World Book Club [World Service]

Episodes

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Agatha Christie2018010620180107 (WS)
20180110 (WS)
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.)

Sophie Hannah and James Prichard discuss Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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

Alan Hollinghurst: The Line Of Beauty2017110420171105 (WS)
20171108 (WS)
Alan Hollinghurst talks about his Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Line of Beauty.

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

Ali Smith: How To Be Both2020100320201004 (WS)
20201007 (WS)
A fast-moving, passionate, genre-bending work of art that both dazzles and entertains.

This month, World Book Club discusses the much garlanded novel How to Be Both with its acclaimed British author Ali Smith and her fans around the world. Still not able to gather together in a studio, presenter Harriett Gilbert and Ali Smith will be talking remotely to international listeners via all manner of means - phonelines, emails, Skype calls, and social media.

In this playfully ambitious novel, a 15th-century artist, Francesco del Cossa, travels through time and space to discover a grieving sixteen-year-old girl in contemporary England taking comfort in a painting he (or is it she?) created. Or is it all the other way around? And whose story comes first?

(Picture: Ali Smith. Photo credit: Sarah Wood.)

We discuss the novel How to Be Both with its acclaimed British author Ali Smith

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

Amy Bloom: Away2018060220180603 (WS)
20180606 (WS)
Epic in scope, Away is the captivating story of young Lillian Leyb, whose family is destroyed in a horrific Russian pogrom and who comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When she hears that her daughter might still be alive, Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the Yiddish theater on New York's Lower East Side, to Seattle's Jazz District, and up to Alaska, toward Siberia.

A novel encompassing the searing experiences of migration and exile, motherhood and mourning, Away is at once heart-rending, nail-biting and completely unforgettable.

(Photo: Amy Bloom. Photo credit: Elena Seibert)

Writer Amy Bloom's novel, Away, is a searing tale of migration, exile, and motherhood

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

Andrea Levy2019070720190710 (WS)Acclaimed British writer Andrea Levy was only 62 when she died earlier this year. This month another chance to hear this hugely popular author talking about her multi-prize-winning novel Small Island.

A thought-provoking tale of love, friendship and immigration set in London in 1948, Small Island focuses on the diaspora of Jamaican immigrants, through a group of unforgettable characters, who, escaping economic hardship on their own 'small island,' move to England. Once in the Mother Country, however, for which the men had fought and died for during World War II, their reception is not quite the warm embrace that they had hoped for.

(Image: Andrea Levy. Photo credit: Schiffer-Fuchs/ullstein bild/Getty Images)

Another chance to hear Andrea Levy talking about her prize-winning novel Small Island.

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

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

Andrea Levy - Small Island2019070720190710 (WS)Acclaimed British writer Andrea Levy was only 62 when she died earlier this year. This month another chance to hear this hugely popular author talking about her multi-prize-winning novel Small Island.

A thought-provoking tale of love, friendship and immigration set in London in 1948, Small Island focuses on the diaspora of Jamaican immigrants, through a group of unforgettable characters, who, escaping economic hardship on their own 'small island,' move to England. Once in the Mother Country, however, for which the men had fought and died for during World War II, their reception is not quite the warm embrace that they had hoped for.

(Image: Andrea Levy. Photo credit: Schiffer-Fuchs/ullstein bild/Getty Images)

Another chance to hear Andrea Levy talking about her prize-winning novel Small Island.

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

Ann Cleeves - Raven Black2019090820190911 (WS)British writer Ann Cleeves discusses Raven Black, the haunting first novel in her award-winning Shetland crime series, with presenter Harriett Gilbert, a studio audience and readers around the world.

On a remote Scottish island in the Shetland Isles, a teenage girl is found dead in a snow-covered field. Some years ago, another young girl disappeared in mysterious circumstances near to his house, but the body was never found. As Inspector Perez and local police pursue their investigation a veil of suspicion is thrown over the entire community. For the first time in years neighbours nervously lock their doors, whilst a killer lives on in their midst.

Ann Cleeves discusses her novel Raven Black with Harriett Gilbert and the WBC audience

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

Anne Enright - The Gathering2016100120161002 (WS)
20161005 (WS)
Anne Enright discusses her Man Booker Prize winning novel The Gathering.

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

Anuradha Roy: An Atlas Of Impossible Longing2018070720180708 (WS)
20180711 (WS)
This month World Book Club talks to internationally celebrated Indian writer Anuradha Roy about her much-loved novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing.

Spanning three generations of an Indian family from the turn of the 20th century to India's partition An Atlas of Impossible Longing traces the intertwining lives of the inhabitants of a vast and isolated house on the outskirts of a small town in Bengal.

Centred on sensitive foundling orphan boy Mukunda and the wild and motherless daughter of the house, Bakul, the novel charts the unshakeable but oft-threatened bond that grows between them in a world where they feel abandoned by everyone else. A haunting and compelling story of love, loss, grief and the power of home.

(Picture: Anuradha Roy. Photo credit: fmantovani.)

Indian writer Anuradha Roy discusses her much-loved novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing

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

Bernardine Evaristo - Girl, Woman, Other2020070420200705 (WS)
20200708 (WS)
This month, for the seventh World Book Club edition celebrating International Women writers, Harriett Gillbert is joined by the remarkable British writer Bernardine Evaristo from her home in east London to talk about her Booker-Prize-winning novel Girl, Woman, Other. Although still unable to gather an audience together in a studio, we take questions from listeners from all around the world via phonelines, tweets and emails to once again create a truly global event.

