THE WORDS celebrates its first year.

In January 2018 Simon & Schuster UK launched its monthly literary podcast, dedicated to the world of books, authors, culture and society.

In our first year we have covered some of the key issues and themes of the day and interviewed some of the book world’s most influential and entertaining writers, from Hollywood Star Sally Field to prizewinning poet Benjamin Zephaniah.

In our December episode, our presenter Rosie Goldsmith takes us back over the past year to hear some of the highlights from 32 wonderful guests and lively debates on topics ranging from Sexism, Mental Health, Crime, Poetry to Epic Journeys.

This programme is your opportunity to listen again to the best of The Words and – if you are joining us for the first time – welcome!

In our latest episode of The Words Podcast we celebrate the lives of the often unsung individuals who displayed remarkable courage in adversity and whose experiences on the battle field, in the air, on the home front and behind enemy lines, have made the pages of the books we discuss today.

As we commemorated the end of World War One and the centenary of the Armistice, war still rages across the globe.

Today we still rely daily on the bravery and sacrifice of military forces, the journalists who bring these stories to our attention, the paramedics and humanitarian organisations who fight to save life on the ground and the civilians who risk everything to help others in times of conflict.

Joining our panel discussion are; John Nichol, ex Royal Air Force Navigator, Flight Lieutenant, Gulf war veteran and author of Spitfire, talks about the iconic fighter planes and those who flew them. Rick Stroud, author of Lonely Courage, shares portraits of the incrdible women in the Special Operations Executive established by Churchill to fight alonside the French resistance and Duncan Barrett, historian and authority on second world war Britain, explains Channel Island life, and rebelion, under Nazi rule as depicted in his new book Hitler’s British Isles.

In a special interview we speak to Warrant Officer Kim Hughes GC who was awarded the George Cross by The Queen after his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, when he defused a record 119 IEDs saving hundereds of lives including many women and children. His frank and page-turning memoir, Painting The Sand, details his numerous encounters with the Taliban and about the dark truths of life in bomb disposal.

To conclude Duncan Barrett has written an exclusive essay about Bob Le Sueur, one of Jersey’s most notorious residents who was awarded an MBE for his efforts in assisting escaped Russian prisoners, in Jersey. In his fascinating reading, Barrett details how Le Sueur was able to move about due to his work as an insurance agent and how he acted as relay in a network of people sheltering escapees, forging documents and resisting at every civilian level the Nazi occupaton.

Inspiring, shocking and deeply moving, this is an episode not to be missed.

This week’s episode of The Words Podcast is dedicated to the Hollywood legend, Sally Field.

For over five decades Sally has captivated television and film audiences. Her shelves are laden with awards, among them two Oscars, three Emmys and two Golden Globes. She is successful, popular and immensely talented.

Sally has been directed by many of the world’s greatest film-makers including Steven Spielberg, Martin Ritt and Chris Columbus. She has played alongside acting legends such as Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Daniel Day-Lewis, Shirley MacLaine, Tom Hanks and Robin Williams.

But her life has also been challenging. In her memoir, In Pieces, Sally opens up for the first time about her difficult and lonely childhood, how she found her voice through acting and the strength and inspiration to take on her other leading roles – as daughter, mother and grandmother.

In the episode, Sally discusses her life and career, starting out in TV sitcoms and fighting her way, tooth and nail, into film. She speaks about her loves, her family and her losses, and touches upon new theatre projects and her advocacy of women’s rights.

It is a fascinating and revealing interview which celebrates an incredible life and an outstanding book.

Chris Bonington, Robin Knox-Johnston, Alice Morrison and Jonathan Gornall join us to discuss their tales of adventure, courage and death-defying endurance.

We’re devoting this programme to Epic Journeys. And we don’t use the word ‘epic’ lightly: you’ll hear about Mount Everest and Timbuktu, cycling, sailing, running and climbing at the lowest – and highest – temperatures on Earth.

This week’s guests are some of the world’s greatest living, breathing, true-life adventurers and travel writers.

Chris Bonington has conquered Everest four times, and is Britain’s best-known, best-loved mountaineer, TV presenter and prolific author.

He’s joined by the world’s greatest living sailor, Robin Knox-Johnston, who is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his epic solo, non-stop navigation around the world.

Our next guest, Alice Morrison, is a marathon runner and cyclist, journalist and TV presenter – who has ‘conquered Morocco’ by setting up home there and running ultimate marathons across the Sahara and the Atlas.

