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


Meir Shalev, (pictured above with his sister) one of Israel’s most celebrated novelists,was born in 1948 in Nahalal, Israel’s first moshav. He is a bestselling author in Israel, Holland, and Germany; and he has been translated into more than twenty languages. His novels include A Pigeon and a Boy, Fontanelle, Alone In the Desert, But A Few Days, and Esau. Russian Romance (The Blue Mountain) is one of the top five bestsellers in Israeli publishing history. Shalev is often compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Prizes he has won include the Juliet Club Prize (Italy); The Chiavari (Italy); and The Brenner Prize of 2006—the highest Israeli literary recognition awarded for his novel, A Pigeon and a Boy, published in the US by Random House in 2007.

I met Meir at The Blue Met Writers Festival in Montreal recently. We talk here about, among other things, television, satire, The Daily Show, great sentences, labels, Gogol, gardening and farming.

Please listen here:

Direct download: Meir_Shalev.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 4:07pm EDT


Clarke’s Bookshop, the most famous in Cape Town, specializes in selling southern African books to universities and libraries that teach and have an interest in same. Established in 1956 by Anthony Clarke, the Long Street shop today remains much the same as it was 50 plus years ago:  filled with book-lined, wooden-floored rooms spread over two levels containing an eclectic mix of new and used, rare, out-of-print, academic and popular books sold to customers local and institutions foreign. Catalogues filled with books from among other countries Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and South Africa itself, go out to the likes of Yale University, the Smithsonian Institute and the African Studies Centre in Holland, twice a year.

I spoke recently with owner Henrietta Dax who for more than thirty years has ventured forth annually to Mozambique,  the US, the UK, and other more exotic locales buying, selling, bartering and stockpiling  books she thinks will appeal to her customers. Please listen here:

Direct download: Henrietta_Dax.mp3
Category:Bookseller Interview -- posted at: 10:49am EDT


Crime novelist,  film director, children’s author and award winning journalist, Margie Orford was born in London and grew up in Namibia and South Africa. She has studied under J M. Coetzee, and worked in publishing with the African Publishers Network. In 1999 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and while in New York she worked on a groundbreaking archival retrieval project, WOMEN WRITING AFRICA: The Southern Volume.  She lives in Cape Town, where we met recently to discuss another of her many projects: Fifteen Men, a collection of writing by South African prisoners, all of whom are serving very long sentences, with whom Margie spent a year leading a creative writing course. This book is the result. We talk here about her experience.

Direct download: Margie_Orford.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 11:15pm EDT

In a recent conversation I had with him, Canadian critic, editor and short story writer John Metcalf hauls off on both the Giller Prize and two time winner M.G. Vassanji;  the former for boosterism and an inability to distinguish between good and bad literature ( for placing two-time winner Alice Munro in the same category as Vassanji), and the latter for being a person who, ‘there’s no question,’ can’t " handle the English language".

I met with Vassanji recently in Montreal at the Blue Met Writers Festival ostensibly to talk about  his new Penguin biography of Mordecai Richler (please stay tuned for the audio); but before commencing I asked him to respond to Metcalf’s attacks. Here’s what he had to say:

Copyright © 2009 by Nigel Beale
Direct download: M.G_Vassanji_Criticism.mp3
Category:Literary Critics -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT

Open Letter is the University of Rochester’s literary publishing house. ‘ It is dedicated to connecting readers with great international authors and their works. Publishing twelve books a year and running an online literary website called Three Percent, Open Letter is one of only a handful of U.S. organizations with a commitment to cultivating an appreciation for international literature.’

‘Chad W. Post is the director of Open Letter, a press dedicated to publishing literature in translation. He also runs Three Percent, an online blog and review site focused on international literature. Prior to starting Open Letter, he was the associate director at Dalkey Archive Press. In addition, he co-founded Reading the World, a unique collaboration between publishers and independent bookstores to promote world literature.’ We talk here among other things about the dominance of great non-English speaking novelists, Roberto Bolaño, Julio Cortazar (Hopscotch is one of Post’s favourite novels), Jose Saramago and the phenomenon of one-foreign-author-at-a-time, reasons for the success of 2666, why American authors have the inside track, how economics works against translation, and the opportunities that exist in publishing foreign authors.

Please listen here: (Apologies for the rather abrupt ending).

Copyright © 2009 by Nigel Beale. www.nigelbeale.com

Direct download: chad_post.mp3
Category:Book Publishers -- posted at: 12:07am EDT

Credit: book.co.za

Damon Galgut is a writer based in Cape Town.  He wrote his first novel, A Sinless Season (1984), when he was seventeen. Small Circle of Beings (1988), a collection of short stories, was followed by The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs (1991), the story of a young white man on military service who suffers a nervous breakdown. The Quarry (1995), was made into a film by a Belgian production company. The Good Doctor (2003), is set in post-Apartheid South Africa, and explores the relationship between two different men working in a deserted, rural hospital. It won the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region) and was shortlisted for both the 2003 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the 2005 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.  His latest novel is The Impostor (2008).

We talk here about national and personal trauma, corruption and realpolitik, the shadow of J.M. Coetzee, South African literature as boundaried by massive inequalities, childhood cancer, ambiguity, the new class system, real world maturity and the need for compromise.

Please listen here:

Copyright © 2009 by Nigel Beale. www.nigelbeale.com

Direct download: Damon_Galgut.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 12:38am EDT

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