The Penguin Podcast

The Penguin Podcast

United States

Richard E. Grant invites authors, comedians, musicians, historians, actors, business leaders and philosophers to join him in the Penguin studios with five objects that inspired and shaped the writing of their latest book. #PenguinPodcast

Episodes

Zadie Smith with David Baddiel  

Zadie Smith joins David Baddiel in the Penguin studio to talk about her latest novel, Swing Time. Zadie brings along objects including a carved wooden head, a sequinned glove and a book on Fred Astaire as she talks dancing, motherhood and the importance of knowing your roots. #PenguinPodcast

Johnny Marr with David Baddiel  

Musician, songwriter and singer Johnny Marr joins David Baddiel in the Penguin Studio to talk about his autobiography Set The Boy Free (and jam with David on the guitar). Johnny talks about first falling in love with the sound of the guitar listening to the Everly Brothers, reveals how he developed a passion for reading whilst bunking off school and explains how he handled huge fame as a teenager. He brings along a selection of treasured objects including The Complete Essays of Aldous Huxley, a Marc Bolan EP, and, of course, his signature model Fender Jaguar. #PenguinPodcast

Alexandra Shulman with Richard E. Grant  

Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin Studio to talk about her book Inside Vogue: A Diary of My 100th Year, which documents the style bible’s centenary celebrations. Alexandra talks about her own twenty four years at the helm of British Vogue, reveals how she managed to pull off a royal cover coup featuring the Duchess of Cambridge, and considers the impact of Brexit on the fashion industry. She brings along a number of objects that influenced Inside Vogue, including her watch, a (very large) suitcase, and her coffee maker as she calculates how many cups of coffee it takes to power one issue of the magazine. #PenguinPodcast

The Football Ramble  

The foursome behind the UK’s biggest independent sports podcast, The Football Ramble, take over the Penguin studio to talk about their debut book, also called The Football Ramble. Marcus, Luke, Pete and Jim discuss football’s early beginnings; dissect the ‘media machine’ behind the modern game; marvel at the gargantuan amounts of money at stake and conclude that grassroots football is perhaps ultimately more enjoyable than the professional game. They also bring in various mementos including a pair of old boots, a Soviet hat and a ticket stub (complete with pie stain). #PenguinPodcast

Clare Balding with Richard E. Grant  

Clare Balding joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin Studio to talk about her first children’s book The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop. Clare brings along a number of objects that inspired her book, including her family jockey silks and her Olympic torch from the 2012 Games, as she explains why children love stories about ponies and why she was determined to write a book with a girl-power message. #PenguinPodcast

Robert Harris with Richard E. Grant  

Author Robert Harris joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin studio to talk about his latest novel, Conclave. Robert explains why the election of a new Pope is the perfect setting for a thriller and talks about being given an exclusive tour of the Vatican as part of his research. He brings along his first typewriter, which he bought for £10 when he was twelve years old, and explains why having a bust of Cicero sitting on his desk helps to focus his mind. #PenguinPodcast

Highlights from the Penguin Podcast - Episode 2  

The second of two special editions of the Penguin podcast, looking back at some of the standout moments from the past year courtesy of guests including Shami Chakrabarti, Louis de Bernieres and Paula Hawkins. With a rallying call to all would-be writers from Neil Gaiman, procrastination tips from John Finnemore and advice from Irvine Welsh on finding your voice, this podcast documents the highs and lows of an author’s career. It also reflects on some of the curious objects that guests have brought along to the Penguin studio, and which have influenced their writing, including hawk bells and a pebble. #PenguinPodcast

Highlights from the Penguin Podcast - Episode 1  

The first of two special editions of the Penguin podcast looking at some of the highlights from the past year. Featuring guests including Bill Bryson, Chris Packham and Pat Barker, a really wide array of topics are covered, ranging from libraries all the way to labiaplasty. Various objects that have played in important part in shaping our guests careers will also be discussed, including a cow, a gas mask and a fart in a jar. Yes, really. #PenguinPodcast

Shappi Khorsandi with Richard E. Grant  

Comedian Shappi Khorsandi joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin studio to talk about her debut novel, Nina is Not OK. Quite dark and very funny, it focuses on the teenage struggles of Nina, who absolutely does NOT have a drink problem. Shappi brings with her a number of objects that have shaped her career, ranging from Morph to Charlie Chaplin, and tells Richard how the pain of leaving her beloved homeland of Iran still brings her to tears. And Shappi makes it quite clear that she is not Nina - OK! #PenguinPodcast

Emma Kennedy with Richard E. Grant  

Writer and actress Emma Kennedy joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin studio to talk about her bestselling memoir The Tent, The Bucket and Me, which charts her disastrous family holidays. She brings along a number of objects that inspired her book, including a pink bucket, a Land Rover called Bessie and some questionable seafood. Emma reminisces about many memorable incidents, concluding that camping in the 1970s was essentially National Service for children. #PenguinPodcast

