Talking Books

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

NEW - 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 ...

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Miss Jean Brodie was a schoolmistress with a difference Proud, cultured, romantic, her ideas were progressive, even shocking And when she decided to transform a group of young girls under her tutelage into the 'creme de la creme' of Marcia Blaine school, no one could have predicted the outcome.

It plays for just four days, Bank Holiday Monday, 25th, to Thursday the 29th of May ... but you can have a listen to episode 1 right now.

Catch-Up with ...

John Brown's Body by Reginald Hill

A one off short story about love loss and finding bodies, recorded exclusively for Talking Books. 

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

Set in Scotland in 1751, Kidnapped remains one of the most exciting stories ever written. Young David Balfour, orphaned then betrayed by his Uncle Ebenezer, his so-called guardian, falls in with Alan Breck, the unscrupulous but heroic champion of the Jacobite cause. Shipwreck, murder and dramatic escape through the Highlands are just a few of the ingredients of this highly charged tale of intrigue, action and adventure.

Read by Peter Kenny, catch up now.

Junior Talking Books

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

Coming Soon

Books to come include The African Queen 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

Jane and Stephen Hawking

A look at some Stephen Hawking books available in the RNIB library and a chat with his former wife Jane, about The Theory of Everything.

Aye Write Memories

Denise Mina, Louise Welsh, Christopher Brookmyre, Alan Bissett, Zoe Strachan and programmer Bob McDevitt tell me about AyeWrite, Glasgow's Book Festival, and share some favourite memories.

Short Story

Ida Tamson by Denise Mina. Written for the first ever AyeWrite, serialised in the Glasgow Evening Times and recorded by RNIB Scotland. Doing anything it takes to look after the children in her care, enter the world of Ida Tamson. Read by Robert Kirkwood.

Listen Again


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


The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Jean Brodie 1/4

John Brown's Body

John Brown's Body 1/1


Kidnapped 1/9

Kidnapped 2/9

Kidnapped 3/9

Kidnapped 4/9

Kidnapped 5/9

Kidnapped 6/9

Kidnapped 7/9

Kidnapped 8/9

Kidnapped 9/9

The Secret Garden

Secret Garden 1

Secret Garden 2

Secret Garden 3

Secret Garden 4

Secret Garden 5

The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse

Wooden Horse 1/5

Wooden Horse 2/5

Wooden Horse 3/5

Wooden Horse 4/5

Wooden Horse 5/5

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