Girl, Woman, Other charts the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, mostly black and British, it tells the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and down the ages. A dazzling mixture of history and contemporary story-telling, Girl, Woman, Other crackles with energy and teems with life, offering an unforgettable insight into life in today’s multi-cultural Britain.

(Picture: Bernardine Evaristo. Photo credit: Jennie Scott.)

A novel that offers an unforgettable insight into life in today's multi-cultural Britain

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

This month, for the seventh World Book Club edition celebrating International Women writers, Harriett Gilbert is joined by the remarkable British writer Bernardine Evaristo from her home in east London to talk about her Booker-Prize-winning novel Girl, Woman, Other. Although still unable to gather an audience together in a studio, we take questions from listeners from all around the world via phonelines, tweets and emails to once again create a truly global event.

Harriett Gillbert is talks Bernardine Evaristo about her novel Girl, Woman, Other.

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

This month, for the seventh World Book Club edition celebrating International Women writers, Harriett Gillbert is joined by the remarkable British writer Bernardine Evaristo from her home in east London to talk about her Booker-Prize-winning novel Girl, Woman, Other. Although still unable to gather an audience together in a studio we take questions from listeners from all around the world via phonelines, tweets and emails to once again create a truly global event.

Girl, Woman, Other charts the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, mostly black and British, it tells the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and down the ages. A dazzling mixture of history and contemporary story-telling Girl, Woman, Other crackles with energy and teems with life, offering an unforgettable insight into life in todays’ multi-cultural Britain.

(Picture: Bernardine Evaristo. Photo credit: Jennie Scott.)

Bill Bryson2021020720210210 (WS)
20210211 (WS)
Amusing and affectionate portrait of the island nation Bryson proudly calls home. This month World Book Club discusses Bill Bryson’s hugely acclaimed travelogue Notes from a Small Island with the author and his readers around the world.

After two decades as a resident of the United Kingdom, Bryson took what he thought might be a last affectionate trip around his adoptive country before returning to live in his native America. Notes from a Small Island is the irreverent and hilarious account of this meandering journey through his beloved island nation. From Dover to Downing Street, from Giggleswick to Loch Ness by way of Titsey and Nether Wallop, Bryson rejoices in Britain’s inimitable placenames and much else of more substance besides, his very own State of the Nation address, as it were.

A huge number-one bestseller when it was first published, Notes from a Small Island has become that nation's most loved book about Britain.

Bill Bryson discusses his hugely acclaimed travelogue Notes from a Small Island.

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

Bill Bryson: Notes From A Small Island2021020720210210 (WS)
20210211 (WS)
This month World Book Club discusses Bill Bryson’s hugely acclaimed travelogue Notes from a Small Island with the author and his readers around the world.

After two decades as a resident of the United Kingdom, Bryson took what he thought might be a last affectionate trip around his adoptive country before returning to live in his native America. Notes from a Small Island is the irreverent and hilarious account of this meandering journey through his beloved island nation. From Dover to Downing Street, from Giggleswick to Loch Ness by way of Titsey and Nether Wallop, Bryson rejoices in Britain’s inimitable placenames and much else of more substance besides, his very own State of the Nation address, as it were.

A huge number-one bestseller when it was first published, Notes from a Small Island has become that nation's most loved book about Britain.

Amusing and affectionate portrait of the island nation Bill Bryson proudly calls home

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

Cees Nooteboom - The Following Story2016020620160207 (WS)
20160210 (WS)
Multiple award-winning Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom on his novel The Following Story

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

Celeste Ng2018040720180408 (WS)
20180411 (WS)
Presenter Lawrence Pollard talks to chart-topping Chinese-American writer Celeste Ng and an audience gathered in the local Boston radio Newsfeed Café in the Boston Public Library about her bestselling novel Everything I Never Told You.

In 1970s small-town Ohio Lydia is the favorite child of parents, determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Chinese-American Lee family together is destroyed.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, racism and longing, Everything I Never Told You uncovers the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

(Photo: Celeste Ng. Credit: Kevin Day Photography)

Celeste Ng discusses her bestsellling novel Everything I Never Told You

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

Chan Koonchung2018120220181205 (WS)
20181206 (WS)
This month's World Book Club once again comes from China's capital Beijing. Lawrence Pollard interviews acclaimed and controversial writer Chan Koonchung about his much debated dystopian novel The Fat Years from a buzzy local bookstore in the city centre, filled with an audience of excited readers ready with their questions for the author.

Chan’s speculative fiction, The Fat Years, has been described as giddily daring. It imagines a time in the near future where China is the world’s dominant power and all Chinese are beamingly happy, all but our heroes who come to realise that a month has gone missing from history. No-one remembers it, no-one cares, so they set out to find it. The Fat Years has never been officially published in mainland China but has quite a reputation. Listen in and find out why.

(Photo credit: Colin McPherson/Corbis/Getty Images.)

Chan Koonchung joins the World Book Club to discuss his dystopian novel The Fat Years

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

Chan Koonchung - The Fat Years20181202
Charlotte Bronteb - Jane Eyre2016050720160508 (WS)Writers Claire Harman and Tracy Chevalier discuss Charlotte Bronte's classic Jane Eyre.

