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

Harlan Coben’s latest novel HOLD TIGHT debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list — and simultaneously debuted at #1 in the London Times.

Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – international bestselling author Harlan Coben’s critically-acclaimed novels have been called "ingenious" (New York Times), "poignant and insightful" (Los Angeles Times), "consistently entertaining" (Houston Chronicle), "superb" (Chicago Tribune) and "must reading" (Philadelphia Inquirer). His most recent novels, THE WOODS, PROMISE ME, THE INNOCENT, JUST ONE LOOK, NO SECOND CHANCE, TELL NO ONE and GONE FOR GOOD have appeared on the top of all the major bestseller lists including the New York Times, London Times, Le Monde, Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY — and many others throughout the world. His books are published in thirty-seven languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in in nearly a dozen countries.

Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. After graduating from Amherst College a political science major, Harlan worked in the travel industry. He now lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.


I try to mix it up by warning that popularity should not be confused with greatness. Harlan brushes me off by following the good Dr.’s line of argument: "The purpose of a writer is to be read, and the criticism which would destroy the power of pleasing must be blown aside. [Samuel Johnson: Pope (Lives of the Poets)].

We look at the author as brand, the feigned disinterest many authors hold for the business side of publishing books, Harlan’s New York Times Op-Ed pieces, his preference for the missing over the dead, suburban desperation, and 2.5 million books sold worldwide each year.  

Please listen here: 

Direct download: Harlan_Coben.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 1:51pm EDT

Jaap Blonk is a self-taught composer, vocal performer and sound poet.

As a vocalist, Blonk has performed around the globe exciting audiences with his powerful stage presence and childlike improvisation. Live electronics have over the years extended the scope and range of his concerts. Besides working as a soloist, he has collaborated with many musicians and ensembles, including Maja Ratkje, Mats Gustafsson, Nicolas Collins, Joan La Barbara, The Ex, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble and the Ebony Band. He was the founder and leader of the long-standing bands Splinks (modern jazz, 1983-1999) and BRAAXTAAL (avant-rock, 1987-2005).

We talk here about the noises humans make that aren’t words, how important they are in communication, and the way sound poetry utilizes them; about meaning found in intonation and getting booed, the pleasure of inventing structures, Dadaism and the breaking of rules, Johnny Van Doorn and A Bridge too Far, the international phonetic alphabet, pitch, timber and the best English language sound poets. Listen, and brace yourself for the recital of a sonnet Jaap wrote in honour of Van Doorn.


Please listen here:

Direct download: Japp_Blonk.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 3:04pm EDT

Lindsey Davis was born and raised in Birmingham, read English at Oxford, then joined the civil service, which she left in 1985.She started writing about Romans in The Course of Honour, the remarkable true love story of the Emperor Vespasian and his mistress Antonia Caenis. Her research into First Century Rome inspired The Silver Pigs, the first outing for Falco and Helena, which was published in 1989. Starting as a spoof using a Roman ‘informer’ as a classic, metropolitan private eye, the series has developed into a set of adventures in various styles which take place throughout the Roman world. The Silver Pigs won the Authors’ Club Best First Novel award in 1989; she has since won the Crimewriters’ Association Dagger in the Library and Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, while Falco has won the Sherlock Award for Best Comic Detective. She has been Chair of the UK Crimewriters’ Association and Honorary President of the Classical Association. Her Official Website is

We met recently at the Blue Met International Literary Festival in Montreal, and talked, among other things, about the historical mystery genre, Ellis Peters, Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, foreshadowing, the treatment of women, killing characters off, good men, favourite plots and authors, and lessons that can be learned from the Romans,

Please listen here:

Direct download: Lindsey_Davis.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 9:07pm EDT

Rawi Hage was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and lived through nine years of that country’s civil war. He immigrated to Canada in 1992. He is a writer, a visual artist, and a curator whose debut novel, De Niro’s Game (2006), was shortlisted for the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2006 Governor General’s Award for English fiction. It has just won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. House of Anansi Press will publish Rawi’s eagerly anticipated second novel, Cockroach, in fall 2008. He lives in Montreal where I caught up with him at the Blue Met International Literary Festival.

We talk about living in war conditions, New York, Deer Hunter and Russian roulette, art as memory, the absurdity of war, the dangers of organized religion, fundamentalism, politics and the writer, canoing and moose, women’s clothing, Arabic poetry and the influence of fathers.

Please listen here:

Direct download: Rawi_Hage.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 7:58pm EDT

Photo of Ed and Edgar from here.

