The Biblio File Hosted by Nigel Beale
Twenty - forty minute interviews with accomplished authors, publishers, biblio people, conducted by an excitable bibliophile.

Marcello Di Cintio is a Canadian writer. He won the 2012 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book Walls: Travels Along the Barricades. The award was handed out on March 6, 2013 at the Writers' Trust of Canada's annual Politics and the Pen in Ottawa. Marcello was born in Calgary, Alberta where he currently lives with his wife, Moonira, and son, Amedeo.

We met recently to discuss his literary pilgrimage to Iran, which he wrote about in his book, Poets and Pahlevansa Journey into the Heart of Iran. 

Direct download: Marcello_in_Iran_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:55 PM

Rae Armantrout is an American poet generally associated with the Language poets. Armantrout was born in Vallejo, California but grew up in San Diego. She has published ten books of poetry and has also been featured in a number of major anthologies. Armantrout currently teaches at the University of California, San Diego, where she is Professor of Poetry and Poetics.

On March 11, 2010, Armantrout was awarded the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award for her book of poetry Versed published by the Wesleyan University Press, which had also been nominated for the National Book Award. The book later earned the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Armantrout’s most recent collection, Just Saying, was published in February 2013. She is the recipient of numerous other awards for her poetry, including an award in poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2007 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008.

Source: Wikipedia.

We met recently to discuss her poetry, William Carlos Williams, place, and how to be a literary tourist in San Diego. 

Direct download: Rae_Armentrout_final_131004_001.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 3:03 PM

The Press & Letterfoundry of Michael & Winifred Bixler is "devoted to the craft of fine letterpress printing and traditional book typography. Our extensive collection of English Monotype matrices allows us to cast from 8- to 72-point, classic book typefaces including Bembo, Dante, Walbaum, Van Dijck, Joanna, Perpetua, Garamond, Centaur & Arrighi, Ehrhardt, Fournier, Bell, Baskerville, Poliphilus, Plantin, Gill Sans, & Univers. Work is designed, set, printed, & bound in our shop. We use Vandercook & Heidelberg cylinder presses. Fonts are cast on commission & sold by the pound."

I met with Michael and Winifred recently at their shop in Skaneateles, NY to discuss letterpress printing, and all things Monotype. 

Direct download: Bixler_Final_Part_1.mp3
Category:Book Designer -- posted at: 7:27 PM

David Mason, with boss in the foreground.

I met with David Mason recently to talk about his memoir The Pope's Bookbinder. As the Biblioasis website wordsmiths have it:

"From his drug-hazy, book-happy years near the Beat Hotel in Paris and throughout his career as antiquarian book dealer, David Mason brings us a storied life. He discovers his love of literature in a bathtub at age eleven, thumbing through stacks of lurid Signet paperbacks. At fifteen he’s expelled from school. For the next decade and a half, he will work odd jobs, buck all authority, buy books more often than food, and float around Europe. He’ll help gild a volume in white morocco for Pope John XXIII. And then, at the age of 30, after returning home to Canada and apprenticing with Joseph Patrick Books, David Mason will find his calling."

"David Mason boldly campaigns for what he feels is the moral duty of the antiquarian trade: to preserve the history and traditions of all nations, and to assert without compromise that such histories have value.  The Pope's Bookbinder is an engrossing memoir by a giant in the book trade—whose infectious enthusiasm, human insight, commercial shrewdness, and deadpan humour will delight bibliophiles for decades to come. "

Listen to Part l of our conversation here:

Direct download: David_Mason_final_130928_001.mp3
Category:Bookseller Interview -- posted at: 12:42 AM

Matthew Tree (born December 30, 1958) is a writer in English and Catalan. He has lived in Barcelona since 1984. Apart from publishing both fiction and non-fiction, he is a contributor to various newspapers and magazines such as Catalonia Today,The Times Literary Supplement, Barcelona INK, Altaïr, El Punt Avui and L'Esguard. He has also appeared on various Catalan language radio and TV stations and is current a monthly guest on Catalunya Ràdio's chat show L'Oracle. In 2005 and 2006 he scripted and presented two series of the infotainment programme Passatgers for TV3 (Catalan Public Television).

His most recent book, a novel in English, is entitled Snug. It's about a small village in the Isle of Wight which finds itself under siege by Africans who have gone there for that very purpose.

I caught up with Matthew recently, on a blustery afternoon, to talk about cool literary things to do while in Barcelona. 

Direct download: Mathew_Tree_Barcelona_130920_001_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:11 PM

George Tremlett (born 1939) is an English author, bookshop owner, and former politician

According to his own biography, after leaving King Edward VI School Stratford-upon-Avon, he worked for the Coventry Evening Telegraph from 1957 onward as a TV columnist and pop music reviewer. In 1961 he became a freelance rock journalist and in the 1970s wrote a series of paperbacks on pop stars, including The David Bowie Story,  the first bio of the musician. 

