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

Writer, comedian A. L. Kennedy lives and works in Glasgow and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2003 she was nominated by Granta magazine as one of 20 'Best of Young British Novelists'. Her novel Day (2007), won the Costa Book of the Year Award. She reviews and contributes to most of the major British newspapers, and has been a judge for both the Booker Prize for Fiction (1996) and The Guardian First Book Award (2001).


Her first book, Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains (1990), a bleak collection of short stories, won several awards including the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award. Other short story collections include Now That You're Back (1994) and Original Bliss (1997), and her novels include: Looking for the Possible Dance (1993); So I Am Glad (1995), winner of the Encore Award, which focuses on child sexual abuse and its consequences in adulthood; and Everything You Need (1999), the story of a middle-aged writer living on a remote island and his attempt to build a relationship with his estranged daughter. We met recently at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto to talk about humour, the buzz of post-Suicide attempts, living as if you are going to die, self esteem, making other worlds, changing reality, fictional rehearsals, Buster Keaton hats, the physicality of great comic actors, storytelling and investing in lies, Lolita, Nicola Six, Shakespeare, Hamlet, Yann Kott, Benny Hill, Blazing Saddles, freedom and child molestation. 

Please listen here:

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 Copyright © 2010 by Nigel Beale.
Direct download: A.L._Kennedy_1.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 9:12pm EDT

A small college cannot hope to have a large library, but if it sets to work along the right lines it may aspire to the possession of a fine one… A book may be a thing of beauty, and an example of a great craft which we must not allow to die. The means of craft and the aspiration toward beauty live on in our College library.

— Robertson Davies, the Founding Master

Since its inception in 1963, the Library at Massey College has developed special collections in the History of the Book as well as supporting a working nineteenth-century hand printing shop.

The holdings of books and manuscripts include material on the history of printing,

from here.

papermaking, bookbinding, palaeography, calligraphy, type design, book collecting, and bibliography. The examples of book production range from the fifteenth century to the present, with a particular strength in nineteenth century colour printing and publishers' bookbindings represented in the Ruari McLean Collection. The collections also include the papers of Canadian graphic designer Carl Dair. In 1981, the Library was named for the Founding Master of the College, Robertson Davies, and contains editions and translations of his writings.

Marie Korey is Librarian at The Robertson Davies Library, and a scholar of the history of the book. We met recently to talk about collecting books in this field. I assumed the role of a rich (difficult) book collector (easy) with a passion for books about books (very easy) who had retained Marie with the goal of acquiring the best of the best possible books and materials related to the development of the book. Please listen here:

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p.s. Here is a list of some of the 'essential' books mentioned by Marie:

Bury, Richard de (1287-1345) Bishop of Durham, wrote “Philibiblon” which survives in many manuscript copies as well as printed editions.
“Dialogue” on Calligraphy and Printing in the sixteenth century, attributed to Christopher Plantin; this contains one of the earliest descriptions of typefounding. There was a facsimile done, with an English translation by Ray Nash published in 1964 under the title: Calligraphy & Printing in the sixteenthe century. Dialogue attributed to Christopher Plantin. 
Moxon, Joseph (1627-91), hydrographer, instrument maker, author and printer. He began publishing his “Mechanick Exercises” in monthly parts in 1677; the second volume, issued in 1683-84, was devoted to printing and type-founding. It is the first comprehensive manual on the subject in any language.
Bosse, Abraham. Traicté des manieres de graver en taille douce. Paris, 1645. Early manual on copperplate engraving.
Senefelder, Alois. A complete course of lithography. London: Printed for R. Ackerman, 1819.
Direct download: Marie_Korey_History_of_the_Book1.mp3
Category:Librarian Interview -- posted at: 10:52am EDT

Photo: Nigel Beale.

" Robert Fulford is a Toronto author, journalist, broadcaster, and editor. He writes a weekly column for The National Post and is a frequent contributor to Toronto Life, Canadian Art, and CBC radio and television. His books include Best Seat in the House: Memoirs of a Lucky Man (1988), Accidental City: The Transformation of Toronto (1995), and Toronto Discovered (1998)." This is how the man describes himself on his website. I’d only add that I think he is the best of his kind.

I sat down with him recently at his home in Toronto to talk about his long, distinguished career as a Canadian critic/journalist, and about evaluative criticism and what matters most in a book. Here’s our conversation:

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Copyright © 2010 by Nigel Beale.

Direct download: Robert_Fulford_111307-170740.mp3
Category:Literary Critics -- posted at: 2:17pm EDT