BBC Radio 2 producer Joe Haddow will next week launch a podcast called “Book Off!”, in which authors, comedians and figures from the music and film worlds will argue the case for one book that is of importance to them. The fortnightly show will invite two guests to “pitch” a book they love and feel everyone should read; Haddow will choose a winning title, based on the passion and persuasiveness of each pitch, at the end of the episode.
The first two guests are The Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins and Irish novelist John Boyne, with Hawkins pitching Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Boyne presenting The Go Between by L P Hartley. The launch episode will be available to stream or download via SoundCloud and iTunes on Wednesday (27th June). Haddow will showcase a live demo of the format, featuring Mark Billingham and Sarah Winman, on that date at an event at London’s St Pancras Clock Tower.
The second episode will feature Lionel Shriver and Tracey Chevalier; the third John Niven and Viv Groskop. Haddow is financing the podcast himself, but is in talks with Audible to partner on the venture.
He told The Bookseller: “For about a year, so many people have said to me, ‘You should do a podcast’. After the seventh or eighth person from the book industry said that to me, I thought I’d go for it.” He added: “I think podcasts are growing more popular because they are becoming more accessible—they are easier to listen to on your phone on your commute. My podcast joins some great book podcasts already out there, but I think there is still a way to go with them.”
The Book Off! podcast can be followed on Twitter and Instagram via the @ohdobookoff handle.