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

Chigozie Obioma - The Fishermen2019080420190807 (WS)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.

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

Crime And Punishment2016110520161106 (WS)
20161109 (WS)
Boris Akunin and Dr Sarah Young discuss Dostoyevsky's classic novel Crime and Punishment.

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

David Nicholls2019110320191106 (WS)
20191107 (WS)
On World Book Club this month David Nicholls talks about his internationally successful novel ‘Us’.

Almost three decades after their improbable relationship first blossomed in London biochemist Douglas and his attractive artist wife Connie live seemingly happily enough with their moody seventeen-year-old son, Albie just outside London. Then Connie drops a bombshell: she thinks she wants a divorce.

Devastated but determined to fight to save their marriage, Douglas insists that the family stick to a previously planned Grand Tour of Europe where he secretly hopes to win his wife and son back.

Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest point of view, Us is the bittersweet but often very funny story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves and learn how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger.

World Book Club - on an emotional odyssey around Europe with David Nicholls.

David Nicholls talks about his internationally successful novel 'Us'.

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

David Nicholls - Us2019110320191106 (WS)
20191107 (WS)
David Nicholls talks about his internationally successful novel Us.

Almost three decades after their improbable relationship first blossomed in London biochemist Douglas and his attractive artist wife Connie live seemingly happily enough with their moody 17-year-old son, Albie just outside London. Then Connie drops a bombshell: she thinks she wants a divorce.

Devastated but determined to fight to save their marriage, Douglas insists that the family stick to a previously planned Grand Tour of Europe where he secretly hopes to win his wife and son back.

Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest point of view, Us is the bittersweet but often very funny story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves and learn how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger.

(Photo: David Nicholls. Credit: Sophia Spring)

David Nicholls talks about his internationally successful novel 'Us'.

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

Dbc Pierre - Vernon God Little2016090320160904 (WS)
20160907 (WS)
DBC Pierre discusses his book Vernon God Little and answers questions from the audience

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

Deborah Levy: Hot Milk2020060620200607 (WS)
20200610 (WS)
World Book Club talks to acclaimed author Deborah Levy about her novel Hot Milk.

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

This month World Book Club talks to acclaimed British author Deborah Levy about her Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel Hot Milk. In this era of coronavirus we are sadly not able to gather together in a studio but we will be talking remotely to international listeners via phonelines, emails, skype calls, social media – you name it!

In Levy’s hypnotic tale of female sexuality two women arrive in a village on the Spanish coast. Rose is suffering from a strange illness and her doctors are mystified. Her daughter Sofia has brought her here to find a cure with the celebrated and controversial Dr Gomez.

Through the opposing figures of mother and daughter, Levy explores the strange and beguiling nature of womanhood and desire. Dreamlike and compelling, Hot Milk is a delirious, timeless fable of feminine potency.

World Book Club talks to acclaimed author Deborah Levy about her novel Hot Milk.

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

This month World Book Club talks to acclaimed British author Deborah Levy about her Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel Hot Milk. In this era of coronavirus we are sadly not able to gather together in a studio but we will be talking remotely to international listeners via phonelines, emails, skype calls, social media – you name it!

In Levy’s hypnotic tale of female sexuality two women arrive in a village on the Spanish coast. Rose is suffering from a strange illness and her doctors are mystified. Her daughter Sofia has brought her here to find a cure with the celebrated and controversial Dr Gomez.

Through the opposing figures of mother and daughter, Levy explores the strange and beguiling nature of womanhood and desire. Dreamlike and compelling, Hot Milk is a delirious, timeless fable of feminine potency.

Delphine De Vigan - No And Me2017080520170806 (WS)
20170809 (WS)
French writer Delphine de Vigan discusses her prize-winning novel No and Me.

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

Derek Walcott - Omeros2017050620170507 (WS)
20170510 (WS)
Another chance to hear Nobel laureate Derek Walcott discuss his epic poem Omeros.

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

Donna Leon2019050520190508 (WS)This month World Book Club talks to award-winning American writer Donna Leon about her celebrated novel Death at La Fenice.

When legendary German conductor Helmut Wellauer is found dead in his dressing room two acts into a performance of La Traviata at Venice’s spectacular opera house, police commissario Guido Brunetti is called in. Despite being used to the corruptions of the city, as labyrinthine as the gorgeously crumbling city itself, Brunetti is shocked at the number of enemies Wellauer has made on his way to the top - but just how many have motive enough for murder?

Find out more by tuning in to hear Donna Leon talking to her readers in the studio and around the world about murder and mystery in Venice.

(Image: Donna Leon. Photo credit: Regine Mosimann/Diogenes Verlag/AG Zürich.)

Donna Leon discusses her celebrated novel Death at La Fenice.

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

Donna Leon - Death At La Fenice20190505
Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love2016010220160103 (WS)
20160106 (WS)
Elizabeth Gilbert talks about her phenomenally successful novel Eat, Pray, Love

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

Elizabeth Strout: Olive Kitteridge2020090520200906 (WS)
20200909 (WS)
This month’s World Book Club is the ninth in our series celebrating the greatest women writers at work across the globe. Harriett Gilbert and listeners from around the world talk to the world-renowned American author Elizabeth Strout at her home in New Brunswick, Maine, in the USA.

