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

John Freeman is president of The National Book Critics Circle. Founded in 1974, the NBCC is a non-profit organization consisting of nearly 700 active book reviewers who honor quality writing and communicate with one another about common concerns. We met recently and talked, among other things, about the NBCC’s awards program, an impressive new blog site called Critical Mass, and the Campaign to Save Book Reviews, which is addressing the alarming shrinkage of newspaper book review sections across North America.

Direct download: John_Freeman1.mp3
Category:Literary Critics -- posted at: 6:10pm EDT

Bernard Margolis is President of the Boston Public Library (BPL). Founded in 1848, it was the first large free municipal library in the United States. Mr. Margolis has served on the Governing Council of the 63,000-member American Library Association (ALA), and has won many awards including “Colorado Librarian of the Year", two John Cotton Dana library public relations awards, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ “Award of Excellence? for his library-sponsored “Imagination Celebration."

He’s also a master storyteller as you’ll find out. We talk here about libraries as a public good, a culture of words and books designed to help everyone improve their lives, French ventriloquist and originator of the concept of the modern library Alexandre Vattemare (1796-1864), the U.S. as a leader in realizing this concept, immigration and self learning, an informed citizenry as the best defense of liberty, democratic access to information, BPL as the first to have a newspaper room, branch libraries and a separate children’s room, the Red Sox and the Yankees, why the ebook hasn’t replaced the paperback, Brewster Kahle versus Google and the Internet archive, and the question of whether or not information will be ‘free for all’ to improve the world.

Direct download: Bernard_Margolis_Boston_May_2007_32.mp3
Category:Librarian Interview -- posted at: 1:09pm EDT

John Wronoski is a rare book dealer who specializes in literature, and primary works in the history of ideas in English, German, French, Spanish, and Russian. His shop, Lame Duck Books, contains the most significant selection of 19th and 20th century Spanish language literature in the world, and important originals of 17th and 18th century English poetry. In addition to performing the traditional role of bookseller, John serves as agent in the institutional placement of archives for some of the 20th Century's most important authors.

It is in this capacity, as literary archives dealer, that we talk here about, among other things: the importance of recognizing value in the rare book trade, paper production in the lives of writers, evident spiritual input in the process of creation, the evaluation, cataloguing, packaging and marketing of manuscripts, the comparative value of long-hand versus typed documents, the compatibility of pen and paper with the flow of thought, the value of hand written/type-written correspondence versus email, rich book dealers getting richer, Frederic Tuten's Tin Tin in the World, loosing $1 million manuscripts and adoption agencies.

(Please note the interview was conducted before the British Library purchased the Pinter archive)

Direct download: John_Wronoski_Archives_Dealer32.mp3
Category:Bookseller Interview -- posted at: 1:03pm EDT

Elias Khoury is author of eleven novels including Little Mountain and Gates of the City. He is currently professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at New York University, and editor in chief of the literary supplement of Beirut’s daily newspaper, An-Nahar. We talk here, at the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, about his latest novel in English Gate of the Sun, of how great literature speaks to what is human and how religion doesn’t; of how telling stories helps us to overcome death, and how knowledge helps to overcome power; of keys, loss, hatred and love; of how important the right to story, memory and language is to the existence of a people; of the double tragedy of Palestine in 1948, the real one and the fact that the telling of this catastrophe has not been permitted; of how reading literature helps us discover ourselves and of how literature attempts to give meaning to the meaninglessness of life.

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Direct download: Elias_Khoury_Interview_Montreal_April_07.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 12:27pm EDT

Peter Behrens’ short stories and essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Tin House, Saturday Night, and The National Post and have been anthologized in Best Canadian Stories and Best Canadian Essays. He was born in Montreal and lives on the coast of Maine with his wife and son.

We talk here, at the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, among other things about voice and poetry in his debut novel The Law of Dreams, Winner of The 2006 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. It tells the story of a young man’s struggle to survive the Great Famine in Ireland of 1847. On his odyssey through Ireland and Britain, and across the Atlantic to Canada Fergus O’brien encounters death, violence, sexual heat, ‘boy soldiers, brigands, street toughs and charming, willful girls – all struggling for survival in the aftermath of natural catastrophe magnified by political callousness and brutal neglect. ‘ Think Dickens meets J.M. Coetzee.

The book has been hailed by many reputable media outlets including The New York Times and The New Yorker.

