This month’s guest is Nigel Farndale. His new novel, The Dictator’s Muse, is set in the 1930s. He will be talking about it – and the connection with Mick Jagger! 

He is the bestselling author of, amongst others, The Blasphemer, shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award, and Haw-Haw: The Tragedy of William and Margaret Joyce, shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. And I’m in awe of the interviews he has conducted over the years, from Gillian Anderson to Kirsty Young, with every letter of the alphabet between, in sport, politics and culture. And Donald Trump. I read 50 of them in his 2002 collection, which owes its title to an Andrew Billen quote: ‘The three stages of a successful interview are flirtation, seduction and betrayal…”  He lives on the Hampshire-Sussex border with his wife and children.

His Desert Island Book choice is Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse.

This Months Books were

  • Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • More than a Woman by Caitlin Moran
  • Assembly by Natasha Brown
  • No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
  • Twitch by MG Leonard
  • (audiobook) The Stranding by Kate Sawyer 
  • Checkmate in Berlin by Giles Milton

What’s Coming Up

  • 1979 by Val McDermid
  • The Women of Troy by Pat Barker
  • Appetite by Ed Balls
  • Echo Chamber by John Boyne


Guest: Jennifer Selway has a book just out The Making of Horror movies: Key Figures who Established the Genre

She lives in Petersfield. She was Executive Editor of the Daily Express and before that was a journalist on The Observer.

Blurb: Horror films divide opinion. It wasn’t until 1973 that a horror film (The Exorcist) was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture and many respected critics still regard them with amused condescension. The public’s view is also sharply divided. Some cinema goers revel in the thought of being made very, very afraid, while some just don’t like horror films because they don’t want to be frightened.

This guide, which is for both the fan and the more faint-hearted, steers an illuminating path through a genre that has, since the early days of cinema, split off into many sub-divisions – folk horror, slasher movies, Hammer, sci-fi horror, psychological thrillers, zombie movies, among others.

Times change but movie-makers can always find a way to tap into what we fear and dread, whether it’s blood-sucking vampires or radioactive mutations, evil children or the living dead.

This book also gives concise biographies of the many actors and directors who saw their careers – for better or worse – defined by their association with horror movies, and who created a genre that is instantly recognisable in all its forms and continues to find new and ingenious ways of scaring us in the dark.

Talking Books is broadcast on the third Monday evening of the month at 8pm on Petersfield’s Shine Radio and than repeated at other times during the month