The novel under discussion is her internationally-garlanded Olive Kitteridge: a novel made up of 13 luminous short stories set in small-town Maine and bound together by one larger-than-life character, the flawed and fascinating Olive Kitteridge.

Retired school teacher and long-time wife of the long-suffering Henry, Olive struggles to make sense of the changes in her life and the lives of those around her. Her travails, at once parochial but also universal, make readers laugh, nod in recognition, as well as wince in pain.

(Picture: Elizabeth Strout. Photo credit: Leonard Cendamo.)

Harriett Gilbert talks to the world-renowned American author Elizabeth Strout

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

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

This month’s World Book Club is the ninth in our series celebrating the greatest women writers at work across the globe. Harriett Gilbert and listeners from around the world talk to the world-renowned American author Elizabeth Strout at her home in New Brunswick, Maine, in the USA.

The novel under discussion is her internationally-garlanded Olive Kitteridge: a novel made up of 13 luminous short stories set in small-town Maine and bound together by one larger-than-life character, the flawed and fascinating Olive Kitteridge.

Retired school teacher and long-time wife of the long-suffering Henry, Olive struggles to make sense of the changes in her life and the lives of those around her. Her travails, at once parochial but also universal, make readers laugh, nod in recognition, as well as wince in pain.

(Picture: Elizabeth Strout. Photo credit: Leonard Cendamo.)

Harriett Gilbert talks to the world-renowned American author Elizabeth Strout.

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

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

Hector Abad20191006The Colombian novelist and journalist Héctor Abad discusses his memoir Oblivion, a heart-breaking tribute to his late father. Héctor Abad Gómez was a medical doctor, professor and human rights campaigner in the city of Medellín, Colombia, whose criticism of the Colombian regime led to his brutal murder by paramilitaries in 1987. One of the most exquisitely written accounts of profound love between a father and son in modern literature, Oblivion paints a picture of a remarkable man who followed his conscience and paid for it with his life during one of the darkest periods in Latin America’s recent history.

Presented by Harriet Gilbert

H\u00e9ctor Abad discusses his memoir Oblivion with Harriet Gilbert and the WBC audience.

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

Hector Abad - Oblivion2019100620191009 (WS)The Colombian novelist and journalist Héctor Abad discusses his memoir Oblivion, a heart-breaking tribute to his late father. Héctor Abad Gómez was a medical doctor, professor and human rights campaigner in the city of Medellín, Colombia, whose criticism of the Colombian regime led to his brutal murder by paramilitaries in 1987. One of the most exquisitely written accounts of profound love between a father and son in modern literature, Oblivion paints a picture of a remarkable man who followed his conscience and paid for it with his life during one of the darkest periods in Latin America’s recent history.

Presented by Harriet Gilbert

A tribute to the author's father who was murdered by Columbian paramilitaries in 1987

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

H\u00e9ctor Abad discusses his memoir Oblivion with Harriet Gilbert and the WBC audience.

Helen Garner: The Spare Room2020080120200802 (WS)
20200805 (WS)
The Australian writer Helen Garner joins Harriett Gilbert as World Book Club continues its celebration of women writers.

She’ll be talking about her 2008 novel The Spare Room. It’s the story of two women: Nicola, who has cancer, and Helen who looks after her for three challenging weeks. Helen has her doubts about the unconventional clinic where Nicola has sought out treatment, but she nonetheless throws herself into the role of nurse, finding some comfort in the practical demands of the job.

Based on real events, The Spare Room is an unflinching, fierce look at friendship, illness and caring which finds humour in the darkest of places. The book is as spare and as lean as its title, yet manages to encompass big ideas about life and death.

(Image: Helen Garner. Photo credit: Darren James.)

Friendship, caring, nursing and anger in a short, fierce novel from Australia

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

Australian writer Helen Garner joins Harriett Gilbert talk about her novel The Spare Room.

Award winning Australian writer Helen Garner joins Harriett Gilbert for August’s edition of World Book Club. She’ll be talking about her 2008 novel The Spare Room. It’s the story of two women: Nicola, who has cancer, and Helen who looks after her for three challenging weeks.

The novel is an unflinching look at friendship, illness and caring which finds humour in the darkest of places.

Helen Garner has written both non- fiction and fiction during her acclaimed career and has just been given the Lloyd O’ Neil award for services to the Australian Book Industry.

She continues World Book Club’s year of Women Writers which has also included Bernadine Evaristo, Deborah Levy and Petina Gappah.

Hilary Mantel: Bring Up The Bodies2018080420180805 (WS)
20180808 (WS)
This month’s World Book Club broadcasts from the Man Booker 50 Festival at the Southbank Centre, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the renowned prize.

In the World Book Club chair is the double-Booker prize-winning British writer Hilary Mantel discussing the second volume in her acclaimed series of novels about Thomas Cromwell. Bring Up the Bodies delves into the heart of Tudor history and the downfall of Queen Anne Boleyn whom King Henry VIII had battled for seven years to marry.

World Book Club discusses Bring Up the Bodies with Man Booker prize-winner Hilary Mantel

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

Hilary Mantel: Bring Up The Bodies2020050220200503 (WS)
20200506 (WS)
Hilary Mantel discusses the her second novel about Thomas Cromwell, Bring Up the Bodies

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

This month World Book Club marks the recent worldwide publication of The Mirror and The Light by treating you to a repeat of our memorable edition of the programme with the double-Booker prize-winning British writer Hilary Mantel.

