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A Beginner’s Guide to Literary Podcasts

There are so many ways to love books that have nothing to do with reading. And even when you can’t be reading, you can still celebrate your love of books by listening to people talk about books. I asked the bookternet what their favorite literary podcasts are, and boy did they deliver. There are a lot of them out there, so here’s a simple list to get you started on the best bookish programming that isn’t a book.

We’ll start with some well-loved literary podcasts. These are well-known, and give you excellent pieces of writing:
Selected Shorts:  A podcast featuring famous people reading short stories. What’s not to love?
Longform: When I asked around for literary podcasts, several people suggested this one, and I like to think my friends are very smart.
New Yorker Fiction: It’s really all in the name. This podcast is wonderful literary folks reading short pieces from the magazine and then discussing them with The New Yorker’s own Deborah Triesman.

Just good old-fashioned chatting about books and writing:the catapult podcast image
The Lit Up Show:  Another favorite among the folks I asked, this is a podcast featuring writers talking about their new work, what they’re reading now, and whatever else comes up along the way with writer Emily Gould and interviewer for Interview Magazine, Angela Ledgerwood.
The Catapult: A bimonthly podcast that features two to three authors reading bits of their own writing. The best part is that the works featured vary from poetry to fiction to non-fiction.
Literary Disco: Three friends, one of whom happens to be Rider Strong, you know, Shawn from Boy Meets World?, chatting about books. They go from childhood classics like Animorphs all the way to Camus.

Brand Spanking New!
A Phone Call from Paul: Lit Hub just announced they’ve got a podcast! There’s only been one so far, but it’s Live from NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber calling his friends to see what they’re up to. The first episode is with Neil Gaiman so we can’t wait to hear more of this podcast.

Book Riot, a well-known place for things bookish and fun has a family of three podcasts:
The Podcast: Brought to you by the editors of Book Riot, a discussion of what’s hip and happening in the world of books.
Dear Book Nerd: Advice of all kinds for well, you guessed it, book nerds.
Reading Lives: Insightful discussions and conversations about reading with fascinating folks.

Since a lot of you work in publishing, some podcasts about life in publishing:
Minorities in Publishing: An important series of conversations with minorities working throughout the publishing world. (Check out my 2014 interview with them here.)
Writing in Real Life: A series by two publishing professionals who happen to be married to each other about publishing, writing, and parenting.

Funny AND Literary:
Dead Author Podcast: While this podcast has sadly come to a close you can go back and listen to H.G. Wells (played by Paul F. Tompkins) going into his time machine to interview authors who are now dead.
Two Book Minimum: Blending books and humor in one podcast. Each episode promises a comedian, an author, and a comedian/author. What’s not to love? (This one hasn’t been updated in a while, but I can’t find anything that said it’s officially over, so enjoy the backlist!)

Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know!


  1. Gil Roth says:

    Feel free to peruse my Virtual Memories Show archives at or at

    It’s a weekly literary interview podcast featuring conversations with writers, artists, critics, cartoonists and other folk. Past guests (there are more than 130 episodes) include Clive James, Jules Feiffer, Roz Chast, JD McClatchy, Irvine Welsh, Michael Dirda, Jonathan Galassi, Walter Kirn, Wayne White, Daniel Goldhagen, Ron Rosenbaum and Drew Friedman.

  2. Shaun says:

    You (everyone) should also check out Book Fight, a lit podcast from the Philly area with two professional writers/professors. The thing I like most about this podcast is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but can also talk in depth about the works they discuss.

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