He is a biographer of Dylan Thomas and his wife Caitlin.He interviewed Caitlin at her home in Catania for the book Caitlin: Life with Dylan Thomas. He has argued that Thomas was "the first rock star." In 1997 he published a book with James Nashold, The Death of Dylan Thomas, which claimed that Thomas' death was not due to alcohol poisoning but to a mistake by Thomas' physician in prescribing cortisone, morphine and benzedrine when Thomas was actually in a diabetic coma.

Tremlett runs the Corran Bookshop in Laugharne, Wales "a shrine to the poet"; has since 1982. The shop offers tourist information...and it's where I met George late last year to have this conversation:

Please buy books listed above via the links in this post to help The Biblio File continue to do the work it does. 

Direct download: George_Tremlet1.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 3:14 PM

Wales is celebrating the centenary of famed Welsh poet Dylan Thomas in 2014Annie Haden is an experienced tourist guide and a specialist in the life of Thomas. With over 20 years experience in the tourism sector, Anne uses an easy listening story-telling technique which keeps her tours both interesting and informative. 

I caught up with Annie late last year at Morgans hotel in Swansea, Thomas's home town, to talk about poet and place. Please listen here: 

Direct download: Annie_Haden_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:45 PM

A - Fiction by AndreĢ Alexis

I met with Andre Alexis last fall to discuss his latest novella, A (BookThug, 2013). During our conversation we hit, among other things, on literary criticism, book reviewing, 'Good' and 'Baddeley' literary critics, and David Gilmour and his GG Award winning novel A Perfect Night to go to China, and Alexis's contention that racism is contained in the chapter in this novel entitled “The Pigeon”.  

Please note that, as a condition of making the recording of this conversation public, Alexis's essay titled “Of a Smallness in the Soul” is being made readily available (as it is right here) to visitors to this web page...and that the point is being made, clearly, that this essay is Alexis's argument for (or demonstration of) the racism contained in ...David Gilmour’s chapter entitled “The Pigeon”, from his novel,The Perfect Order of Things."

Direct download: andre_Alexis_1.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 12:23 AM

Alberto Manguel is an Argentine-born writer, translator, and editor, and the author of  many books of both non-fiction, including  A History of Reading (1996), The Library at Night (2007) and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: A Biography (2008); and fiction ( News From a Foreign Country Came , 1991). We met recently at the Kingston WritersFest; I asked him to recount some of his favourite experiences in bookstores and libraries around the world.

First he pointed out that libraries and bookstores, in spite of their being public places, are really private spaces that each reader makes his or her own home: a sort of autobiography, where the books that interest you contain words that mirror your own experience.  We talk about a Tel Aviv bookstore he visited 60 years ago, bookshop stickers, the reconstructed library of Aby Warburg in Hamburg, and treasures found by chance in used bookstores on Avenida Corrientes in Buenos Aires. Manguel has a new novel coming out next year called A Return that sketches the character of one of the old booksellers on this street.

 

Direct download: Alberto_Manguel_final_mp3_130926_003.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 6:06 PM

Herman Melville lived at Arrowhead (so named because of arrowheads found nearby during planting season) from 1850–1863, during which time he wrote some of his best known works:  Moby-Dick,  The Confidence-Man, and The Piazza Tales, a short story collection named after his porch, of which he wrote:

Now, for a house, so situated in such a country, to have no piazza for the convenience of those who might desire to feast upon the view, and take their time and ease about it, seemed as much of an omission as if a picture-gallery should have no bench; for what but picture-galleries are the marble halls of these same limestone hills?—galleries hung, month after month anew, with pictures ever fading into pictures ever fresh.

Built in the 1780s as a farmhouse, it was located adjacent to property owned by Melville's uncle Thomas, who Melville visited in his youth. He purchased the property in 1850 with borrowed money and spent the next twelve years farming and writing. Money problems forced him to sell the property to his brother, and return to New York City in 1863 whereupon he eventually found work as a customs inspector.

The house remained in private hands until 1975, when the Berkshire County Historical Society acquired it and some of the original 160-acre property. The Society restored most of the house to Melville's period and operates it as a house museum; it is open to the public during warmer months.

I visited Arrowhead recently to learn more about why Arrowhead should be on all Literary tourists' bucketlist.  Here's my conversation with Executive Director Betsy Sherman

Direct download: Betsy_Arrowhead_130806_002.mp3
Category:Literary Destinations -- posted at: 1:54 PM