Recorded two years ago at the Man Booker 50 Festival at the South Bank Centre, which was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the renowned prize, Hilary Mantel discusses the second volume in her acclaimed series of novels about Thomas Cromwell. Bring Up the Bodies delves into the heart of Tudor history and the downfall of Queen Anne Boleyn whom King Henry VIII had battled for seven years to marry.

Join writer Hilary Mantel, presenter Harriett Gilbert and readers at the South Bank Centre and around the globe for a World Book Club for an hour during which the words Corona or Virus are not mentioned even once.

Jackie Kay: Trumpet2018020320180204 (WS)
20180207 (WS)
This month World Book Club talks to Scottish poet Laureate Jackie Kay about her award winning novel, Trumpet.

When legendary jazz trumpeter Joss Moody dies an extraordinary secret is revealed, one that he shared in life only with his beloved wife, Millie. On learning the truth about his father, their adopted son Colman is devastated and becomes easy prey for a tabloid journalist. Besieged by the press and overwhelmed with grief, Millie withdraws to their remote seaside home where she seeks solace in treasured memories of her fiercely private marriage. The reminiscences of those who knew Joss Moody render a complex and moving portrait of two people whose shared life was founded on an intricate lie that preserved their family, and their rare, unconditional love.

(Photo credit: Denise Else.)

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

James Ellroy - American Tabloid2018090120180902 (WS)
20180905 (WS)
On this month’s World Book Club, as he turns seventy, another chance to hear acclaimed American writer James Ellroy, who over a span of fifteen years worked on a massive fictional chronicle of 1960s America.

American Tabloid, the first of the three books, exposes the underbelly of a country on the threshold of Kennedy's golden age, and follows three men close to the tentacles of power in a conspiracy with the Mafia that leads to the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and the assassination of JFK in Dallas. Brutally brilliant and profane, the book bursts at the seams with crooked policemen, corrupt politicians, mobsters and hitmen, all driven by a desire for power, money and the settling of old scores.

Image: James Ellroy (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

American Tabloid exposes the underbelly of a country on the brink of Kennedy's golden age

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

Jane Gardam - Old Filth2017100720171008 (WS)
20171011 (WS)
Jane Gardam discusses her novel Old Filth with the World Book Club audience

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

Jeffrey Archer - Kane And Abel2017060320170604 (WS)
20170607 (WS)
British author Jeffrey Archer discusses his novel Kane and Abel.

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

Jenny Erpenbeck - Visitation2019120820191211 (WS)
20191212 (WS)
This month World Book Club is in Germany marking the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall with a programme from the St George’s Bookshop in the heart of the capital. We’re speaking with one of the country’s greatest living writers Jenny Erpenbeck about her highly acclaimed novel, Visitation.

Visitation’s central character is a beguiling house on the forested banks of a lake in Brandenburg near Berlin, which is inhabited by various occupants, one dislodging the next over the course of a turbulent century of upheaval and calamity. Encompassing the years from the Weimar Republic, through World War II to the subsequent Soviet-led Communist regime, and finally to reunification and its aftermath, Visitation forms a literary mosaic of the horrors of twentieth century German history filtered through the beauty of one house and the landscape it’s rooted in.

(Image: Jenny Erpenbeck. Credit: Katharina Behling.)

The horrors of twentieth century Germany filtered through the beauty of one house

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

Visitation’s central character is a beguiling house on the forested banks of a lake in Brandenburg near Berlin, which is inhabited by various occupants, one dislodging the next over the course of a turbulent century of upheavel and calamity. Encompassing the years from the Weimar Republic, through World War II to the subsequent Soviet-led Communist regime, and finally to reunification and its aftermath, Visitation forms a literary mosaic of the horrors of twentieth century German history filtered through the beauty of one house and the landscape it’s rooted in.

Jenny Erpenbeck discusses her highly acclaimed novel, Visitation.

Joebl Dicker - The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair2017030420170305 (WS)
20170308 (WS)
Swiss writer Jo\u00ebl Dicker talks about his novel The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.

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

Jojo Moyes - Me Before You2019020320190206 (WS)
20190207 (WS)
20190208 (WS)
This month we’re talking to bestselling British writer JoJo Moyes about her wildly popular novel Me Before You.

Lou is a small town girl in need of a job. Will is a successful high-powered city trader who becomes wheelchair bound following an accident and decides he doesn’t want to go on living.

And then Lou is hired for six months to be his new caretaker. Worlds apart and trapped together by circumstance, the two get off to a rocky start. But Lou is determined to prove that life is worth living and as they embark on a series of adventures together, each finds their world changing in ways neither of them could have imagined.

(Image: Jojo Moyes. Photo credit: Stine Heilmann.)

JoJo Moyes discusses her wildly popular novel Me Before You

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

Juan Gabriel Vasquez - The Sound Of Things Falling2016070220160703 (WS)
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Juan Gabriel Vasquez discusses his novel The Sound of Things Falling.