Sailor, journalist and Middle East expert Jonathan Gornall completes our adventurous panel. He has attempted to row across the Atlantic in a small open-top boat and recently completed his novel, How To Build A Boat.

So why are these explorers prepared to risk life, love and limb to undertake their epic journeys?

All will be revealed in this week’s episode of The Words.

Melvyn Bragg, Elizabeth Day, Stephen Fry, Simon Oldfield and Eliza Bonham Carter feature in an episode dedicated to art and literature.

In this programme, we explore how the interaction between art and literature both enhances and reflects our lives.

We’ve told stories and created art since human civilisation began. Art and literature can touch us deeply, galvanise us into action, elicit big ideas and, sometimes, horrific acts.

Our studio guests in this programme are very special: they have made the creative partnership of art and literature their lives and professions.

Melvyn Bragg is an author, broadcaster and champion of the arts. He is joined by Eliza Bonham Carter from the Royal Academy of Arts. Completing our panel are the co-founders of Pin Drop, former gallery owner Simon Oldfield and acclaimed author Elizabeth Day.

The programme also features Stephen Fry reading Bethan Roberts’ short story, Ms. Featherstone and The Beast, winner of the Pin Drop Short Story Award in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts.

Listen to Melvyn Bragg,  Eliza Bonham Carter, Simon Oldfield and Elizabeth Day discuss art and literature

Elizabeth Day reads an extract from her short story, On Heat

Broadcasting legend Melvyn Bragg discusses In Our Time

Welcome to The Words.

Downton Abbey star Catherine Steadman joins us for a special episode on the power of Audiobooks as the nation celebrates Love Audio Week.

The actor and author talks us through the process of writing and narrating her spectacular new thriller, Something in the Water. Meanwhile, audio expert and publisher Fionnuala Barrett joins us to discuss the medium, the genres, what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the spoken word.

And if you’re still deciding what Audiobook to listen to next, we’ve got some breathtaking extracts read by the world’s best storytellers.

Click below to listen to more extracts from this summer’s hottest Audiobooks.


You by Caroline Kepnes

You is the riveting and hypnotic story of Joe Goldberg, an obsessive yet brilliant New York bookseller, who exploits today’s technology to win the heart of Beck amid the growing suspicions of her best friend Peach.

Joe transforms himself from stalker to boyfriend while doing whatever it takes to eliminate all obstacles standing in his way — even if it means murder. Set in today’s 24/7 hyper-connected world, YOU explores how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation online and in real life.

This best-selling novel published in 2014 to rave reviews including Stephen King, will this autumn be a Netflix Original series starring Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Luca Padovan, Zach Cherry and Shay Mitchell.


No Nonsense by Joey Barton

So, you think you know Joey Barton. Think again. No Nonsense is a game-changing autobiography which will redefine the most fascinating figure in British football. It is the raw yet redemptive story of a man shaped by rejection and the consequences of his mistakes. He has represented England, and been a pivotal player for Manchester City, Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers, Marseille, Burnley and Glasgow Rangers, but his career has featured recurring controversy. The low point of being sent to prison for assault in 2008 proved to be the catalyst for the re-evaluation of his life.   

No Nonsense reflects Barton’s character – it is candid, challenging, entertaining and intelligent. He does not spare himself, in revealing the formative influences of a tough upbringing in Liverpool, and gives a survivor’s insight into a game which, to use his phrase, ‘eats people alive’. The book is emotionally driven, and explains how he has redirected his energies since the birth of his children. In addition to dealing with his past, he expands on his plans for the future.



The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer

From the author of the bestselling The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain, this is a stunningly high-concept historical novel that is both as daring as it is gripping.

December 1348: With the country in the grip of the Black Death, brothers John and William fear that they will shortly die and go to Hell. But as the end draws near, they are given an unexpected choice: either to go home and spend their last six days in their familiar world, or to search for salvation across the forthcoming centuries – living each one of their remaining days ninety-nine years after the last.

John and William choose the future and find themselves in 1447, ignorant of almost everything going on around them. The year 1546 brings no more comfort, and 1645 challenges them still further. It is not just that technology is changing: things they have taken for granted all their lives prove to be short-lived.

As they find themselves in stranger and stranger times, the reader travels with them, seeing the world through their eyes as it shifts through disease, progress, enlightenment and war. But their time is running out – can they do something to redeem themselves before the six days are up?


Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone, read by Nicky Diss

In the snowy kingdom of Erkenwald, whales glide between icebergs, wolves hunt on the tundra and polar bears roam the glaciers. But the people of this land aren’t so easy to find – because Erkenwald is ruled by an evil Ice Queen and the tribes must stay hidden or risk becoming her prisoners at Winterfang Palace.

Join Eska, a girl who breaks free from a cursed music box, and Flint, a boy whose inventions could change the fate of Erkenwald forever, as they journey to the Never Cliffs and beyond in search of an ancient, almost forgotten, song with the power to force the Ice Queen back.

A Waterstones Book of the Month, this is a story about an eagle huntress, an inventor and an organ made of icicles. But it is also a story about belonging, even at the very edges of our world . . .


Hell Bay – by Kate Rhodes, read by Stephen Perring

After ten years working for the murder squad in London, DI Ben Kitto needs a break. A traumatic event has left him grief-stricken and he needs time out from the job.

Ben plans to work in his uncles boatyard, on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher, his childhood home hoping to mend his shattered nerves. But his plans go awry when the body of sixteen year old Laura Trescothick is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Everyone on the island is under suspicion. And the murderer could strike again.

For fans of Broadchurch, this atmospheric and claustrophobic audio book is as gripping as a box set with well constructed, complex characters and un-guessable narrative twists.



You Me Everything – By Catherine Isaac read by Tania Rodrigues

Jess and her ten-year-old son William are spending the summer at Château de Roussignol, in the sunlit hills of the Dordogne. There, Jess’s ex-boyfriend and William’s father, Adam, runs a beautiful hotel in a restored castle. Jess is bowled over by what Adam has accomplished, but she’s in France for a much more urgent reason: to make Adam connect with his son. Jess can’t allow Adam to let their son down again because she knows there will come a time when William will need his father in his life.

By turns life-affirming, heart-wrenching and joyful, You Me Everything is a novel about one woman’s determination to grab hold of the family she has and never let go, and a romantic story as heady as a crisp Sancerre on a summer day. Grab your tissues though, this one is a weepy.




Century Girls – by Tessa Dunlop, read by Tessa Dunlop and Sandra Duncan

A celebration of the one-hundred years since British women got the vote, told, in their own voices, by six centenarians: Helena, Olive, Edna, Joyce, Ann and Phyllis.

With stories that are intimately knitted into the history of the British Isles, this is a time-travel epic featuring our oldest, most precious national treasures. Edna, 102, was a domestic servant born in Lincolnshire. Helena is 101 years old and the eldest of eight born into a Welsh farming family. Olive, 102, began life as a child of empire in British Guiana and was one of the first women to migrate to London after the war. There’s Ann, a 103-year-London bohemian; 100-year-old Phyllis, daughter of the British Raj, who has called Edinburgh home for nearly eighty years; and finally ‘young’ Joyce – a 99-year-old Cambridge classicist who’s still at work. It is through the prism of these women’s very long lives that The Century Girls provides a deeply personal account of British history over the past one hundred years. Their story is our story too.



Child 44 – by Tom Rob Smith, read by Dennis Boutsikaris

The debut novel by Tom Rob Smith, writer of BBC drama’s London Spy and The Assassination of Gianni Versace was made into a Hollywood film starring Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman it has become a modern crime classic.  Taking inspiration from the crimes of Andrei Chikatilo, also known as the Rostov Ripper and the Butcher of Rostov, Child 44 highlights problems with Soviet-era criminality in a state where “there is no crime”, and explores the paranoia of the age, the education system, the secret police apparatus, and the notion that in Soviet Russia, you can trust absolutely no one.

This utterly compelling, immaculately researched, international bestseller celebrates its ten year anniversary this year.  Look out for Tom Rob Smith’s next TV drama MotherFatherSon, coming soon to BBC 2 starring Sarah Lancashire and Sinéad Cusack.



Gallery of the Dead by Chris Carter, read by Thomas Judd

‘Thirty-seven years in the force, and if I was allowed to choose just one thing to erase from my mind, what’s inside that room would be it.’

That’s what a LAPD Lieutenant tells Detectives Hunter and Garcia of the Ultra Violent Crimes Unit as they arrive at one of the most shocking crime scenes they have ever attended. In a completely unexpected turn of events, the detectives find themselves joining forces with the FBI to track down a serial killer whose hunting ground sees no borders; a psychopath who loves what he does because to him murder is much more than just killing – it’s an art form.