Edward Pettit is a freelance book reviewer and writes the Bibliothecary blog.  He also  pursues graduate studies in literature at bucolic Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and teaches writing at La Salle University in Philadelphia. After having spent the first twenty-seven years of his life in the same Philadelphia neighborhood (Olney), he now resides just outside the "Athens of America" in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania with his lovely wife, five daughters and lottsa books. Oh, and one other thing, he's a fanatical fan ...if this isn't redundant...of Edgar Alan Poe...and hosts a blog dedicated to all things Edgar at Ed and Edgar.

He is busy writing a book about Poe's years in Philadelphia, due out in 2009, the bicentenary of the author's birth.

We met recently at the Philadelphia Book Festival. In this interview Ed treats us to a thumbnail biography of Poe,  his childhood, where he lived, studied and worked, what he wrote, which relative he married, which street corner he collapsed on, who championed him and who wrote the best books about him.

Please listen here to this intriguing life story:

Direct download: Ed_Pettit_Edgar_Allan_Poe.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 3:50pm EDT


Derick Dreher has been the Director of the Rosenbach since 1998. He has an M.A. in the History of Art from Yale University,and is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton. A Fulbright scholar, he was awarded a Kress International Research Fellowship, for research in Germany. A specialist in graphic arts of the Renaissance, he has published on a variety of subjects, including prints and drawings ranging from Dürer to Daumier, and has spoken internationally on drawings, rare books, libraries and the art of memory.

We met recently at the Museum on a rainy Philadelphia morning to talk about the life, loves and business practices of celebrated bookseller and collector 'Doctor'  Abraham Simon Wolf Rosenbach, who got his PhD. in 1901, and subsequently went into business with his older ambitious Anglophilic brother Philip who sold fine and decorative arts. The Doctor was bent on selling books and manuscripts. We examine his ability to turn  customers  into collectors, to build libraries, to serve as an advisor not a dealer; his first great customer, street car magnate Harry Widener, who went down with the Titanic; what $100,000 bought in 1912, the Doctor's relationship with the Huntingtons and Folgers, his brilliant, ruthless book buying and selling practices, his skill at manipulating prices and the media,  the manuscript of Alice in Wonderland, making private collections public, the Museum's 333,000 odd documents, the manuscript of James Joyce's Ulysses, bought at auction for the reserve price,  Stoker's notes for Dracula, Conrad's manuscripts, tours as appetizers,  the correspondence and physical library of Marianne Moore, and Maurice Sendak as a bridge to the museum's entire collection.  

Please listen here:

Direct download: Derick_Dreher_Rosenbach_Museum.mp3
Category:Librarian Interview -- posted at: 9:10pm EDT

Donald Antrim is the author of three novels and a memoir entitled, The Afterlife, which is about the strained relationship he had with his mother, Louanne, an artist, teacher and alcoholic. In addition to receiving some of America’s most prestigious fellowships, he is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, a magazine that includes him amongst their "twenty writers for the new century."

We met at the Blue Met International Literary Festival in Montreal, and talk here about his mother’s death, Camus, writing on the edge, suffering and distraction, luxury beds, Donald Barthelme, anger, sarcasm, loss of humour, collecting books, and the appeal of first editions. Donald also treats us to a reading from The Afterlife, and as part of this, the dedication in Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia.

Copyright © 2008 by Nigel Beale.

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

Please listen here:

Direct download: Donald_Antrim_2.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 3:41am EDT

Frank Wilson has been reviewing books professionally since October, 1964. For most of the past decade he was Books Editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, given to retaining committed bloggers (e.g. Mark Sarvas, Scott Esposito, Ed Champion)  to review books. He retired recently. About five years ago he started blogging at Books Inq. It is one of the most successful blogs in the literary blogosphere. 

I interviewed Frank at his home in Philadelphia recently. We talk about how he established his blog, about the potential and influence of this medium, about the benefits of interactivity and connection and roundtables; Maxine Clarke’s crime fiction reviews; the provision of filtering services, shared links and interests; kindred spirits; embedding poetry and essays, and loneliness; about the strange side effects of reading and how passive entertainment becomes unwatchable, how most traditional media eschew feedback; what he looks for in book reviewers; Tchaikovsky’s unknown correspondent; the book’s connection to life;  the nature of discourse; Instapundit and ‘instalanches;’ and those blogs he goes to every morning.

Please listen here:

Direct download: Frank_Wilson.mp3
Category:Literary Blogger -- posted at: 9:57am EDT