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

Judith Kerr - When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit2016030520160306 (WS)
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Judith Kerr will be talking about her novel When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

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

Junot Diaz: The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao2018030320180304 (WS)
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Award-winning Dominican American writer Junot Diaz talks to World Book Club on location in Boston, US, about his wildly popular novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Moving across generations and continents, from the dark and tragic past in the Dominican Republic to struggles and dreams in suburban America the novel chronicles Oscar and his family’s search for love and belonging.

(Photo: Junot Diaz attends the Norman Mailer Center's Fifth Annual Benefit Gala. Credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images)

Dominican-American writer Junot Diaz on his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

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

Karl Ove Knausgaard - A Death In The Family2017010720170108 (WS)
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Acclaimed Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard talks about his book A Death in the Family

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

Kate Atkinson: Life After Life2018100620181007 (WS)
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This month on World Book Club award-winning British writer Kate Atkinson discusses her celebrated novel Life After Life. In it Atkinson poses the question: What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born and then dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can - will she?

Presented by Harriett Gilbert.

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

Kiran Desai - The Inheritance Of Loss2016080620160807 (WS)
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Desai's novel is a profoundly moving cross-continental saga that sweeps around the globe

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

Laura Restrepo - Delirium2017020420170205 (WS)
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Colombian author Laura Restrepo discusses her novel Delirium in Cartagena.

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

Lee Child20190106World Book Club talks to one of the world’s leading thriller writers, British-born Lee Child.

Killing Floor is the first book in the internationally popular Jack Reacher series and presents the all-action hero for the first time, as the tough ex-military cop of no fixed abode: a righter of wrongs, and not a man to mess with.

Early one morning Reacher jumps off a bus in the middle of nowhere and walks 14 miles down an empty country road. The minute he reaches the town of Margrave he is thrown into jail. As the only stranger in town a local murder is blamed on him, but as nasty secrets leak out, and the body count mounts, one thing is for sure: They picked the wrong guy to take the fall.

Leading thriller writer Lee Child discusses his book Killing Floor with World Book Club.

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

Lee Child - Killing Floor2019010620190109 (WS)
20190110 (WS)
World Book Club talks to one of the world’s leading thriller writers, British-born Lee Child.

Killing Floor is the first book in the internationally popular Jack Reacher series and presents the all-action hero for the first time, as the tough ex-military cop of no fixed abode: a righter of wrongs, and not a man to mess with.

Early one morning Reacher jumps off a bus in the middle of nowhere and walks 14 miles down an empty country road. The minute he reaches the town of Margrave he is thrown into jail. As the only stranger in town a local murder is blamed on him, but as nasty secrets leak out, and the body count mounts, one thing is for sure: They picked the wrong guy to take the fall.

Leading thriller writer Lee Child discusses Killing Floor and its hero Jack Reacher

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

Leefla Slimani - Lullaby2020030820200311 (WS)
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French-Moroccan writer Leïla Slimani joins Harriett Gilbert in the Radio Theatre at the BBC and readers from around the world to talk about her novel Lullaby, the devastating story of a nanny, Louise, who kills two children in her care.

The book – an international bestseller – opens with this horrific crime then travels back in time to discover why an apparently perfect nanny turned into a cold blooded murderer. Through the lives of Louise and her employers, Slimani explores Paris’s economy and society, depicting a city where poverty and wealth live side by side and people know little about one another.

The third programme in World Book Club’s year celebrating international women’s writing, this novel raises urgent questions about women’s lives and maternal instincts, and what is expected of them.

(Photo: Leïla Slimani. Photo credit: Catherine Hélie/Editions Gallimard.)

French-Moroccan writer Le\u00efla Slimani talks to Harriett Gilbert about her novel Lullaby.

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

Lijia Zhang: Lotus2018110420181107 (WS)
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This month BBC World Book Club comes from Beijing with Lawrence Pollard.

The programme is a guest of the Bookworm, three rooms and a roof terrace full of books in Chinese and English, a fixture on the literary scene here for over a decade.

Bestselling Chinese writer Lijia Zhang answers questions about her novel Lotus. Lijia taught herself English while working in a missile factory in a bid to become a writer and a journalist, and she’s written Lotus in English. It’s the story of a young migrant worker from the country who ends up as a prostitute in Shenzen, the economic powerhouse of Southern China. It’s also a deeply researched picture of the people who look up at the economic miracle from beneath and their struggles for dignity, love and a future they can believe in.

(Image: Lijia Zhang. Credit: Will Baker.)

In Beijing discussing Lotus, about a migrant worker who ends up a prostitute in Shenzen

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

Margaret Drabble - The Millstone2016120320161204 (WS)
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Margaret Drabble discusses her novel The Millstone.

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

Naomi Alderman - The Power2020010520200108 (WS)
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Naomi Alderman talks about her extraordinary novel The Power which imagines that women suddenly develop an electrifying strength, putting them firmly in control - of everything. The new order spreads around the globe, liberating women from enslavement and subjugation but also freeing their darker ambitions. It’s a pacey read, teeming with characters and plot lines. Alderman focusses on Roxy, the teenage daughter of a London crime lord; Tunde a Nigerian journalist chasing the story around the globe, and in America Ali, a young orphan who becomes a spiritual leader and Margot, an ambitious politician who sees the opportunities the new world order offers her.

In this edition of World Book Club, Naomi Alderman talks about the inequalities which inspired her story and her hopes for the future.

