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The multi award winning writer Jocelyn Nicole Johnson joins Robin to talk about her debut novella, My Monticello this week. They chat about the book, how important it was to capture the feeling of a real place, and the long shadow of the events of Charlottesville on her life, and the book. Extended edition for Patreons, of course, at patreon.com/bo…
 
This week Josie Long is back from maternity leave and she takes the reigns of the podcast to talk to theatre maker and author Alan Lane about his new book The Club on the Edge of Town. They chat about how when COVID hit, and the theatres had to close, Alan turned his theatre company into a foodbank for those in need, the role of art and creativity …
 
Medical historian Dr Lindsey Fitzharris is our special guest this week, talking to guest host Dr Helen Czerski about her new book, The Facemaker. Her book looks at the story of the visionary surgeon who rebuilt the faces of the First World War's injured heroes, and in the process ushered in the modern era of plastic surgery. Her and Helen talk abou…
 
The acclaimed comedian Daniel Sloss joins Robin on the podcast to today to talk about his book, Everyone You Hate Is Going to Die, which has just been released in paperback. They chat about translating a stand up voice to the page, great comedy books and in a week where it's been very much in the news, they discuss the role of offense in comedy. Ov…
 
Robin is currently on a world tour with Brian Cox and that means there's a whole world of secondhand bookshops to explore. Those adventures form a big part of his brand new podcast, Taking the Universe Around the World. So on Book Shambles this week we're sharing the first episode of that new series. Three episodes out already and a new episode eac…
 
We spend a lot of time at Shambles talking about science, so on today's episode of Book Shambles we're going to talk about how the media should and shouldn't talk, and write, about science. Helen Czerski guest hosts once again and she chats with Fiona Fox from the Science Media Centre who has just released a fascinating book, Beyond the Hype: The I…
 
This week Helen Czerski takes the host chair once again to talk to zoologist, author and broadcaster Jules Howard about dogs. His new book, Wonderdog, looks at the evolving science of dogs. How has humankind's favourite pet defied science and changed the way we think about animals overall, particularly in the field of cognitive research. From early…
 
On today's episode Robin is joined by comedian Rachel Parris to talk about her new, and first, book, Advice from Strangers. She chats with Robin about writing the book, the pressure of remembering not everything has to be funny, Jane Austen, the difficulties of writing satire right now and the book on the music she really wants to write next. Hear …
 
This week Robin is joined by artist and author Lauren John Joseph to talk about their new novel, At Certain Points We Touch. They chat about the book, literary influences and places that inspire creativity, particularly in their home town of Liverpool. To hear and extended version, subscribe at patreon.com/bookshambles…
 
Tonight the ever brilliant Inside No. 9 returns to our screens for series 7 and so it is that Reece Shearsmith returns to Book Shambles! He joins Robin to talk about the new series, favourite episodes, great horror short stories and more. They're also joined by horror writer and historian Johnny Mains who, together with Robin, will be editing the t…
 
Our guest today is the author of one of the most lauded books of 2021, the superb Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe. One of the awards it garnered last year was the highly prestigious Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction and one of the judges on the panel last year was our own Dr Helen Czerski, so th…
 
Hayley Campbell is a writer and broadcaster you may best know for his book The Art of Neil Gaiman. Her latest book, All the Living and the Dead, looks at our relationship with death, and the people for whom death is their life. She joins Robin to talk about her fascination with death, seeing her first dead body, embalming and Jeremy Bentham's head.…
 
Veronica O'Keane is a Professor of Psychiatry and this week she joins Robin and Helen Czerski to talk about her book The Rag and Bone Shop which deals with her thirty year investigation into memory. One of the exciting things about Veronica's book, for Book Shambles fans, is how her book takes us on a journey through writers from Beckett to Yeats a…
 
On today's episode Robin is joined by author and poet Kei Miller to talk about his new collection of essays, Things I Have Withheld. They chat about the fear of writing such an honest book, how criticism and expectations of self differs from country to country, favourite Jamaican poets and much more. Extended episode, and other goodies, available f…
 
You've probably encountered online what is often labeled 'Abandoned Places Porn'. Artistic photography of disused theme parks, factories and that sort of thing. Our guest on today's show is the author of widely acclaimed, and Baillie Gifford Prize shortlisted book, Islands of Abandonment, an in depth exploration into the places where nature is flou…
 
On this week's show we have someone who was one of the writers, and performers, of the Cosmic Shambles and Book Shambles theme music. Oh, and he's also one of the world's leading experts on disgust and emotions and a Research Fellow at the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary University. And now Dr Richard Firth-Godbehere's first book h…
 
This week's episode was recorded in January live at The Slapstick Festival in Bristol. Armando Iannucci, co-creator of The Thick Of It, Veep, Alan Partridge and so many other comedy icons, joins Robin to talk about the state of satire in 2022. Armando's latest book is Pandemonium : Some verses on the Current Predicament, an epic mock-heroic poem, w…
 
On this week's episode Robin is joined by the Reverend Richard Coles to talk about his literary inspirations and loves growing up as a nerdy kid in Kettering, finding God, a love of diaries and how the process of writing about grief after the loss of his partner David, which would become the book The Madness of Grief. Subscribe to our Patreon to he…
 
Julia Cooke is a writer and author whose work regularly appears in the likes of Salon, Smithsonian and The New York Times. Her latest book is the acclaimed Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am. She joins Robin to talk about how she found herself in the world of Pan Am and the Mad Men era, studying in Cuba and Pan Am's role i…
 
Man Booker Prize shortlisted novelist Ruth Ozeki joins us this week to talk about her latest novel The Book of Form and Emptiness which is out now. They chat about how the book took eight years to write, growing up learning to love books in a public library basement, listening to the voices that guide a novel and her past life working as an art dir…
 
Ruarri Joseph is a singer-songwriter and frontman for the band William The Conqueror. He's just written his first novel, of the same name, (available for pre-order now) which is an 'auto fiction' or maybe a 'meta biography'. He chats to Robin about the challenges of writing a novel compared to a screenplay or a song, moving away from folk music, th…
 
There's been a lot more interest in plants and trees in the UK recently thanks to David Attenborough's The Green Planet series, so this week we speak with nature writer James Canton about his recent book The Oak Papers which tells the story of an 800 year old oak tree, and our relationship with oak throughout the ages. He and Robin chat about great…
 
This week's episode is a young readers special. Robin chats to author Louie Stowell about her new book for younger readers, Otherland and is also joined by high school librarian Julie Baugh. They chat about what kids and young adults are reading today, which classics are still popular, the importance of libraries, the wonderful Usborne series of bo…
 
Last year Dara McAnulty, at just 16 years of age, won Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. Coincidentally, that category was presented by us at The Cosmic Shambles Network, so today, as Dara’s second book, Wild Child, hits shelves he took time out from studying for his maths exam next week to come on the podcast to chat to Robin…
 
Our traditional end of year wrap up of the best things the Shambles crew read in 2021. The books don't have to have been released in 2021 of course, just read this year. With Josie on maternity leave Robin holds down the fort with loads of special guests including Chris Hadfield, Helen Czerski, Anil Seth, Isy Suttie, Steve Backshall, Helen Zaltzman…
 
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