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News & Politics
Society & Culture

World Book Club

Updated 12 days ago

News & Politics
Society & Culture
Read more

The world's great authors discuss their best-known novel.

Read more

The world's great authors discuss their best-known novel.

iTunes Ratings

181 Ratings
Average Ratings
145
18
5
8
5

Love the format and the book it selected.

By 真人媳妇 - Dec 25 2017
Read more
Love the format and the book it selected.

I love this show.

By bbc sport READER - Oct 15 2017
Read more
Wish it could be more frequent tho.

iTunes Ratings

181 Ratings
Average Ratings
145
18
5
8
5

Love the format and the book it selected.

By 真人媳妇 - Dec 25 2017
Read more
Love the format and the book it selected.

I love this show.

By bbc sport READER - Oct 15 2017
Read more
Wish it could be more frequent tho.
Cover image of World Book Club

World Book Club

Updated 12 days ago

Read more

The world's great authors discuss their best-known novel.

Rank #1: Garrison Keillor - Lake Wobegon Days

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In the First ever Meridian Writing World Book Club, Harriett Gilbert talks to American writer Garrison Keillor on his book Lake Wobegon Days.
Aug 13 2002
23 mins
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Rank #2: Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou answers listeners questions about her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Presenter: Harriett Gilbert.
Oct 07 2005
26 mins
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Rank #3: JD Salinger - The Catcher In The Rye

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Harriet Gilbert discusses JD Salinger's classic novel The Catcher in the Rye with a studio audience, including questions from BBC World Service listeners as far afield as Nepal and the Czech Republic. She's in New York's Algonquin Hotel, long-time hangout of our reclusive writer, and answers your questions with the help of authors David Gilbert and Joanna Rakoff. JD Salinger wrote the book in 1951, and died in 2010.
(Photo: JD Salinger)

(Credit: AP)
Apr 04 2015
50 mins
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Rank #4: Neil Gaiman

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Harriett Gilbert talks to the bestselling author Neil Gaiman, voted by listeners as the 'most wanted' guest for the programme.
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
52 mins
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Rank #5: Barbara Kingsolver

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This month's World Book Club comes from the Jesus Centre in London.

Harriett Gilbert and readers talk to bestselling writer Barbara Kingsolver about her internationally acclaimed novel The Poisonwood Bible.

Having sold four million copies around the world, Kingsolver's most ambitious novel paints an intimate portrait of a crisis-ridden family amid the larger backdrop of an African nation in chaos.

In 1959 an overzealous Baptist minister Nathan Price drags his wife and four daughters deep into the heart of the Congo on a mission to save the unenlightened souls of Africa.

As his plans unravel in tandem with the country's dreams of becoming an independent democracy, the five women narrate the novel, each in their own inimitable voice.
Oct 02 2010
52 mins
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Rank #6: Toni Morrison - Beloved

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World Book Club celebrates the 25th anniversary of the publication of that modern classic novel Beloved with another chance to hear the programme with American writer Toni Morrison.

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
52 mins
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Rank #7: Maya Angelou - I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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Maya Angelou reflects on some of her earliest and most difficult memories and talks about her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in this special commemorative edition of World Book Club from our archive.
May 31 2014
26 mins
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Rank #8: Kurt Vonnegut

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Kurt Vonnegut joins an audience of World Service listeners to answer questions about his novel Slaughterhouse-Five
May 30 2006
26 mins
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Rank #9: Richard Dawkins

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Richard Dawkins answers questions from an audience and sent in by BBC listeners about his international best-seller, The Selfish Gene. Presenter: Harriett Gilbert.
Jun 07 2007
26 mins
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Rank #10: John Le Carre

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Interview with special guest John le Carre about his recent novel “The Perfect Spy” Presenter: Harriett Gilbert.
Dec 25 2006
26 mins
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Rank #11: Chigozie Obioma - The Fishermen

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Acclaimed Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma talks about his novel The Fishermen. Shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, The Fishermen tells the story of four young brothers who defy their authoritarian father to go fishing in a forbidden river on the outskirts of the western Nigerian town where they live. After a local madman issues a shocking prophecy that the oldest brother will be killed by one of the others, the strong family bonds begin to break down and a tragic chain of events of almost mythic proportions is set in train. With this bold and powerful debut, Chigozie Obioma has emerged as one of the most original new voices of modern African literature.
Aug 05 2019
49 mins
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Rank #12: Umberto Eco

