It all started when…
Backlisted launched two years ago and is now one of the most popular book podcasts. Each episode features a guest (usually a writer) who has chosen a book they love and which they think deserves a wider audience. Though sponsored by the crowd-funding publisher Unbound, it isn’t about selling new product: it’s about how and why some books stand the test of time.
Our listeners are committed, adventurous readers. As well as lively, well-informed discussion we include readings and audio clips of the featured author. Our job is to make you want to read the book.
Backlisted’s listener base is growing rapidly: total plays so far in 2018 have equalled the entire number of plays we had in 2016. This seems amazing to us, as the books chosen are often obscure (who guessed more than 8,000 people want to listen to an hour on Anita Brookner!) Backlisted is regularly in the Literature Top 10 on iTunes (with over a hundred five-star reviews), we have a burgeoning programme of live recordings at book festivals and some bookshops even have special ‘Backlisted’ tables.
Q: How do you select the books featured?
A: The main book featured is usually chosen by the guest. We also have a (long) list of books we’d love to cover but for it to happen we have to find a guest who feels as passionate about the book as we do.
Q: How do you select your guests?
A: There are no strict criteria. Most are writers or critics, but not all. Some are already known to us; some have put themselves forward; some we approach. All have great knowledge and enthusiasm about the book they want to champion.
Q: Can I suggest a book?
A: We’re open to suggestions – contact us via Twitter (@BacklistedPod or #backlisted) – but don’t be offended if we can’t always accommodate the suggestions. We have a lot of people patiently waiting their turn already…
Q: How can I support the show?
A: The most obvious way to support what we do is to spread the word among your friends. Send them links on Twitter and Facebook, drop it in to conversations, play it loudly when they are passengers in your car. You can also rate us on iTunes (that helps us gets us noticed by Apple). And you can even make a donation to help cover the running costs of the show (and earn a grateful shout-out on the show). Just hit the Donate button on the navigation bar.
Q: Where can I buy the books?
A: The simple answer is through the links on the show notes section of this website. Obviously, some of the newer books will be available through your favourite local bookshop, but we are partnered by the online retailer Hive. The advantage of using Hive, apart from free UK delivery, is that Backlisted earns some money from each transaction; you can also donate a proportion of the money you spend to your favourite local bookshop (this only works if you are UK based).
Q: What is it about Anita Brookner?
A: One of the nice things about Backlisted is the way in which it has grown into a record of John and Andy's reading discoveries and enthusiams. In the case of Anita Brookner, Andy read her novel Latecomers in March 2016 shortly after she died - you can hear him talk about it at the beginning of the episode devoted to The High Window by Raymond Chandler. Since then Andy has read all 24 of her novels, of which his favourite is Look At Me, and he now considers her one of his favourite writers; he likes to think she'd approve but it seems doubtful. Meanwhile our Brookner episode with the wonderful Lucy Scholes and the equally wonderful Una McCormack is one of our most popular.
Q: How do you find the time to read so many books?
A: We don't find the time, we make it. We're very lucky to have an excuse to read so many fantastic books and we like audiobooks and long commutes.