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The Book Club

The Book Club

Literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith.

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Latest Episodes

  • December 18, 2020

    One man’s failed attempt to climb Everest

    In this week’s Book Club podcast, Sam Leith’s guest is the journalist Ed Caesar, whose new book The Moth and the Mountain tells the story of a now forgotten solo assault on Everest that ended in disaster. But as Ed argues, the heroic failure can be a richer and more resonant story than any triumph — […]

  • Nicholas Shakespeare: remembering John Le Carré

    In this week’s Book Club podcast, we remember the great John Le Carré. I’m joined by one of the late writer’s longest standing friends, the novelist Nicholas Shakespeare. He tells me about Le Carré’s disdain for — and debt to — Ian Fleming, his intensely secretive and controlling personality, his magnetic charm, his thwarted hopes […]

  • December 23, 2020

    Laura Thompson: Life in a Cold Climate

    This week’s Book Club podcast celebrates the 75th anniversary of the publication of Nancy Mitford’s breakthrough novel The Pursuit of Love. Laura Thompson, author of the biography Life In A Cold Climate, joins me to talk about the way the book was written, how it helped create the Mitford myth — and how it shaped […]

  • July 28, 2021

    Anne Sebba: A Cold War Tragedy

    In this week’s Book Club podcast my guest is Anne Sebba — whose Ethel Rosenberg: A Cold War Tragedy tells the story of the first woman in US history to be executed for a crime other than murder. She tells me how attitudes to this notorious espionage case changed over the years; and why, while […]

  • August 28, 2021

    Frederick Forsyth: The Day of the Jackal at 50

    My guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is Frederick Forsyth, whose classic thriller The Day of the Jackal has been in print for 50 years this summer. He tells me about banging it out in a few weeks on a typewriter with a bullet hole in it, the shady characters who informed his research […]

  • September 28, 2021

    Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen: Freud’s Patients

    In this week’s Book Club podcast I’m joined by Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, a historian of psychoanalysis whose latest book is Freud’s Patients: A Book of Lives. Mikkel has sifted through the archives to discover the real stories anonymized in the case studies on which Sigmund Freud based his theories, and the lives of the patients who […]

  • September 29, 2021

    Chuck Palahniuk: Greener Pastures

    Chuck Palahniuk — best known as the author of Fight Club — has just announced that he’s publishing his next novel not with a mainstream publisher but through the online subscription service Substack. He joins me on this week’s Book Club podcast to tell me why; and to talk about how 9/11 changed literature, why […]


Sam Leith

Sam Leith is UK literary editor of The Spectator and the author of Write To The Point: How To Be Clear, Correct and Persuasive on the Page.

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