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

Sally Cooper’s second novel, Tell Everything,delves into the darkest regions of the human soul, and lends credence to Kipling’s line: "The female of the species is deadlier than the male."

During our conversation about Tell Everything we discuss topics including: the media and murder, Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo,

body parts in ponds,  Rapunsil and crime plays, three way sex, the blurred, complicated lines of consent, the fear of self revelation, and love, self protection, shame and acceptance, boxes and cameras, novel writing as catharsis, iguanas in snow drifts, crime scene photographs, facing moral issues, true crime magazines, Michael Redhill’s short story The Victim, and women being every bit as predatory as men.

Sally Cooper grew up in Inglewood, Ontario, population 400. She has an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Guelph, and has published in such places as Shift, Blood & Aphorisms, Carousel, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and eye weekly. Her first novel, Love Object, came out in 2002 to critical acclaim. She currently teaches creative writing at Humber College and lives and writes in Hamilton, Ontario.

Listen here:

Direct download: Sally_Cooper.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 5:44pm EDT

Direct download: Gloss_Brattle_Books.mp3
Category:Booksellers -- posted at: 12:17pm EDT

Novelist, screenwriter and essayist Larry McMurtry is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1985 novel Lonesome Dove, a sweeping historical epic that follows ex-Texas Rangers as they drive cattle from the Rio Grande to Montana.

He grew up on a ranch outside of Archer City, Texas, which is the model for his fictional town of Thalia. A book collector, McMurtry purchased a rare book store in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood in 1970 and named it Booked Up. In 1988he opened a second Booked Up in Archer City, establishing the town as a "Book City." This store is arguably the largest single used bookstore in the United States, carrying somewhere between 400,000 and 450,000 titles.

McMurtry is well-known for the film adaptations of his work, especially Hud (from the novel Horseman, Pass By), The Last Picture Show; James L. Brooks’s Terms of Endearment, and Lonesome Dove, which became an enormously popular television mini-series. In 2006, he was co-winner (with Diana Ossana) of both the Best Screenplay Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain.

I interviewed him as part of a project I’m doing for the Canadian Booksellers Association. We talk about his latest book Untitled Fiction, his life as a book rancher, having the right books, junk, the fun of the hunt, book scouting, catalogues, bookstores and cultural vitality, keeping stock fresh, burning out on fiction and movies, the declining number of used book stores, and optimism for the future. For more interviews and book reviews

Direct download: Larry_McMurtry.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 11:20pm EDT

Haslam’s Books, now Florida’s largest new & used book store, was established in St. Petersburg in 1933 by two avid readers, John and Mary Haslam. After World War II they were joined by the second generation, Charles and Elizabeth. The business began to expand. In response to customers’ requests, new technical books were added, then Bibles and religious books and finally a complete line of trade books and a large section for children. The business has moved four times to accommodate growth. Today the store covers 30,000 square feet and contains some 300,000 books.

To promote books and reading, Charles had a television program on WEDU, the local PBS station, called "The Wonderful World of Books," and reviewed books on WSUN radio. He also appeared as a regular guest on WTOG-TV. Elizabeth operated book fairs at local schools for 25 years and now conducts "field trips" of ‘Florida’s largest book store’ for elementary classes. Both have been active in the American Bookseller’s Association (Charles was president from 1978 - 1980). They have taught in Bookseller Schools and written chapters in "The Manual of Bookselling." Both are published authors.

In 1973, the third generation came into the business: daughter Suzanne (who also authored a chapter in the "Manual on Bookselling") and husband Ray Hinst a history, classics & military expert. Ray and I talk here about book re-printers, early Baedekers, not collecting your own inventory, the explosion in self publishing and authors who want bookstores to carry their works and provide signing events, collecting what you like, and the error of passing up on buying opportunities.
Direct download: Ray_Hinst_Haslams.mp3
Category:Bookseller Interview -- posted at: 10:42pm EDT

Ian Brookes is Editor-in-Chief of The Chambers Dictionary which was first published in 1901 and most recently updated in 2006. We talk here about lexicographers, Samuel Johnson, Scotland, the speed of language change getting quicker, Chambers’ unique focus on old, Scottish, literary, historical words with humorous, sardonic definitions, such as  mallemaroking and pock pudding, use of the dictionary by crossword puzzle and word game enthusiasts, Wikipedia’s Hawaiian roots, the charm of browsing, the influence of rap, urban slang, multiculturalism, and instant messaging, cookery terms and the pain of being a teacher. 

Direct download: Ian_Brookes_Chambers_Dictionary.mp3
Category:Editors -- posted at: 6:26pm EDT

Kathryn Court joined Penguin Books in 1977 and became Editorial Director two years later. In l984 she was named Editor in Chief of Viking Penguin and in 1992 Senior Vice-President, Publisher, and Editor in Chief of Penguin Books. She was named President of Penguin Books in August 2000. Authors she has worked with include: Reinaldo Arenas, Andrea Camilleri, J.M. Coetzee, Slavenka Drakulic, Mary Relinda Ellis, Robert Fagles, Josephine Humphreys, Garrison Keillor, Nora Okja Keller, Donna Leon, Mary McGarry Morris, John Mortimer, Richard Rodriguez, C.J. Samsom, Jim Trelease, and William Trevor.

We met last summer at BookExpo in New York, and talk here about: the role of publisher, artist Chris Ware’s funky Candide cover, new ways of selling things you already own, showing the young that reading can be fun, finding new authors and having faith in them, Andrea Camilleri and the benefit of buying series, hard cover versus soft cover sales, 4000 title backlists that finance front lists, J.M. Coetzee’s greatness, sales and distain for interviewers, the need for confidence in young editors in order to convince others that their picks are as good as they say they are, advertising in book review sections and how it doesn’t work, how emotional novels and those with voices women can identify with sell best, the three million copy selling The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, the sales power of word of mouth, and the joyful intensity of working as part of an editorial team…as a happy few against the world.
Direct download: Kathryn_Court_PresidentPenguin_Books.mp3
Category:Book Publishers -- posted at: 9:11pm EDT

Patrick McGahern has been selling books in Ottawa, Canada since 1969. His store specializes in used and rare books: Canadiana, Americana, Arctic, Antarctic, Travel, Natural History & Voyages, Illustrated & Plate Books, Irish and Scottish History and Literature. More than 30,000 titles are stocked at the Glebe store. Thousands of rare, scarce and interesting books are offered through their Catalogues which are published six times a year. Almost 10,000 titles are featured in their online database through ILAB (International League of Antiquarian booksellers).

I talked with Patrick recently in his store about the book trade: how it was, how it is, how it will be. About idiosyncrasies, obsessions, buses and booksellers playing psychiatrist and priest; about ILAB and AbeBooks, and finally, about simply doing the work.

(For more of Nigel Beale's Musings on the Book, Literature, Poetry, Literary Criticism, Collecting, Media, Life and the Arts...please visit

Direct download: Patrick_McGahern.mp3
Category:Bookseller Interview -- posted at: 9:07pm EDT