Talking Books

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

Now Playing ...

A Pelican at Blandings

by P.G. Wodehouse

Unwelcome guests are descending on Blandings Castle - particularly the overbearing Duke of Dunstable, who settles in the Garden Suite with no intention of leaving, and Lady Constance, Lord Emsworth's sister and a lady of firm disposition, who arrives unexpectedly from New York.

Skulduggery is also afoot involving the sale of a modern nude painting (mistaken by Lord Emsworth for a pig). It's enough to take the noble earl on the short journey to the end of his wits.

Luckily Clarence's brother Galahad Threepwood, cheery survivor of the raffish Pelican Club, is on hand to set things right, restore sundered lovers and even solve all the mysteries.

Read by Peter Barker, it lasts for 9 episodes until the 6th of March.

Catch-Up with ...

The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett 

Life imitates art in The Lady in the Van, the story of the itinerant Miss Shepherd, who lived in a van in Alan Bennett's driveway from the early 1970s until her death in 1989. 

Bennett concedes that "One seldom was able to do her a good turn without some thoughts of strangulation", but as the plastic bags build up, the years pass by and Miss Shepherd moves into Bennett's driveway, a relationship is established which defines a certain moment in late 20th-century London life which has probably gone forever.

This special 2 part show is read by Ray Sawyer (and includes a postscript in which we find out much about Miss Shepherd's life before meeting Alan Bennett) ... catch up now.

One Hit Wonderland by Tony Hawks

**Exclusive presentation that also includes the music**

It's 1988 and radios across the land blast out the Top Ten hit 'Stutter Rap' by Morris Minor and the Majors. The man behind the fake moustache is Tony Hawks.

Fast forward to the 21st century and those heady days of pop stardom are a distant memory. That is, until it is suggested that Tony is just another One Hit Wonder. Really? We'll have to see about that ...

For two years Tony struggles to have a hit somewhere, anywhere, in the world, changing acts and styles with a bewildering lack of integrity. From Nashville to Amsterdam, from Eastern Europe to Africa, he travels the globe in search of that elusive hit.

But it's only after a chance encounter with Norman Wisdom that things get really strange. Is it really possible that together they could storm the Albanian charts?

In One Hit Wonderland anything can happen ...

Read by Tony Hawks it runs for 13 episodes ... catch up now

Junior Talking Books

A children's classic, every Saturday morning at 9am and Sunday at 3pm. At the moment it's Black Beauty and you can also catch up with the last book, Professor Branestawm. Find out more about our Weekend Children's Show here.

Coming Soon

Books to come include The Return of Sherlock Holmes, read by none other than Peter Cushing. 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

Overdrive Interview - Kevin Beesting

Robert Kirkwood chats to Overdrive user Kevin Beesting to get his thoughts on RNIB's new digital download service

Christmas Talking Books on RNIB OverDrive

A list of festive reads you can download right now from RNIB's new digital service

Book Week Scotland 2014

A special show from the offices of the Scottish Book Trust, finding all about what the Book Trust do and listening to selections from Scotland's Stories from Home

Listen Again

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


A Pelican at Blandings

A Pelican at Blandings 1/9

A Pelican at Blandings 2/9

A Pelican at Blandings 3/9

A Pelican at Blandings 4/9

The Lady in the Van

Lady in the Van 1/2

Lady in the Van 2/2

One Hit Wonderland

One Hit Wonderland 1/13

One Hit Wonderland 2/13

One Hit Wonderland 3/13

One Hit Wonderland 4/13

One Hit Wonderland 5/13

One Hit Wonderland 6/13

One Hit Wonderland 7/13

One Hit Wonderland 8/13

One Hit Wonderland 9/13

One Hit Wonderland 10/13

One Hit Wonderland 11/13

One Hit Wonderland 12/13

One Hit Wonderland 13/13

Black Beauty

Black Beauty 1/7

Black Beauty 2/7

Black Beauty 3/7

Black Beauty 4/7

Black Beauty 5/7

Professor Branestawm

Branestawm 1/5

Branestawm 2/5

Branestawm 3/5

Branestawm 4/5

Branestawm 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