Talking Books

Talking Books Mon - Thu 2pm - 3pm (repeated at 10pm)

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Talking Books Now Playing ...

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Read by John Chancer,  played with the kind permission of Bill Bryson.

After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson, decided it was time to move back to the United States for a while. This was partly to let his wife and kids experience life in Bryson's homeland - and partly because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another. It was thus clear to him that his people needed him.

But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain. His aim was to take stock of modern-day Britain, and to analyze what he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, zebra crossings, and place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey, and Shellow Bowells.

With characteristic wit and irreverence, Bill Bryson presents the ludicrous and the endearing in equal measure. The result is a hilarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain.

Tune in every day at 2pm or 10pm and catch up here.

Catch Up ...

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Read by Gordon Dulieu

'Plans for the development of the outlying regions of the galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is scheduled for demolition' For Arthur Dent, earthling and homeowner, this severe case of planning blight announced by the Hyperspace Planning Council is the start of a remarkable adventure through the Universe.

Do you know where your towel is? 

Children's Talking Books

A children's classic, every Saturday morning at 9am and Sunday at 3pm and at the moment it's Swallows and Amazons. 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 3pm. 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

Talking Books at 80

The Talking Books service from RNIB is 80 years old, and we have many special shows, features and documentaries coming up. More information is on the Talking Books at 80 page.

Coming Soon

Bill Bryson's 'Notes from a Small Island' coming later in the year. 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

Comics Empower

A comic book store specifically for blind and partially sighted people, hear how it started and listen to some adventures right now.

Short Story - Sandy and Her Beautiful Sisters by Antonia Fraser

Helena Bonham Carter reads this modern fairy tale from Antonia Fraser.

Short Story - Old Smokeytoes by Louis de Bernieres

A dictator reflects on his life in this exclusive piece of writing from the author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, read by the late, great Nigel Graham.

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.


Notes from a Small Island

Notes from a Small Island 1/14 

Notes from a Small Island 2/14

Notes from a Small Island 3/14

Notes from a Small Island 4/14

Notes from a Small Island 5/14

Notes from a Small Island 6/14

Notes from a Small Island 7/14

Notes from a Small Island 8/14

Notes from a Small Island 9/14

Notes from a Small Island 10/14

Notes from a Small Island 11/14

Notes from a Small Island 12/14

Notes from a Small Island 13/14

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Hitchhikers 1/7

Hitchhikers 2/7

Hitchhikers 3/7

Hitchhikers 4/7

Hitchhikers 5/7

Hitchhikers 6/7

Hitchhikers 7/7

Swallows and Amazons

Swallows and Amazons 1/12

Swallows and Amazons 2/12

Swallows and Amazons 3/12

Swallows and Amazons 4/12

Swallows and Amazons 5/12

Professor Branestawm

Branestawm 01

Branestawm 02

Branestawm 03

Branestawm 04

Branestawm 05

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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