(Photo credit: Justine Stoddard.)

What would happen if women could send out lethal electric shocks at will?

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

Naomi Alderman joins Harriett Gilbert to talk about her award-winning novel The Power.

Naomi Alderman talks about her extraordinary novel The Power which imagines that women suddenly develop an electrifying strength, putting them firmly in control - of everything. The new order spreads around the globe, liberating women from enslavement and subjugation but also freeing their darker ambitions. It’s a pacey read, teeming with characters and plot lines. Alderman focusses on Roxy, the teenage daughter of a London crime lord; Tunde a Nigerian journalist chasing the story around the globe, and in America Ali, a young orphan who becomes a spiritual leader and Margot, an ambitious politician who sees the opportunities the new world order offers her.

In this edition of World Book Club, Naomi Alderman talks about the inequalities which inspired her story and her hopes for the future.

Naomi Alderman joins Harriett Gilbert to talk about her award-winning novel The Power.

Ng\u0169g\u0129 Wa Thiong'o - A Grain Of Wheat2019030920190303 (WS)
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This month a special edition of BBC World Book Club coming from Nairobi in Kenya. Lawrence Pollard talks to celebrated Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o in the company of an enthusiastic audience of readers and students who have gathered in the bustling bookshop of Nairobi University where Ngugi was once a director. We’re discussing Ngũgĩ's landmark novel A Grain of Wheat, set in the wake of the Mau Mau rebellion and on the cusp of Kenya’s independence from Britain. In it the tangled narratives of a group of Kenyan villagers interweave to tell an epic story of love tested, friendships betrayed and myths forged, confirming Ngũgĩ's status as a giant of African writing.

A special edition from Nairobi University's bustling bookshop, where Ngugi was a director.

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

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Somali writer Nuruddin Farah will be discussing his novel Maps with Harriett Gilbert

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

Petina Gappah - The Book Of Memory2020020220200205 (WS)
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Harriett Gilbert is joined by Zimbabwean novelist Petina Gappah for this month’s edition of World Book Club, continuing 2020’s celebration of women’s writing.

Petina will be answering questions from readers around the world about her novel The Book Of Memory. It’s narrated by Memory, an albino woman convicted of murdering her wealthy white guardian, who took her away from life in the townships when she was a child. In this testimony, written from her prison cell, Memory looks back over her life and confronts the events that led to this conviction.

(Photo: Petina Gappah. Credit: Marina Cavazza)

Zimbabwean novelist Petina Gappah speaks about The Book Of Memory

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

Harriett Gilbert is joined by Zimbabwean novelist Petina Gappah for this month’s edition of World Book Club, continuing 2020’s celebration of women’s writing.

Richard Flanagan: Narrow Road To The Deep North2017120220171203 (WS)
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Richard Flanagan talks about his Man Booker Prize-winning novel

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

Robert Harris - Imperium2017040120170402 (WS)
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Robert Harris discusses the first of his Roman trilogy, Imperium.

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

Sarah Waters: Tipping The Velvet2018050520180506 (WS)
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This month World Book Club talks to British writer Sarah Waters about her chart-topping novel, Tipping the Velvet.

Celebrating twenty years since its first publication Tipping the Velvet is a bawdy, historical, lesbian romance, following the startling career of Nan King, oyster girl from Whitstable turned music-hall star turned rent boy. Star-struck and infatuated with actress Kitty Butler Nan starts up a double act with her idol both on and off the stage. But when Kitty, hankering after a more conventional life, spurns Nan in favour of marriage to her manager, a devastated Nan is propelled into a series of ever more erotic excursions and ultimately a struggle for survival. (Photo credit: Charlie Hopkinson.)

Harriett Gilbert talks to British writer Sarah Waters about her novel, Tipping the Velvet

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

Sebastian Barry - The Secret Scripture2017090220170903 (WS)
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World Book Club talks to author Sebastian Barry about his novel The Secret Scripture.

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

Siri Hustvedt2019060220190605 (WS)This month World Book Club talks to award-winning writer Siri Hustvedt about her novel What I Loved, a troubling, often turbulent tale of love, art, friendship and heartbreak set amidst the darkly flamboyant New York art scene of the late twentieth century.

Scholars Leo and his wife Erica admire, then befriend, artist Bill and his first and second wives. Their respective sons Matthew and Mark grow up together until the first in a series of tragedies strikes; a calamity which devastates the whole community and changes everyone’s lives forever.

Award-winning writer Siri Hustvedt discusses her novel What I Loved with the WBC audience.

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

Siri Hustvedt - What I Loved2019060220190605 (WS)This month World Book Club talks to award-winning writer Siri Hustvedt about her novel What I Loved, a troubling, often turbulent tale of love, art, friendship and heartbreak set amidst the darkly flamboyant New York art scene of the late twentieth century.

Scholars Leo and his wife Erica admire, then befriend, artist Bill and his first and second wives. Their respective sons Matthew and Mark grow up together until the first in a series of tragedies strikes; a calamity which devastates the whole community and changes everyone’s lives forever.

(Image: Siri Hustvedt. Photo credit: Miquel Llop/NurPhoto/Getty Images.)

Award-winning writer Siri Hustvedt discusses her novel What I Loved with the WBC audience.