Direct download: Peter_Behrens_The_Law_of_Dreams_Interview_April_07_.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 12:41pm EDT

Lydia Davis is a contemporary American author and translator of French. From 1974 to 1978 she was married to Paul Auster, with whom she has a son. She has published six collections of short stories, including The Thirteenth Woman and Other Stories (1976) and Break It Down (1986). Her most recent collection is not Samuel Johnson Is Indignant, but rather Varieties of Disturbance, published by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux. Her stories are acclaimed for their brevity, poetry, philosophy and humour. Many are only one or two sentences long.

We talk here, at the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, about the role of the translator, her Swann’s Way, measuring rooms three inches at a time, becoming Proust as an actor might a character, dialogue being more of a translation challenge than description because speech is born of environment and times, and the goal of creating living language that’s timeless.

Copyright © 2007 by Nigel Beale

Direct download: Lydia_Davis_Proust_Translator_Interview_April_2007.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 11:46am EDT

C.S. Richardson is an accomplished book designer who has worked in publishing for over twenty years. He is a multiple time recipient of the Alcuin Award (Canada’s highest honour for excellence in book design) and a frequent lecturer on publishing, design and communications. A rare bird indeed, he recently published his first novel The End of the Alphabet, and is currently at work on his second.

We talk here about C.S. Lewis, the role of the book designer, the award winning Bedside Book of Birds, ‘thumbage,’ how the best book design is invisible, the best designers currently at work in Canada, the U.S. and Britain, and Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, (published by Chatto and Windus in England, and Knopf in the U.S.), which, according to Richardson, is one of the best designed books in recent memory.

Copyright © 2007 by Nigel Beale http://nigelbeale.com

 

Direct download: c.s._richardson_Designer_Apr_07.mp3
Category:Book Designer -- posted at: 1:57pm EDT

Barbara Clubb is City Librarian and CEO of the Ottawa Public Library, past president of the Canadian Library Association, a member of the International Relations Committee of the ALA/Public Library Association; a director for the Canadian Writers Foundation and Monthly Book Reviewer for CBC Ottawa Radio One.

In this fascinating, wide ranging conversation we talk about the role of a city librarian now, at the turn of the 21 century; about library as place…where loitering is okay; accessibility, prescriptive versus reflective provision of information; the move from education to recreation and culture; Harry Potter in plastic; downloading copyrighted books; the zero list; a contest between librarians and Google; leveraging Google; the book as client versus people as clients; nine million items going in and out; and the necessity for librarians to be the opposite of their anti-social stereotype.

 

Copyright © 2006 by Nigel Beale

 

Direct download: Barbara_Clubb_Ottawa_Librarian_Aug_06.mp3
Category:Librarian Interview -- posted at: 1:38pm EDT

John Metcalf is a highly regarded author who happens to have edited many of Canada’s foremost short story writers including Lisa Moore, Alice Munro, and Michael Winter. Born in Carlisle, England, and educated at the University of Bristol, he emigrated to Canada in 1962. In addition to his own writings (novels, stories and essays), he currently holds the unsalaried post of Senior Editor at the Porcupine’s Quill of Erin, Ontario and is the editor of Canadian Notes and Queries. He resides in Ottawa, Ontario with his wife, Myrna.

We talk here about the role of the editor, game playing, the placement of words and punctuation, manipulating emotions, unclogging channels between writers and readers, diplomacy, nouns, hammers, electric current, anti-Americanism, ignorant Canadian nationalists and inferiority complexes.

Copyright © 2006 by Nigel Beale

Direct download: John_Metcalf_Editor_Ottawa_Aug_06.mp3
Category:Editors -- posted at: 5:16pm EDT

Amanda Earl writes erotic fiction in Ottawa, Canada, as much for her own pleasure as anything else. Her stories have consistently been selected for publication in Carroll and Graf’s annual Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica. Amanda publishes and writes poetry, is managing editor of the Bywords Quarterly Journal, and hosts Bywords.ca, a website invaluable to Ottawanians interested in local literary events.

We talk here about the definitions of erotica and pornography (a common joke: “Erotica is when you use a feather. Pornography is when you use the whole chicken.�?), red wine versus white, connecting with and arousing readers, giving pleasure, the act, golden showers, being bad, the Erotica Readers and Writers Association, S&M, compelling characters and work as prostitution.

 

Direct download: Amanda_Earl_Erotica_Ottawa_Sept_2006.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 1:36am EDT