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

This is part three of a series of interviews conducted with three acclaimed short storywriters: Rebecca Rosenblum, Nam Le, and Anne Enright. In each case we riff off those qualities which Flannery O’Connor thought best constituted a good short story. I’ve listed some of them here.

 Anne Enright was born in Dublin in 1962, studied English and Philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin, and went on to study for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She is a former RTE television producer. Her short story collection, The Portable Virgin was published in 1991, and won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Two collections of stories, Taking Pictures and Yesterday’s Weather were published in 2008. Her novels are The Wig My Father Wore (1995); What Are You Like? winner of the 2001 Encore Award ; The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch (2002); and The Gathering (2007) which won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

We met at the IFOA in Toronto recently to talk about the short story, and, in so doing , about Beckett’s Happy Days, housewives with problems,  ideology, awakenings, characters’ voices, self deception, just doing it, James Joyce and women writers.

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Direct download: Anne_Enright.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 1:01am EDT

Joe Dunthorne is a graduate of the Creative Writing Masters at UEA, where he was awarded the Curtis Brown Prize. His poetry has been published in Reactions 5, Magma, Smiths Knoll and Tears in the Fence. His work has been featured on Channel 4, BBC Radio 3, 4 and in The Guardian and Vice magazine. We met recently at the IFOA in Toronto to discuss his debut novel, Submarine, why the behavior of teenage boys is often seen as abominable, the importance of getting laid, ambiguous characters, depression, the brilliance of novelist W.G. Sebald, East Anglia University, how humour works, and dustjackets which both attract attention and complement content.

Direct download: joe_Dunthorne.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 11:29am EDT


Bruno Racine was appointed President of the National Library of France on April 2 2007. Over the years he has held many senior postions within the French government including: Director General Cultural Affairs for the City of Paris (1988-1993), Director of l’Académie de France à Rome (1997-2002), and Chairman du Centre Pompidou (2002-2007). He is also a writer. Non-fiction books include his best selling: Art of living in Rome and Art of living in Tuscany. His novel the Governor of Morée (Grasset) won France’s First Novel Prize in 1982.

We talk here about the role of a national library, about scanning and digitization, Google, the Lyon library (France’s second largest), Europeana, the value added offered by Librarians, Canada’s amalgamation of its National Archives and Library, the unlikelihood that France will follow suit, public servant novelists, Stendhal, and failure and success in careers and love.

Direct download: Bruno_Racine_National_Library_of_France.mp3
Category:Librarian Interview -- posted at: 11:44am EDT

AMITAV GHOSH is one of India’s best-known writers. His books include The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, The Glass Palace, Incendiary Circumstances and The Hungry Tide. Born in Calcutta in 1956 Ghosh studied in Dehra Dun, New Delhi, Alexandria and Oxford. His first job was at the Indian Express newspaper in New Delhi. He earned a doctorate at Oxford before he wrote his first novel, which was published in 1986. He is married to the writer, Deborah Baker, and has two children, Lila and Nayan. He divides his time between Kolkata, Goa and Brooklyn.

We met recently at the IFOA in Toronto to talk about his most recent novel, Sea of Poppies, the first volume in a planned trilogy. Among other things we discuss how novels tell the stories of silenced, unheard voices, sailing, Mauritius, multi-racial crews, opium, the Caste system and the pleasures of research.

The Biblio File Copyright Nigel Beale 2008 

Please listen here:

Direct download: Amitav_Ghosh1.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 2:44pm EDT

Junot Díaz was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and is the author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which won the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. He is the fiction editor at the Boston Review and the Rudge (1948) and Nancy Allen professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

We met recently at the IFOA in Toronto, and talked about, among other things storytelling as a way to give voice to lost life, unique characters, 9/11 and America’s dual response: Why don’t they like us? and We’re gonna bomb them into the stone age; gaps, how to inject humour and energy into a text, and the Dominican Republic as the egg from which the U.S. eagle sprang.

Direct download: Junot_Diaz.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 5:45pm EDT


Rivka Galchen was born in Toronto. She grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, where her father, Tzvi Gal-Chen, was a professor of meterology at the University of Oklahoma. Her novel Atmospheric Disturbances features a character with the same name, Tzvi Gal-Chen, a professor of meterology and a fellow of the (fictional) Royal Academy of Meterology.

Galchen attended Princeton University, where she was an English major, and applied in her sophomore year to an early-admissions program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She received her M.D. from Mount Sinai in 2003, with a focus in psychiatry. After completing medical school, she completed an MFA at Columbia University. Farcically, Atmospheric Disturbances was nominated for Canada’s Governor General’s Award for fiction (she left the country when she was four years old). No way she was going to win; still, on the flip side, provides nice exposure for both prize and author.

We talk here among other things about denial, death, fathers, unreliable narrators, James Wood, Walter Benjamin, science, consensus knowledge, and being stoned.

Please listen here:

Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 8:34am EDT

Nam Le has won this year’s £60,000 Dylan Thomas Prize. It recognizes the best young writer in the English-speaking world with the goal of ensuring that the inspirational nature of Dylan’s writing lives on.

I met with Nam in Toronto recently at the IFOA. This is part two of a series of interviews conducted with three acclaimed short storywriters: Rebecca Rosenblum, Nam Le, and Anne Enright. In each case we riff off those qualities which Flannery O’Connor thought best constituted a good short story. I’ve listed some of them here.

Nam Le is author of The Boat, a collection of ’stories that take us from the slums of Colombia to the streets of Tehran; from New York City to Iowa City; from a fishing village in Australia to a floundering vessel in the South China Sea, in a masterful display of literary virtuosity and feeling.’

We talk, among other things, about never condescending to the reader, the prose having to be smarter than its author: tapping into things seen, but a just beyond their ken; gaps and allowing the reader to put their experiences into them; getting into the consciousness of characters; relinquishing ego; the difficulty of writing short stories — and the greatness of those who can do it well; spring-boarding detail and gearing it for expansion; and affecting paradoxical senses of recognition, wonder and redemption.

Copyright © 2008 by Nigel Beale.

Please listen here:

Direct download: Nam_Le.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 7:34pm EDT

Joseph Boyden has just won  The 2008 Giller Prize  for his novel Through Black Spruce.  We talk here about the novel, and the psychic distance Joseph requires to write novels about Northern Ontario and the Cree; the similarities between North and South, James Bay and New Orleans; snowmobiling over vast amounts of snow-covered bush, isolation in the wilderness; bridges between communities, oral culture, First Nation humour, respect for myths and legends, and soapboxes. Please excuse the abrupt ending!

For more interviews and book reviews Copyright © 2008 by Nigel Beale.

Direct download: Joseph_Boyden1.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 11:00pm EDT

Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library, founded in 1946, is a not-for-profit organization for people interested in books and libraries. Its purpose is to stimulate public interest in the library, purchase library materials, and support other cultural and educational programs in Tompkins County. Each year since inception the Friends have held a book sale in Ithaca New York.

It now ranks among the ten largest (250,000 to 300,000 books, CDs, records, etc. per year) in the United States.

Beryl Barr

is the currently in charge of the Book Sale. I talked with her recently, and asked her to give listeners her top ten hints on how best to run a used book sale.

Here’s our conversation:

Copyright © 2008 by Nigel Beale.

Direct download: Beryl_Barr_Ithaca_Book_Sale.mp3
Category:Bookseller Interview -- posted at: 5:08pm EDT

Listen to my interview with Aleksandar Hemon on his National Book Award nominated novel The Lazarus Project here at The Quarterly Conversation.

Direct download: Aleksandar_Hemon.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 3:44pm EDT