Talking Books

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

Now playing on Talking Books

Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog)

by Jerome K Jerome

This comic masterpiece and one of the best-known classics of English humor, follows the misadventures of 3 bungling, Victorian-era bachelors who take off on a rowing excursion up the Thames.

Along the way they struggle with things like trying to erect a tent in the woods, getting seasick, or questioning whether it's safe to drink river water ... and discover a fish made of plaster.

Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat is read by Michael Aspel and lasts for 7 episodes until the 7th of November (with a break for a special Halloween show)



Listen Again

Life, The Universe and Everything

by Douglas Adams

In consequence of a number of stunning catastrophes, Arthur Dent is surprised to find himself living in a hideously miserable cave on prehistoric Earth. Luckily an amazing rescue by Ford Prefect and a time eddy, cleverly disguised as a sofa, lands them in the middle of Lords two days before the world is due to end.

Just as he thinks that things cannot get possibly worse, they suddenly do. He discovers that the Galaxy is not only mind-boggingly big and bewildering but also that most of the things that happen in it are staggeringly unfair ... It's just not cricket.

Listen Again links to the right of this page.


All through October, we want you to Wear Dots and Raise Lots for RNIB. 

Please register for a fundraising pack on the RNIB Read Webpage.

Listen to a special episode of Talking Books about RNIB Read.

Booker Prize

Every year we feature the Man Booker shortlisted authors, here are this years and a few from the awards in 2013 and 2012 - Man Booker Prize authors

Coming Soon

Books to come include 3 Men in a Boat, Wuthering Heights, Alan Bennett's Writing Home and Jamaica Inn. Suggest a book by emailing or contacting me via Talking_Books on Twitter.

Junior Talking Books

A children's classic, every Saturday morning at 9am and Sunday at 3pm. At the moment it's Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Find out more about our Weekend Children's Show here.



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

RNIB Reading Group Books

A look at the 7 books on the RNIB Reading Group list, all of which feature a blind or partially sighted character.

Marcus Sedgwick

Author Interview - Marcus Sedgwick on his book 'She is Not Invisible" which features a blind character. As part of RNIB Read Marcus tells me about the research he conducted at New College and the blind pupils reaction to the book.

What's your favourite book?

For RNIB Read I ask some Talking Book narrators for the best book they have ever read for RNIB. (Longer podcast version)

Listen Again

Catch up with the last five episodes of Talking Books

Monday - Life, The Universe and Everything 6/7

Tuesday - Life, The Universe and Everything 7/7

Wednesday - Three Men in a Boat 1/7  

Thursday - Life, The Universe and Everything 4/7   

Friday -  Life, The Universe and Everything 5/7 

Sunday - Heidi


Wear Dots and Raise Lots


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

RNIB Surf Right Accessible web site