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Italian author Umberto Eco discusses his novel The Name of the Rose, set in a 14th Century Franciscan monastery and answers questions from an invited audience.
(Photo: Umberto Eco)
Dec 25 2007
26 mins
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Rank #13: Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice

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This month in a very special edition, we’re celebrating that most English of novelists Jane Austen.
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
52 mins
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Rank #14: Stephen King

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What makes Stephen King, not only the Master of Horror, but more than that?
(Image: Stephen King speaking in 2009. Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters)
Aug 27 2002
23 mins
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Rank #15: Agatha Christie

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This month World Book Club comes from the Belgium capital Brussels for an Agatha Christie special.
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
49 mins
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Rank #16: Crime and Punishment

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Russian writer Dostoyevsky’s haunting classic thriller, Crime and Punishment, is celebrating its 150th birthday this year.
Consumed by the idea of his own special destiny, Rashkolnikov is drawn to commit a terrible crime. In the aftermath, he is dogged by madness, guilt and a calculating detective, and a feverish cat-and-mouse game unfolds.
Speaking on behalf of the novel are acclaimed Russian writer Boris Akunin and Russian scholar Dr Sarah Young who will be discussing this timeless Russian classic with the audience in the room at Pushkin House and around the world.
The three extracts of the book were taken from Oliver Ready’s translation by Penguin Books.
A special edition of World Book Club this month at London’s elegant Pushkin House, the UK capital’s Russian cultural hub.
This month, as part of the BBC’s Love to Read Campaign, presenter Harriett Gilbert is picking her favourite novel to discuss.
(Photo credit: Alexander Aksakov, Getty Images)
Nov 08 2016
49 mins
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Rank #17: Charlotte Brontë - Jane Eyre

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To celebrate the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth, World Book Club travels back to Victorian England to discuss her captivating and enduring tale, Jane Eyre with writer Tracy Chevalier and biographer Claire Harman in a packed BBC Radio Theatre.
The novel traces the fortunes of a young orphaned girl searching for a sense of belonging and identity in a hostile world, plagued by both gender and social inequality.
Weaving together the sweeping romance between Jane and Mr Rochester, a social commentary on nineteenth century England and set against the eerie Gothic backdrop of imposing mansions and wild moorland, Brontë has produced one of the world’s most loved and timeless tales.
(Photo: Charlotte Bronte. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
May 11 2016
49 mins
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Rank #18: Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love

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American writer Elizabeth Gilbert talks about her phenomenally successful novel Eat, Pray, Love. On a self-confessed ‘search for everything', Eat, Pray, Love charts the year in which Elizabeth Gilbert, aged 34, left behind her unfulfilling marriage, a volatile fling and life as she knew it, to embark on a spiritual voyage of discovery.
The memoir brings together humour, eccentricity and honesty as the author documents the trials and triumphs of her travels through Italy, India and Indonesia in search of pleasure, peace and personal growth.
With meditations on the culinary delights of Rome, spiritual development in an Indian ashram and passionate lovers in Bali, the enduring appeal of this bestselling memoir has drawn readers from all around the world as the author struggles to break free from the pressures of modern life and to find a deeper meaning and happiness.
(Photo: Elizabeth Gilbert)
Jan 02 2016
49 mins
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Rank #19: Kazuo Ishiguro

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Kazuo Ishiguro joins Harriett Gilbert and an audience of World Service listeners to discuss his classic novel The Remains Of The Day.
(Photo: Kazuo Ishiguro. Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC)
Nov 04 2004
27 mins
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Rank #20: Albert Camus - The Outsider

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One hundred years after his birth this month’s World Book Club, will be discussing Albert Camus' seminal novel The Outsider with his acclaimed biographer Oliver Todd, and Professor of French at Sheffield University, David Walker. And appropriately the programme comes from the heart of the Left Bank of Paris to hear from them – at the world famous bookshop Shakespeare and Company overlooking Notre Dame. Here an eager audience gathers in the upstairs attic room where aspiring novelists are regularly to be found sleeping off their exertions in quiet alcoves.
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
53 mins
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