Welcome to The Gallery of the Dead.



Killers of the Flower Moon – David Grann, read by Will Patton

From the award-winning writer and author of The Lost City of Z, comes a true-life murder story which became one of the FBI’s first major homicide investigations.

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. As the death toll climbed, the FBI took up the case. But the bureau badly bungled the investigation. In desperation, its young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. Together with the Osage he and his undercover team began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.



Kill The Angel – Sandrone Dazieri, read by Cassandra Campbell

A high-speed train from Milan draws into the station in Rome, and an horrific discovery in one carriage rocks the city. The police receive a message claiming responsibility for the act and announcing more murders to come, and they duly turn their attention to a small terrorist group of Islamic extremists.

But Deputy Police Commissioner Colomba Caselli and investigator Dante Torre does not believe this angle. For him, this feels like a smokescreen concealing the actions of a killer who has a far more terrible motivation to continue.

From the author of the bestselling Richard and Judy bookclub pick, Kill The Father,  Sandrone Dazieri has masterfully created two of the most intriguing detectives to have emerged in recent years, and a story that twists and turns like a tornado.



The North Water – Ian McGuire, read by John Keating

1859. A man joins a whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. Having left the British Army with his reputation in tatters, Patrick Sumner has little option but to accept the position of ship’s surgeon on this ill-fated voyage. But when, deep into the journey, a cabin boy is discovered brutally killed, Sumner finds himself forced to act. Soon he will face an evil even greater than he had encountered at the siege of Delhi, in the shape of Henry Drax: harpooner, murderer, monster . . .

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016, Ian McGuire has constructed a dark, masterpiece shot through with pitch-black humour for in this epic literary novel.



Perfectly Imperfect Woman – Milly Johnson, read by Colleen Prendergast

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she meets an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.

Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales.  When Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.

But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory!

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman is the heart-warming and hilarious new novel from the queen of feel-good fiction – a novel of family, secrets, love and redemption … and broken hearts mended and made all the stronger for it.


The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory, read by Bianca Amato

Jane Grey was Queen of England for nine days. Using her position as cousin to the deceased king, her father and his conspirators put her on the throne ahead of the king’s half sister Mary, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her crown and locked Jane in the Tower. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block. There Jane turned her father’s greedy, failed grab for power into her own brave and tragic martyrdom.

Philippa Gregory’s bestselling historical novels reclaim women’s places history having often been erased from the history books.  Having delighted millions of readers across the globe over 30 years, The Last Tudor is her final chapter in the bestselling Plantagenet and Tudor series.



Santa Montefiore, Stephen McGann, Catherine Isaac and Juliet Ashton join The Words podcast to discuss the secrets, lies, chaos and comforts of family life.

The Temptation of Gracie is Santa Montefiore’s thrilling new book, which spans five generations and follows an English grandmother on a mission to reconnect with her ‘secretive past’ in Tuscany – much to her family’s surprise. She’ll be joining the panel to discuss the importance of family in her writing and life.

Listen: Santa discusses the impact of family on her books

Our second guest is Catherine Isaac, whose harrowing and moving story You Me Everything sees a single mother try to track down her son’s father, while her family battles a debilitating illness.

Listen: Catherine tells her mother’s life-affirming story

Completing our panel is Juliet Ashton, whose latest book, The Sunday Lunch Club, revolves around a very modern – and rather large – family, whose many stories hold mirrors up to our own lives.

Actor Stephen McGann – himself part of a very large acting family – also joins us to discuss his family history and autobiography Flesh and Blood – a book which is much, much more than a memoir.

Listen: Stephen McGann on his family history

England cricketer Graeme Fowler joins Poorna Bell, Will Williams and Susan Elliot Wright for a frank and illuminating discussion about stress, depression, suicide and stigma ahead of Mental Health Awareness week. Approximately 1 in 4…

Benjamin Zephaniah, Ben Holden, Rupi Kaur and Rachel Spence explore the transformative power of poetry in this episode of The Words. And to top that off, bestselling poet Rupi Kaur will read a poem taken…

Chris Carter, Louise Candlish, Lisa Cutts and Andrew Wilson join Craig Robertson and Rosie Goldsmith for an investigation into the art of writing thrillers. The crime fiction genre used to be just that, fiction, and its authors…