Rank #1: Maya Angelou
Oct 07 2005
Rank #2: Garrison Keillor - Lake Wobegon Days
Aug 13 2002
Rank #3: World Book Club: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
It is a potent mix of a coming-of-age novel and a tragic love story set in Barcelona's post-war years. Harriet Gilbert puts questions from the audience to the author Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
Jul 03 2010
Rank #4: JD Salinger - The Catcher In The Rye
(Photo: JD Salinger)
Apr 04 2015
Rank #5: Toni Morrison - Beloved
In 2009 Toni Morrison came to the South Bank Arts Centre beside the River Thames in London to talk to a packed audience about her Pulitzer Prize-winning, international bestseller Beloved.
Having lost none of its power to shock a quarter of a century on, Beloved stares unflinchingly into the abyss of racism and transforms history into a poetic chronicle of slavery and its terrible, unending aftermath.
(Image: Toni Morrison. Credit: Peter Devlin)
Apr 07 2012
Rank #6: Neil Gaiman
Neil is a British writer, comic book author, a short-story writer, a science fiction and fantasy novelist, now living in the United States. And our chosen book American Gods tells the story of the gods brought by immigrants over the centuries, from Scandinavia, Ireland, Russia, Greece, Egypt, and what happens to them as the years pass and they get forgotten, and surpassed by the modern gods of technology – television, mobile phones and the media.
Join Harriett Gilbert, and an invited audience to hear Neil Gaiman talk about his book American Gods.
Sep 07 2013
Rank #7: Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
It’s two hundred years this month since the publication of Pride and Prejudice and we’ve invited bestselling British novelist and Jane Austen aficionado PD James, along with Anglo-Pakistani writer Moni Mohsin, also a great Austen fan and from Australia Susannah Fullerton, President of the Australian Jane Austen Society, all here to share with us their passion for this much loved classic English novel.
We’ll also be hearing from other writers from around the world – AS Byatt, Colm Toibin, Nii Parkes, Kamila Shamsie, to name a few, why the razor-sharp wit of Elizabeth Bennet and the cool hauteur of the gorgeous Mr Darcy are still drawing in more readers than ever across the globe in the twenty-first century.
Susannah Fullerton is the author of Happily Ever After: Celebrating Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Image: Jane Austen, Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Jan 05 2013
Rank #8: World Book Club: David Mitchell
Jun 05 2010
Rank #9: Maya Angelou - I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
May 31 2014
Rank #10: Richard Dawkins
Jun 07 2007
Rank #11: Kurt Vonnegut
May 30 2006
Rank #12: Nawal El Saadawi - Woman At Point Zero
Written over 30 years ago but still resonating clearly today Woman at Point Zero is a dark and powerful account of the life of a young woman awaiting execution in a Cairo prison for murdering her pimp. Her crime, borne of anger at her lifelong mistreatment at the hands of men, is one she confesses to with no shame. The urgency and passion of the writing in this book is more than matched by the author’s response to the questions posed by you, our World Book Club listeners, around the world.
(Photo: Nawal El Saadawi, 2012)
(Credit: MARINA HELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Apr 30 2009
Rank #13: John Le Carre
Dec 25 2006
Rank #14: Umberto Eco
(Photo: Umberto Eco)
Dec 25 2007
Rank #15: Agatha Christie
The programme visits the Bibliotheca Wittockiana to discuss one of the bestselling crime novels of all time: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie in which that shrewdest of detectives Hercule Poirot hunts for a killer aboard one of the world’s most luxurious passenger trains.
To help untangle this fiendish puzzleknot and discuss the enduring popularity of the Queen of Crime are acclaimed crime novelist Sophie Hannah who has brought the renowned sleuth back to life again with her sequels, and James Prichard, great grandson of Agatha herself.
(Picture: Agatha Christie at an event in 1967. Photo credit: BBC.)
Jan 08 2018
Rank #16: Jo Nesbo - The Redbreast
Hear how Jo admits that there’s more than a little of him in his dysfunctional detective Harry Hole and how his own parents ended up on opposing sides during the war, father fighting for the Nazis and his mother in the Norwegian resistance.
Jo Nesbo photo: Hakon-Eikesdal
Apr 02 2011
Rank #17: Albert Camus - The Outsider
As well as questions from the audience in the bookshop and from our wider audience abroad World Book Club also hears from feted writers from around the world explaining why they think this most startling tale of sun, sea, sand and murder is still one of the great classic novels of our age.
To complement this edition of World Book Club you can listen to a BBC drama of The Outsider and also to The Insider, a new play imagining the story of the silent Algerian characters that appear in Camus’ novel.
Picture: Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Getty Images.
Nov 02 2013
Rank #18: Zadie Smith
Feb 19 2005
Rank #19: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Half of a Yellow Sun
Village boy Ugwu comes to work for a charismatic professor. The professor’s glamorous girlfriend Olanna forgoes her life of luxury to live with him and Englishman Richard is in thrall to Olanna’s enigmatic twin sister. Meanwhile the shadow of this most horrific of civil wars, whose repercussions are still felt in Nigeria today, looms ever larger.
(Photo: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
(Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC)
Jun 04 2009
Rank #20: Stephen King
(Image: Stephen King speaking in 2009. Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters)
Aug 27 2002