Talking Books

Talking Books with Robert Kirkwood, weekdays from 3pm and 10pm

Read On

If you're passionate about books and reading, tune in every Friday from 3pm. Author interviews, book news, technology updates and everything you've always wanted to know about the RNIB Talking Book and National Library Service. 

Head to the Read On Page now

Now Playing ...

4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

Staring Tuesday the 7th of July.

For an instant the two trains ran together, side by side. In that frozen moment, Elspeth witnessed a murder. Helplessly, she stared out of her carriage window as a man remorselessly tightened his grip around a woman’s throat. The body crumpled. Then the other train drew away.

But who, apart from Miss Marple, would take her story seriously? After all, there were no suspects, no other witnesses… and no corpse.

Read by Diana Bishop, it runs every Monday to Thursday until the 20th of July.

Catch-Up with ...

Sahara with Michael Palin

Michael Palin's epic voyages have seen him circumnavigate the globe, travel from the North to the South Pole and circle the countries of the Pacific Ocean, but this was perhaps the greatest challenge yet: to cross the vast and merciless Sahara desert.

As the journey unfolds, the Sahara reveals not the emptiness of endless sand dunes, but a huge and diverse range of cultures and landscapes and a long history of commerce and conquest stretching from the time of the ancient Egyptians to the oil-rich Islamic republics of today.

On his way, he encounters dangers such as camel stew, being run over by the Paris-Dakar rally and Dakar nightlife, as well as returning to the original spot where THE LIFE OF BRIAN was filmed.

The book is read by Michael Palin and lasts for 12 episodes until the 6th of July, then catch up online.

Junior Talking Books

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

Coming Soon

Books to come include The 4.50 from Paddington and Stamp Album written and read by Terence Stamp. 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 in 2013 and 2012 - 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

Alexander McCall Smith

Author Interview - Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, the Scotland Street novels and much more, talks to me about audiobooks, accents and Austen.

Straight White Male

Special Feature - The RNIB recording of Straight White Male by John Niven wins an award at the New York Radio Festival. Robert Kirkwood talks to the producers and narrator.

Irvine Welsh

Author Interview - The Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh talks about his new book, 'A Decent Ride' featuring the inimitable Juice Terry

Listen Again


Catch up with EVERY EPISODE of the latest Talking Book featured on Insight Radio


4.50 From Paddington

Coming Soon


Sahara 1/12

Sahara 2/12

Sahara 3/12

Sahara 4/12

Sahara 5/12

Sahara 6/12

Sahara 7/12

Sahara 8/12

Sahara 9/12

Sahara 10/12

Sahara 11/12

Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web 1/4

The Secret Garden

Secret Garden 1/10

Secret Garden 2/10

Secret Garden 3/10

Secret Garden 4/10

Secret Garden 5/10

Secret Garden 6/10

Secret Garden 7/10

Secret Garden 8/10

Secret Garden 9/10

Secret Garden 10/10

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 3pm (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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