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

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

Sjf3n - Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was2021010320210106 (WS)
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On this month’s World Book Club, Icelandic literary superstar Sjón will be answering questions from readers around the world about his novel Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was.

Set in Reykjavik in 1918, it’s the story of sixteen year old Mani, whose life is completely changed by the arrival of the Spanish flu in the city.

It’s a fascinating novel about human resilience and connections, a love letter to cinema and a portrait of a place at a very particular moment in its history.

Moonstone won The Icelandic Literary Prize in 2013.

Sjón is one of Iceland’s leading novelists and his work has been translated into 30 languages. He’s also a poet and librettist and was Oscar nominated for his lyrics for the film Dancer In The Dark.

Presented by Harriett Gilbert.

(Picture: Sjón. Courtesy of Sjón.)

Sjon answers questions from readers about his novel Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was.

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

Sj\u00f3n answers questions from readers about his novel Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was.

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

Tan Twan Eng - The Garden Of Evening Mists2016060420160605 (WS)
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Tan Twan Eng discusses his novel The Garden of Evening Mists.

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

Tessa Hadley20190407This month World Book Club comes from the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival in the elegant surroundings of The Mathematical Institute, part of the university, and we’re talking to the highly acclaimed British author Tessa Hadley about her award-winning novel The Past.

Over three long, hot summer weeks four siblings and their children assemble at their country house for a family reunion, where simmering tensions and secrets come to a head.

Tessa Hadley skillfully evokes a brewing storm of lust and envy, the indelible connections of memory and affection, the fierce, nostalgic beauty of the natural world, and the shifting currents of history running beneath the surface of these seemingly steady lives.

(Picture: Tessa Hadley. Photo credit; Mark Vessey.)

Harriett Gilbert talks to UK author Tessa Hadley about her award-winning novel The Past.

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

Tessa Hadley - The Past20190407Highly acclaimed British author Tessa Hadley talks to Harriett Gilbert about her award-winning novel - The Past.

Recorded at the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival in the elegant surroundings of The Mathematical Institute, part of the university.

Tessa skilfully evokes a brewing storm of lust and envy, the indelible connections of memory and affection, the fierce, nostalgic beauty of the natural world, and the shifting currents of history running beneath the surface of these seemingly steady lives.

Over three long, hot summer weeks, four siblings and their children assemble at their country house for a family reunion, where simmering tensions and secrets come to a head.

First broadcast on the BBC World Service in April 2019.

British author Tessa Hadley talks to Harriett Gilbert about her award-winning novel.

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

Tim Winton - Cloudstreet2017070120170702 (WS)
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Tim Winton discusses his novel Cloudstreet with the World Book Club audience.

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

World Book Club: Fatima Bhutto2020040420200405 (WS)
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Long-listed for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, Bhutto’s lyrical debut novel unfolds over the course of one morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan's Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border.
Set during the American invasion of Afghanistan, it chronicles the lives of five young people trying to live and love in a world on fire. On a day seemingly like any other, three brothers meet for breakfast before going their separate ways. Three hours later their day will end in devastating circumstances.

(Photo: Fatima Bhutto)

Fatima Bhutto discusses her debut novel, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon

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

Long-listed for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, Bhutto’s lyrical debut novel unfolds over the course of one morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan's Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border.
Set during the American invasion of Afghanistan, it chronicles the lives of five young people trying to live and love in a world on fire. On a day seemingly like any other, three brothers meet for breakfast before going their separate ways. Three hours later their day will end in devastating circumstances.

(Photo: Fatima Bhutto)

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

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

Yaa Gyasi: Homegoing2020120620201210 (WS)A novel of breathtaking sweep revealing the devastating impact of slavery through history.

This month World Book Club discusses the multi-prize-winning debut novel Homegoing with its acclaimed Ghanaian author Yaa Gyasi and her fans around the world.

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.

We discuss the prize-winning novel Homegoing with its acclaimed Ghanaian author Yaa Gyasi

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

A novel of breathtaking sweep revealing the devastating impact of slavery through history.

This month World Book Club discusses the multi-prize-winning debut novel Homegoing with its acclaimed Ghanaian author Yaa Gyasi and her fans around the world.

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.

We discuss the prize-winning novel Homegoing with its acclaimed Ghanaian author Yaa Gyasi.

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

Yiyun Li: The Vagrants2020110820201111 (WS)
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Life or death choices in a bid to survive the horrors of 1970s Communist China

This month in the penultimate edition of a year celebrating the globe’s greatest women writers World Book Club talks to acclaimed Chinese author Yiyun Li about her harrowing debut novel The Vagrants.

Winner of the Guardian First Book Award The Vagrants is based on real events which took place in China in 1979 during the era that ultimately led to the fateful Tiannanmen Square uprising.

In the provincial town of Muddy Waters a young woman, Gu Shan, is sentenced to death for her loss of faith in Communism. The citizens stage a protest after her execution and, over the following six weeks, the novel charts the hopes and fears of the leaders of the protest and the pain of Gu Shan’s parents and friends, as everyone in the town is caught up in the remorseless turn of events.

(Picture: Yiyun Li. Photo credit: Roger Turesson.)

We talk to acclaimed Chinese author Yiyun Li about her harrowing debut novel The Vagrants

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

We talk to acclaimed Chinese author Yiyun Li about her harrowing debut novel The Vagrants.