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

Photo by NB

Biographer, critic, broadcaster and novelist Victoria Glendinning was born in Sheffield, and educated at Somerville College, Oxford, where she read Modern Languages. She worked as a teacher and social worker before becoming an editorial assistant for the Times Literary Supplement in 1974.

President of English PEN, she was awarded a CBE in 1998. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Southampton, Ulster, Dublin and York. Her biographies include Elizabeth Bowen: Portrait of a Writer, 1977; Edith Sitwell: A Unicorn Among Lions (1981), which won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for biography) and the Duff Cooper Prize; and Rebecca West: A Life (1987), and Vita: The Life of V. Sackville-West (1983) and Trollope (1992) both of which won the Whitbread Biography Award.

We talk here ostensibly about her latest book,  Love’s Civil War: Elizabeth Bowen and Charles Ritchie: Letters and Diaries 1941- 1973 but in fact, mostly about the nature of biography,the difference between editing letters and writing lives, fabricating dialogue, compiling data, selecting facts; the importance of place, material and familial limitations, life over art, Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville West, Sissinghurst, and text versus context.

Copyright © 2008 by Nigel Beale.

Please listen to the Biblio File interview here:

Direct download: Victoria_Glendinning.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

Now Photo By Steve Payne

"Tanja Jacobs is a well known actress, director, teacher and coach. She has worked in the professional theatre since 1981, and performed at most major theatres in Canada. She has been nominated for ten Dora Mavor Moore Awards and has won twice.  As a director, her credits include 1002 Nights, Johann’s Cabinet of Wonders, Goddess, and Mid-Life Crisis . On television, besides her role as federal employee SM3 Sexsmith on Power Play, Jacobs guest starred on many Canadian shows including Ready or Not and Street Legal. Film credits include "Trial by Jury" and "Loser"." She recently finished a run at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa as Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days directed by Leah Cherniak.

Happy Days, written in 1961, observes determined human optimism in the face of a universe without meaning. Winnie, Beckett’s "hopeful futilitarian" is buried up to her waist in the earth, woken and summoned to bed each day by the same disembodied bell. Throughout the days, she performs a series of carefully observed rituals all related to the contents of a worn, old black purse. She combs her hair, applies lipstick, painstakingly examines a toothbrush, toys with a nail file, a tube of toothpaste and a revolver, all the while chattering at her inattentive companion, Willie. Hopeless yet hopeful; bleak yet funny, Happy Days is Beckett’s "testament to the resourcefulness of the human spirit"

Tanja and I talk here about playing Winnie, the difficulty of working at cliff’s edge without a narrative, talking, doing nothing and the need for communication and attention, loneliness, mid-life marriages, revolvers, supportive fellow actors, the quality of attachment and mirroring, the imperative to carry on, suffering and the avoidance of and surrendering to pain in front of an audience, revisiting moments of terror and fright and aloneness and the agony of doing this as someone who has been abandoned, the unbearable parts of being human, and how the use of simple descriptives can generate profound distilled moments, poems of events.

To start off with I quote V.S. Pritchett on Beckett. Read the quote here.

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


Direct download: Tanja_Jacobs.mp3
Category:Actor -- posted at: 2:42pm EDT

Born, raised and currently resident in Ottawa, Canada, Christian McPherson’s poetry has appeared in a variety of print and online journals. He has won the John Spenser Hill Award and the Ottawa Public Library Short story Award. We met recently to discuss his first published collection called Poems that Swim from my Brain like Rats leaving a Sinking Ship. Please listen here as we talk, among other things, about death, the misery of TV news, and a light hearted approach to life:

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


Direct download: christian_macpherson.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 2:39pm EDT

Ross Raisin is a young British author born in Keighley, Yorkshire. He has studied at the University of London, worked as a trainee wine bar manager and completed a  postgraduate degree in creative writing at Goldsmith's College. His debut novel Out Backward (God's Own Country in England) was published in 2008, and shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. It features Sam Marsdyke, a disturbed adolescent living in a harsh rural environment, and tracks his journey from an oddity to a malevolent, insane, psychopath.

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


Direct download: Ross_Raisin.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 4:21pm EDT

Nadeem Aslam was born in Pakistan in 1966, moved to the UK as a teenager and now lives in London. He studied Biochemistry at the University of Manchester, but left to become a writer. His first novel, Season of the Rainbirds (1993) won a Betty Trask Award and the Authors’ Club First Novel Award, and was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Whitbread First Novel Award. His second novel, Maps for Lost Lovers (2004), which took 11 years to write, won the 2005 Encore Award and the 2005 Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. 

We met in Toronto recently at the IFOA, to talk about his latest novel The Wasted Vigil, about technique, self knowledge, writing 100 page biographies of his characters, the universal from the particular, Afghanistan, war, politics, love, the ignorance of history,  Flaubert, Proust, isolation, engagement and Yorkshire.

Copyright © 2008 by Nigel Beale.

Listen to the Biblio File interview with Nigel Beale here:

Direct download: Nedeem_Aslam.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 3:33pm EDT