real events and a novel that has been ten years in the making, The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex is a pitch-perfect mystery that will tempt any reader. In this episode we discover the true story behind this literary mystery and the author's fascination with the lighthouses that dot our coastline. We also hear from her agent and editor about the writing process, from the publishers about why the book is so special and how it's striking design was created, and fellow authors Raynor Winn...
Published 03/23/21
Co-winner of the inaugural Merky Books New Writer's Prize, We Are All Birds of Uganda is the debut novel from Hafsa Zayyan. In this episode we find out how she entered this open-submission competition and the family history that fed into the idea for this story of displacement, home and identity. We also hear more about this publishing collaboration with Stormzy and why it is so important to enable people from under-represented communities to tell their story.  Featuring Hafsa Zayyan, Emma...
Published 03/16/21
Not just one series this year, but two. How We Made takes us back to meet authors, agents, publishers and fans to discover how some of the most successful books of recent times first came to reader's hands. This Is The Book asks publishers to pick just one book from 2021 and tell us why it's so special. Exciting new fiction, powerful memoir and books that are improving the inclusivity of stories available will all be featured. What's it like to be amongst the first to read a classic?...
Published 03/16/21
A bonus episode in which we get to speak to two stars of the hugely popular TV series Outlander, actors Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish. Adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s historical novels set in 18th century Scotland in which Sam plays hero Jamie Fraser and Graham his uncle, Dougal MacKenzie, Outlander has become a TV sensation. After working together in seasons one and two, the two friends set out on a road trip around Scotland to investigate its history and culture, whilst also imbibing a good...
Published 11/24/20
A pub with two Michelin stars is no ordinary pub and in what has been no ordinary year for the entire hospitality industry we sat down with celebrated chef Tom Kerridge in The Hand and Flowers to celebrate the publication of their cookbook, 15 years in the making. Why are pubs so important to communities and how do you keep that friendliness when serving food at the highest level? We spoke about the public house, the path to perfection and the right sauce to have with a bacon sandwich. Books...
Published 11/17/20
Sometimes novels come along that seem to show an uncanny prescience for the world we live in. And whilst no one could have quite predicted what 2020 has thrown at us, Rumaan Alam has managed to write a novel about a simple family holiday that touches on the pressing issues of today. Class, Race, Privilege and confusion at what's happening in the world; all of these will feel familiar, as will the sense of not knowing what to do about it. Luckily Rumaan is here to talk us through them and to...
Published 11/11/20
As Americans go to the polls to chose their next president it's clear the result could have far-reaching repercussions in many areas. For many American women it may be that wheels are already in motion to further restrict their access to reproductive healthcare with the rushed new appointment to the Supreme Court. Christa Parravani talks to us about the surprise pregnancy that she wanted to end, only to be confronted by the confounding machinery of the American healthcare system in a red...
Published 11/02/20
When the pandemic hit, it was nurses who provided the critical care needed to save lives. And when the waves have passed it will be nurses providing the care needed in the aftermath. In this episode we examine what it really means to care with nurse and author Christie Watson and writer Madeleine Bunting, both of whom have travelled the country to see how care works in hospitals, surgeries, care homes and our own houses. What drives people to care for others and what do we need to so to...
Published 10/27/20
Whichever of his many film roles first made an impression on you, you definitely never forget a Matthew McConaughey performance. With his new memoir Greenlights, we get personal insight into the man behind the roles as he shares his frank and funny insights into family, film-making and finding your path in life. Books mentioned: Greeenlights
Published 10/20/20
After sharing her own experiences in the memoir Everything I Know About Love, Dolly Alderton turns to fiction in her new book and explores the perils of online dating, the strains of time on friendship and the theme of identity amongst her cast of characters. Ghosts come in many forms in this ambitious novel and we encounter a few of them in this conversation. Books mentioned: Ghosts, Everything I Know About Love.
Published 10/14/20
With his third novel, Graham Norton is now cementing his place as a writer with a keen sense of community, repression and the power of buried secrets. Heralded as his most personal novel yet, Home Stretch follows the aftermath of a tragedy and the different trajectories of those that stay at home and those that attempt to exile themselves. We spoke to him about sticking his neck out as an author, the parts of him within the book, and the ability of characters to surprise the author...
Published 10/06/20
Join us in dictionary corner as we chat to Countdown's Susie Dent about her love of language and her new book, Word Perfect, which shares the stories behind a word for every day of the year. We also speak with writer Eley Williams about her novel, The Liar's Dictionary, and enter the murky world of the mountweazel. A truly treat for logophiles everywhere. Books mentioned: Word Perfect, The Liar's Dictionary, Attrib. and other stories
Published 09/30/20
When Chanel Miller published her memoir it was the first time that many people discovered that she was Emily Doe, the Stanford sexual assault survivor, whose victim impact statement had gone viral. As her book comes out in paperback we spoke to her about her she set down in words the awful experience of assault, the criminal justice system and the aftermath. Contains discussion of sexual assault, so listener discretion is advised.  Books mentioned: Know My Name
Published 09/22/20
After three years as a monk in India, Jay Shetty set off to bring wisdom to the world using the modern tools of the internet and the ability to make what he'd learned go viral. With many looking at their lives afresh during lockdown and beyond we spoke to him about finding the right path in life, what we mean by purpose and why a life in service of others is the key to fulfilment. Books mentioned: Think Like A Monk
Published 09/15/20