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Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks: The Essential Alan Coren

Read by Peter Nobel

Edited and introduced by his children, Giles and Victoria, 'Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks' is an anthology of writing from the former editor of 'Punch' and Radio 4 national treasure Alan Coren, who died in October 2007.

In a prolific forty-year career Alan Coren wrote for 'The Times', 'Observer', 'Tatler', 'Daily Mail', 'Mail on Sunday', 'Listener', 'Punch' and the 'New Yorker', and published over 20 books including 'The Sanity Inspector', 'Golfing for Cats' and 'The Collected Bulletins of Idi Amin' (he turned down an invitation from Amin to visit Uganda saying, 'I'll probably end up as a sandwich')

Even twenty years ago he estimated that he had published six million words, or ten copies of War and Peace This anthology draws together the best of Coren's previously published material as well as new unpublished autobiographical material.

Tune in every week day at 2pm or 10pm

Catch Up ...

1984 by George Orwell

Read by David Brown

'Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past'

Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party.

In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.

Catch up now.

Children's Talking Books

A children's classic, every Saturday morning at 9am and Sunday at 3pm and at the moment it's The Water Babies. Catch up on the latest episode or find out more about our Weekend Children's Show here.

Read On

If you're passionate about books and reading, tune in every Friday from 1pm. Author interviews, book news, technology updates and everything you've always wanted to know about the RNIB Library. 

Head to the Read On Page now

Coming Soon

Some classics coming soon including The Diary of a Nobody. Suggest a book by emailing or contacting me via Talking_Books on Twitter.

Booker Prize

Every year we feature the Man Booker shortlisted authors, here are the latest and a few from the awards over the past few years - Man Booker Prize authors

Podcast Shows

Author interviews, special shows, documentaries and more, all available to listen online or download as a podcast. Includes chats with Michael Palin, Bill Bryson, Michael Bond (the creator of Paddington Bear as pictured below), James Herbert's last ever interview, a full short story by Denise Mina and the man behind Parker and Brains in Thunderbirds and co-inventor of the voice of the Daleks. 

Podcast shows here.

Most recent podcasts for Talking Books

Richard Wiseman

Why do we enjoy being scared? Why do we watch horror films, scary TV shows and listen to frightening books? I ask Richard Wiseman, author and the Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.

Colonel Chris Hadfield

Author Interview - From the ISS to author, astronaut Chris Hadfield talks about his book 'The Darkest Dark' and about weightless reading.

Neil Oliver

Author Interview - The historian talks about his fiction and non-fiction books and his current project in Western Australia

Listen Again

Catch up with our current featured book, and EVERY EPISODE of the last book featured on the show, both mid-week and children's weekend.


Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks


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Children's Books

The Water Babies


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Pinocchio 1/6

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About Talking Books

Robert Kirkwood presents the best of the spoken Word. The famous RNIB Talking Books studios have such a rich and varied history. Authors such as Ruth Rendell, Roald Dahl, P.D. James, A.S. Byatt, Fay Weldon, Doris Lessing, Lady Antonia Fraser and lots of other greats, making up a veritable Who’s Who of UK literature, have all visited us and recorded something.

Narrators over the years have included Joanna Lumley, Richard Baker, Sir John Gielgud, Joss Ackland and Jim Broadbent amongst hundreds of others. In the early days of the RNIB Talking Book service, there was no such thing as commercial audiobooks, so the RNIB library is the only place to hear people such as Peter Cushing and Joyce Grenfel read books aloud.

On Insight Radio's Talking Book show we've featured all of the above! Where else could you hear Peter Cushing read Sherlock Holmes followed by Victoria Coren talking poker, or Cherie Blair reading Postman Pat followed by Frederick Forsyth telling us about cocaine trafficking?

Tune in every day at 2pm (or 10pm or 3am) for exclusive audio, author interviews, behind the scenes features and our featured book or short story of the moment. I'll also keep adding content to the Talking Books podcast feed so make sure you subscribe.

Subscribe to the Talking Books podcast feed on itunes

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