📻When I lived in England, one of my biggest treats was going to London once a month to be part of a studio audience for the BBC World Book Club:the longest, on-air book program in which authors from around the world are interviewed by Harriet Gilbert (who has one of the most beautiful voices around). Over the years I’ve read some extraordinary books and have had the privilege of meeting and asking questions of writers like Judith Kerr, Jumpa Lahiri, Elizabeth Gilbert, P.D. James, Javier Marias and Marilynne Robinson.
Because the program is international there are also phone-in questions from around the world. I loved hearing voices from far flung places, from fellow readers who were getting up at strange times to be with us in our small studio in Broadcasting House. And now, I’m one of those people!
I miss walking through the streets of London and sitting in that studio with Harriet and her producer, Karen Holden and those wonderful writers, but it feels good to know that I haven’t lost them altogether.
So, last month, once I dropped the girls off at school, I phoned in a question – it was 8am here and 1pm in the UK. The book was Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, a beautiful and moving account of one woman’s life, lived over and over again in different ways, around the time of the second world war. Do listen to the podcast and look up their archive too, there are hundreds of amazing episodes with writers you’re bound to know and love.