John Finnemore with Richard E. Grant  

Comedian John Finnemore joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin studio to talk about his award-winning shows Cabin Pressure, Double Acts and John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme. Renowned for his wordplay, John admits that writing doesn’t always come easily and confesses that he has a “heart-breaking” ability to procrastinate (often with tinfoil). John brings along a number of objects that have influenced his career, including his father’s airline hat and his bicycle, and observes how Benedict Cumberbatch single-handedly changed the demographic of Radio 4. #PenguinPodcast

Irvine Welsh with Richard E. Grant  

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh joins Richard E. Grant down the line from Chicago to talk about bringing back the incendiary Francis Begbie in his latest novel The Blade Artist. Irvine talks about a number of objects that shaped and inspired the novel, including a copy of The Big Issue and a pair of white gym socks. Irvine muses on how art can transform lives, talks about writing ultra-violence and explains the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath (sociopaths go into banking or politics). #PenguinPodcast

Chris Packham with Richard E. Grant  

Writer and wildlife presenter Chris Packham joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin studio to talk about his memoir, Fingers In The Sparkle Jar. Chris brings along a number of objects that shaped his book, including a fox skull, a set of hawk bells and his first Clash ticket stub, as he explains why he has more honest relationships with animals than he does with people. Chris reminisces about badger watching in a pair of bondage trousers, talks about how children don’t explore the outdoors enough, and explains why it’s important to suck up every last drop of life. #PenguinPodcast

Alain de Botton with Richard E. Grant  

Writer and philosopher Alain de Botton joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin studio to talk about his latest novel, The Course of Love. Alain brings along a number of objects that shaped his book, including his copy of Virginia Woolf’s essay The Docks of London and a recording of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, as he explains why he decided to turn his attention to what happens after happily ever after. Crushes and sulks come under Alain’s philosophical microscope as he explains why love is more dangerous than a nuclear power station and advocates schools for relationships. #PenguinPodcast

Francesca Martinez with Richard E. Grant  

Award-winning comedian Francesca Martinez joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin studio to talk about her memoir What the **** is Normal?! Francesca brings along a number of objects that shaped her book, including a photo of her beloved grandparents and a poem to her first boyfriend, as she talks about discarding the label of cerebral palsy. She reveals her careers advisor’s reaction to her acting ambitions, explains why stand-up comedy changed her life and discusses her dreams for a world where people aren’t defined by what they can’t do, but by what they can. #PenguinPodcast

Shami Chakrabarti with Richard E. Grant  

Shami Chakrabarti joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin studio to talk about her book On Liberty. Shami brings along a number of objects that shaped the book, including a goldfish bowl and her mother’s pearls, as she tells the story behind her human rights journey. She reveals a dark secret from her childhood, talks about her second day at Liberty, on the 11th September 2001, and explains why our civil liberties matter more than ever. #PenguinPodcast

Colm Tóibín with Richard E. Grant  

Colm Tóibín joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin studio to talk about the novel behind the Oscar-nominated film Brooklyn. Colm brings along a number of objects that inspired the novel as he muses on the Irish immigrant experience, homesickness and life in 1950s New York. He reveals that the story of Brooklyn’s Eilis Lacey was inspired by a conversation that he overheard as a child, and explains how crucial it was for him that the big screen adaptation of Brooklyn was filmed in his hometown of Enniscorthy. #PenguinPodcast

Howard Jacobson with Richard E. Grant  

Howard Jacobson joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin studio to talk about his new novel Shylock Is My Name, a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. A self-proclaimed reverer of Shakespeare, Howard explains how he rose to the challenge of adapting one of the bard’s more controversial plays, and questions how much has really changed for Jews since Shakespeare first created the part of Shylock. Howard’s objects include a table tennis bat and a photograph of his grandmother, and he talks about his inspirational primary school teacher. #PenguinPodcast

Louis de Bernières with Richard E. Grant  

The author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin joins Richard E. Grant in the Penguin Studio to talk about his major new novel, The Dust That Falls From Dreams. Louis brings his great grandmother’s diaries and a handmade ‘guitar-lute’ into the Penguin studio and tells Richard how, for him, music wards off insanity. #PenguinPodcast

Phil Redmond with Richard E. Grant  

Phil Redmond, the creator of Brookside, Hollyoaks and Grange Hill, turns his hand from TV scripts to his first novel, Highbridge. Phil brings with him an assortment of objects that inspired the book, including an Army ration pack and a 'pay and throw’ phone and he discusses a variety of topics including how writing a novel differs from script writing, the impact of technology on society and the war on drugs. #PenguinPodcast

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