“The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation.”
Mission: 1) To explore book culture at the turn of the 21st Century by interviewing 'best practitioners' in book publishing and its related trades, as well as those involved in book-related activities - exceptional people who have written, edited, created, published, promoted, sold, read, studied, collected and/or preserved books in one way or another.
2) To explore the histories of these trades and activities by interviewing experts about great past practitioners.
"The Biblio File is an extraordinary, eclectic audio archive of writers, publishers, booksellers, librarians, the whole international book trade. Nigel Beale has achieved this through doggedness, professionalism, decency and an ambition to capture the essence of the world’s literary community. It is a huge achievement and will only grow in significance and value as years pass. It completely overshadows all other such enterprises."
Richard Charkin, former Chief Executive of Macmillan Publishers Limited and Executive Director of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck. In 2015, he became President of the International Publishers Association
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I've drawn up an outline detailing most of the roles I'm interested in learning about. I use this outline to help me select prospective guests for the Biblio File podcast (see also right-hand side of this page). For past practitioners I seek out scholars/biographers, and where applicable, friends and/or relatives.
"I very much enjoyed our conversation. Your knowledge of the story of publishing, the current questions facing publishers, and specifically the long and recent history of Faber & Faber bears testament to your expertise, vocation and deep interest in the story of reading and writing seen particularly through an industry lens. If it's valuable now, which it is, in the future it will be an essential archive of our febrile times, and of publishing in the second half of the twentieth century. Keep doing it!"
Stephen Page, CEO, Faber & Faber.
Nigel Beale's literary podcast "The Biblio File" [is] much loved.
"I listened to your excellent interview with Sandra Campbell the other day, about her Lorne Pierce biography. As usual, I was captivated throughout — penetrating questions eliciting interesting answers; a great sense of both the foreground life in the biography, and the larger significance of that life. Your questions are always well-informed because you have read the book both sympathetically and critically. Your podcasts are an essential feature of the Canadian cultural landscape."
Best-selling Canadian author Charlotte Gray
"Nigel Beale is one of the sharpest readers and reviewers of our age. His profound knowledge of every aspect of the literary business is carried with grace and charm in podcasts that will delight all who read."
Author and political analyst David Frum
"It was a pleasure being interviewed by Nigel Beale some years ago. He showed a real appreciation of the business issues facing independent publishing and a bibliophile’s fascination with the books that result. In the last year, I have particularly enjoyed a series of interviews he conducted with leading members of the book trade in the UK, including Stephen Page, Richard Charkin, Will Atkinson and James Daunt. That last interview, in particular, I have been recommending to all my book trade friends."
Toby Faber is Chairman of Faber Music, and on the boards of Faber & Faber and Liverpool University Press.
“I have been interviewed by hundreds of journalists all over the world - my books are in 32 languages - and if I had to name one interview which touched virtually every nerve in my writing experience, I would say it belonged to Nigel Beale.
"These Biblio File podcasts are remarkable in the depth of understanding and detail they show us about aspects of books – from their inception until, actually, their deaths. A book may be born with the author, yes, but comes into its own life only with its publication, with its birth in a physical form. Nigel Beale is astonishingly knowledgeable across a wide range of disciplines and leads his subjects and his listeners on a journey – through time, through space, through the mind of creators.
Whenever I receive one of Nigel Beale’s exceptional podcasts, I have no idea where I will be lead. Yes, it will always be about books in some way, but how and where and with whom: that is the gift Nigel Beale presents. I am sometimes led into history, sometimes into form or content, sometimes into an author’s mind.
What a treasure it is to have this kind of artistic documentation!"
Canadian author and book designer Laurie Lewis
The Biblio File Back-Story by Nigel Beale
For about ten years I ran a monthly book club. There were only four or five of us in it, the perfect number if you ask me; enough of us to get a good selection of ideas on the table, not too many to cause separate conversations to break out. Then one of our key members left to teach in the English Department at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. It was a crippling loss.
