Talking of Books

Saturdays, 10AM-1PM

A bibliophile’s dream…

Every week co-hosts Isobel Abulhoul and Annabelle Corton are joined by an ever-changing cast of guest reviewers drawn from the UAE’s reading community. Each show features different literary anecdotes to improve your dinner party conversation, a star ‘Castaway’ guest recommending the three books they’d take to a desert island, the book-related questions you’ve always wanted to know the answers to in The Big Question, and not to mention in-depth reviews of books that haven’t even hit the shelves yet.

Talking of Books features regular interviews with today’s greatest writers, with previous interviewees including bestselling novelists Chris Cleave, superstar children’s authors Jacqueline Wilson, Andy Stanton and David Almond, internationally-renowned philosopher AC Grayling and rugby legend Brian Moore. And if you’re lucky enough you’ll catch Literary Soundtrack at the end of the show, highlighting a song inspired by literature every single week.





The Young Reviewer Slot – The New Adventures of Mr. Toad and Read with Biff, Chip & Kipper

This Saturday co-hosts Isobel and Annabelle check out The New Adventures of Mr. Toad by children’s author and research ecologist Tom Moorhouse and see how the beloved Mr. Toad of Toad Hall has changed since Kenneth Grahame’s classic The Wind the Willows and how it’s introducing a really young audience to Mole, Ratty, Badger and, of course, Mr Toad.

Speaking of classics, we also give Roderick Hunt a call – the creator of famous characters Biff, Chip, Kipper, Floppy and their friends, who has brought more than 400 Oxford Reading Tree stories to life. The Oxford Reading Tree books are used to teach reading in 80% of UK primary schools.



Castaway Guest: Levison Wood

“The simplicity, the lack of choice, of having to make do, that’s what happiness is all about.”

― Levison Wood, Walking the Himalayas

Award-winning explorer, photographer, and author at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature this year, Levison Wood lives by his own words as the Talking of Books team restricts his book choices to the three he would most prefer to be stranded on a desert island with.






Arab World Topic of the Week – The Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan

A sweeping narrative of battles and political intrigue from Gallipoli to Arabia, The Fall of the Ottomans is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Great War and the making of the Arab World as we know it. Joining us for a brief introduction to this week’s essential non-fiction pick and telling us what he can’t wait to ask the author, is Rehan Khan, who will be moderating Eugene Rogan at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature this year.

About Eugene Rogan

Eugene Rogan is Director of the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He is the author of The Arabs: A History, named one of the best books of 2009 by The Economist, The Financial Times and The Atlantic Monthly. The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East was named one of the best books of 2015 by The Economist and The Wall Street Journal. An Arabic edition will be published soon. His earlier works include Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire and Outside In: On the Margins of the Modern Middle East.

In 2017, he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

sep_deThe Big Question Part 1 – Want to chase your dreams?

When Mike Lewis was twenty-four and working in a prestigious corporate job, he eagerly wanted to leave and pursue his dream of becoming a professional squash player. But he had questions: When is the right time to move from work that is comfortable to a career you have only dared to dream of? How have other people made such a jump? What did they feel when making that jump―and afterward?

On the show this week we look at how to realistically chase your dreams with a book titled When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn’t the Life You Want by Mike Lewis, who worked at Bain Capital before deciding to pursue his dream of becoming a professional squash player. He is the Founder and CEO of When to Jump, a community featuring the ideas, stories, and people who have left certain paths to pursue entirely different ones. Launched in January 2016, the When to Jump platform has reached millions of impressions through digital media, brand collaborations, and in-person experiences.

Joining us in the studio to chat about the key insights from the book and what she’s looking forward to asking Mike is Dawn Metcalfe, the executive coach, facilitator, trainer and leadership advisor set to interview the author in his session at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature this Year.

The Big Question Part 2 – How to Do Good?

What do businesswoman and philanthropist Muna Al Gurg, former professional footballer Frédéric Kanouté, World Poetry Slam Champion Emi Mahmoud and violinist and White House Champion of Change Mariela Shaker have in common?

They are all supporters of the How to Do Good movement – a book and project featuring personal stories from thought leaders, celebrities and philanthropists who are driving positive change.

Joining us this weekend to talk about the project and what we can expect from the inspirational performance and discussion-based How to Do Good event being featured at #DubaiLitFest this year is project founder Leonard Stall.

sep_deThe Bookshelf: Arabian Nights and Labyrinths

This week on The Bookshelf we look at the labyrinth of stories that is the Arabian Nights with Paulo Lemos Horta – Associate Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at New York University Abu Dhabi and author of Marvellous Thieves: Secret Authors of the Arabian Nights.

Paulo is appearing at the #DubaiLitFest with fellow Arabist Robert Irwin for a discussion about the myth that our favourite stories from Arabian Nights were European inventions added by translators.

On the show we talk about Paulo’s own work, his fellow panellist Robert Irwin’s latest historical novel Wonders Will Never Cease and an entirely different labyrinth of stories in the form of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s conclusion to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books tetralogy. A six time New York Times bestselling author, Zafon’s work has been translated into more than 45 languages and sold more than 35 million copies around the world, making him the most widely read author from Spain of all time after Cervantes. Paulo is looking forward to interviewing Carlos at the Literature Festival this year and shares his thoughts on the latest book which is currently only available in Spanish and the ground he’s hoping to cover with author when he’s in Dubai.





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