Penguin Classics rolls out first podcast series

Penguin Classics rolls out first podcast series

Penguin Classics is launching a podcast series, "On The Road with Penguin Classics", intended inspire new readers to discover old titles.

Hosted by author and editor Henry Eliot, season one will go live across podcast platforms on 28th January. The first episode features actress Olivia Vinall, who starred in the BBC TV adaptation of The Woman in White, travelling to the Cumbrian coastline with Eliot to explore the Wilkie Collins classic.

Other guests due to appear in further episodes include Louis de Bernières, author of the bestselling Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, exploring the sights of Nuneaton featured in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, as well as critic Susheila Nasta, reminiscing on meeting writer Sam Selvon for the first time in 1976. Also to be featured are screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce on Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy and the poet Patience Agbabi on Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, as well as biographer Alexandra Harris on Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway.

The first season of "On The Road with Penguin Classics" will feature six episodes released fortnightly. Season two is meanwhile due to air later in the year.

January 2021 marks 75 years since Penguin Classics was launched with E V Rieu’s million copy-selling translation of The Odyssey in 1946. Since then, the series has grown to become geographically and chronologically the largest library of classic literature ever published.

The release of the podcast follows the first collection of Penguin Classics in audio in September 2019, releasing 50 titles featuring "Fleabag" actors Sian Clifford (reading Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D’Urbervilles) and Andrew Scott (reading James Joyce's Dubliners), as well as "Game of Thrones" actor Natalie Dormer (reading Virginia Woolf's A Room of One’s Own).

Eliot, the podcast's presenter, is the author of The Penguin Classics Book, Follow This Thread, Curiocity: An Alternative A-Z of London and The Penguin Modern Classics Book, which is due to be published in autumn 2021. He has organised literary walks including a mass public pilgrimage for the National Trust (inspired by William Morris), a re-creation of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales that raised money for the National Literacy Trust. 

The producer is Andrea Rangecroft, a radio producer whose work has been broadcast on the BBC, CBC, KALW, and Sveriges Radio, and who is part of the production team on BBC Radio 4’s "Short Cuts".