The Booker Prize Podcast

The Booker Prize Podcast

Listen for lively conversations and fascinating insights from the Booker Prizes. We revisit winning novels from years past, speak to authors and experts from the literary world and peer behind the curtain of the International Booker Prize and Booker Prize.

Episodes

May 24, 2024 43 mins
Earlier this week, author Jenny Erpenbeck and translator Michael Hofmann were announced as the winners of the International Booker Prize 2024, for the novel, Kairos. Jenny and Michael join Jo and James to talk about whether their win has truly sunk in yet and what might be next, and administrator of the International Booker Prize, Fiammetta Rocco also joins to give some insight into how the prize works. It's our last episode of thi...
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With under a week until the International Booker Prize 2024 ceremony, we're back with the second part of our deep dive into this year's six shortlist books. Listen in to hear what Jo and James think of the remaining three books on the list, common themes that run across the shortlisted reads and which book they want to see win the award.   In this episode Jo and James discuss: Brief biographies of each author, and short summaries ...
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We're three weeks away from the International Booker Prize 2024 award ceremony, so we thought it was high time to take a deep dive into this year's six shortlist books. In the first of two parts, we're exploring three of the books on this week's podcast episode. Listen in to hear what Jo and James make of them, common themes that run across the shortlisted reads and how the International Booker can expand one's world through litera...
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Esi Edugyan’s thrilling novel follows the astonishing adventures of its titular character, Washington Black, whose escape from the brutal cane plantations of Barbados was only the beginning. Shortlisted for the 2018 Booker Prize and set to be released as a glitzy television adaptation starring Sterling K Brown and co-produced by Edugyan later this year, what better excuse to dive into the novel? In this episode Jo and James: In...
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In 1984, many assumed that J.G. Ballard's Empire of the Sun had the Booker Prize in the bag. But actually, it was Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac that clinched the prize in the end. This week, we're exploring the bookies' favourite vs the Booker winner to ask which book should have won: Brookner's short, quiet novel set in a genteel Swiss hotel or Ballard's long and action-packed autobiographical epic set in wartime Shanghai. In th...
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It's a big week in the literary calendar (if we do say so, ourselves), as we've just announced this year's International Booker Prize longlist. To mark the occasion, James is joined by Fiammetta Rocco, the administrator of the International Booker Prize, and Eleanor Wachtel, chair of the 2024 judging panel. Listen in as they discuss the prize, this year's longlisted books and why translated fiction matters. Conversation topics in ...
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It’s the third and final installment in our mini-series where we revisit Booker Prize novels whose cinematic adaptations were nominated at the Academy Awards. In this episode, we’re taking a closer look at The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, which won the 1989 Booker Prize. Ishiguro’s moving portrait of the perfect English butler was adapted four years later by James Ivory, in a film which received eight nominations at the Os...
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Welcome back to the second of our Booker at the Oscars mini-series where we explore Booker Prize novels whose silver screen adaptations went on to experience Academy Award success. This time we're revisiting The English Patient, the joint Booker Prize 1992 winner by Michael Ondaatje (the other winner was Barry Unsworth's Sacred Hunger) and its silver screen counterpart, directed by Anthony Minghella. In this episode Jo and James: ...
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When does a book transcend from contemporary literature to a classic? Does someone have to confirm its classic status? And can all Booker Prize novels be considered classics just by being part of the Booker canon? This, and more, is what Jo and James are trying to get to the heart of in this week's episode. Listen in as they discuss what makes a classic novel and chat about which Booker books should be known as classics. In this e...
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It's Oscars season so we're off to the movies. Welcome to the first in a new mini-series where we explore Booker Prize novels whose silver screen adaptations went on to experience Oscar glory. We're starting with Schindler's Ark, the Booker Prize 1982 winner, which also happens to be the first Booker-winning novel to become a film that won a Best Picture Oscar. Listen in as we dive into the book and its film counterpart. In this e...
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Sally Rooney is one of the best-loved writers of her generation and her second novel, Normal People, has been overwhelmingly popular across the world – first in book form and then its TV adaptation. Nominated for the Booker Prize 2018, Normal People follows Marianne and Connell as they come of age and figure out their place in the world. It's a love story that has touched readers everywhere but it's also a novel that has something ...
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A happy Burns Night to one and all. In honour of this day of celebration for ol' Rabbie Burns, and by extension all Scottish literature, we're taking a dive into one of the most popular Booker Prize winners: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. The novel, Stuart's debut, presents a blistering and heartbreaking exploration of the unsinkable love that only children can have for their damaged parents. In this episode Jo and James: Share ...
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It's winter in the northern hemisphere right now and we are simply filled with the urge to hibernate. If you're feeling the same vibe and want to stay in with a good book, allow us to recommend three short books that could keep you company through a weekend. Listen in this week to hear Jo and James discuss some of the most bijou of novels from the Booker Prize and International Booker Prize archive. Reading list: Small Things Lik...
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A.S. Byatt's Possession is a blockbuster of a novel, loved by both critics and readers. If you haven't already read it, you've probably heard of it. (And if you haven't heard of it, well, we're here to fill you in.) Possession won the 1990 Booker Prize and it's a romp of a novel that's part detective thriller and part romance. It also happens to be the subject of our first Monthly Spotlight of 2024 – formerly known as Book of the M...
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January 4, 2024 40 mins
WARNING: this episode contains some adult language. We’re back after our festive hiatus – and how better to start the year than with a rundown of some of the most-anticipated reads of 2024. This week, Jo and James are joined by journalist and TLS podcast host Alex Clark, so listen in as they discuss the books, by Booker Prize authors and beyond, that we should all keep an eye out for this year. 2024 reading list: Long Island by ...
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In our last episode of the year (time flies!), we catch up with International Booker Prize 2023 winners Georgi Gospodinov and Angela Rodel. The winning novel, Time Shelter, follows an enigmatic therapist who runs a ‘clinic for the past’ that offers a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers. It was the first book from Bulgaria to win the International Booker – and, in fact, to be shortlisted – and its win has been received wit...
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Sara Cox, host of BBC Two's TV book club, Between the Covers, joins Jo and James to discuss our December Book of the Month: Any Human Heart by William Boyd. Told through the journals of Logan Mountstuart, it's an engrossing – and often funny – novel that takes in many of the defining events of the 20th century and the people who shaped them. The Booker Prize 2002-longlisted book was recently discussed on Between the Covers, so tune...
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Step behind the velvet rope and let Jo and James take you on a VIP tour of the Booker Prize 2023 award ceremony. Listen in as they speak to some of this year's shortlisted authors and judges, as well as other guests at the ceremony and hear, first-hand, how the shortlisted authors felt in the run up to the announcement, how the judges enjoyed being part of the jury and what it feels like to be a guest at one of the most exciting ev...
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Hot off the press, we're bringing you The Booker Prize Podcast's reaction to the Booker Prize 2023 winner. Recorded at the Booker Prize award ceremony on 26 November, Jo and James share their thoughts on the winning book and hear directly from winner Paul Lynch and Esi Edugyan, chair of judges and previous Booker Prize nominee. That's not all for this week though, as we'll be back with a special episode in our usual Thursday slot. ...
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November 23, 2023 41 mins
We're only three days away from finding out who will take home the Booker Prize 2023 so who better to speak to than last year's winner? Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka won the prize for his searing satire The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida in 2022, and the 13 months since his win has been a whirlwind of activity. This week, Shehan joins us on the podcast to tell us all about the past year and what the 2023 winner can expect on ...
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