We've since recovered, but at the time, I immediately missed his stimulating contribution. After a while I hit on an idea. I’d host a radio program on books. Matthew Crozier agreed to let me host a show on the Carleton University radio station in Ottawa, Canada. Only one hitch. The time slot. 6am Monday mornings.
I toughed it out for a year, then took the easy way out. The show would be a podcast, produced and aired whenever I felt like it.
From the moment I launched The Biblio File I knew I was doing the right thing. The void had been filled. I now live for this stuff: reading the books, recruiting, researching, connecting and conversing with the guests; editing the recordings; creating episodes that I hope reward the listener.
Producing this show enables me to indulge my passion for books, and to share what I discover. It allows me to interview amazing people connected with the book; to engage them in stimulating conversation.
And you know what Montaigne had to say about conversation:
In my opinion, the most fruitful and natural play of the mind is in conversation. I find it sweeter than any other action in life; and if I were forced to choose, I think I would rather lose my sight than my hearing and voice.
If you love books, reading and good conversation, my hope is that you’ll enjoy listening to The Biblio File. The great thing about podcasts is that you don’t have to wake up at 6am on Monday mornings to listen to them, unless of course you want to.
The Biblio File interviews are designed to appeal to anyone interested in books. Guests, famous and infamous, typically talk about works they’ve written, created, published, sold, studied, promoted, hunted, collected, or preserved.
My goal is to entertain and inform those who love books. My job is to connect with guests and help them to tell the stories they want and need to tell.
I do my very best to deliver quality content that I hope is worthy of your time and attention.
Guests have included:
Novelists: Martin Amis, Tim Winton, Margret Atwood, David Mitchell, Ha Jin, Yann Martel, Nadeem Aslam, Anne Enright, Amitav Ghosh, Junot Diaz, Jane Urquhart, Andre Brink, Larry McMurtry, Ivan Klima, Tim Parks, Andre Alexis, David Gilmour
Poets: Derek Walcott, Alice Notley, Paul Muldoon, Galway Kinnell, John Hollander, Rae Armantrout, Ron Silliman, Jerry Rothenberg, Julie Bruck, Phil Hall, Jap Blonk, Richard Greene
Publishers: Trade: Richard Charkin, John Galassi, Stephen Page, Jamie Byng, Gordon Graham, Tom Doherty, Kathryn Court, Heloise d'Ormesson
Small/Literary: Rocky Stinehour (Stinehour Press), Allan Kornblum (Coffee House), Emilie Buchwald (Milkweed), Stan Bevington (Coach House), Tim Inkster (Porcupine's Quill), Andrew Steeves (Gaspereau)
Fine Press: John Randle, Crispin & Jan Elsted, Andrew Hoyem, Claire Van Vliet, Gaylord Schanilec, Barry Moser, Walter Bachinsky, David Esslemont Rueter
Designers: Dust Jacket: Chip Kidd, Steven Heller, C.S. Richardson, Matt Dorfman
Book Design: Jerry Kelly, Frank Newfeld, Robert R. Reid
Independent Booksellers: Emily Powell, Mitch Kaplan, Sarah McNally, James Daunt, Nancy Bass Wyden, Doug Minett
Antiquarian Booksellers: Ken Lopez, Kenneth Gloss, Bob Fleck, William Reese, Glenn Horowitz, Bill Samuel, Robert Rulon-Miller, Adrian Harrington, Peter Ellis, Fran Durako, Patrick McGahern, David Mason, Steven Temple
Critics: Daniel Mendelsohn, Adam Gopnik, Robert Fulford, Alex Ross, John Metcalf, Matthew Zapruder, Nick Mount, Zach Wells, Michael Lista, Eric Ormsby
Librarians: Leslie Weir, Bruno Racine, John Bidwell, Richard Ovenden
Book Scholars: Jonathan Rose, Robert Darnton, Roger Chartier
There are currently 450-plus interviews on this site. Each runs between 40-90 minutes.
To learn more about the host, Nigel Beale visit his website at www.nigelbeale.com
To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
© Nigel Beale. All rights reserved.