Mobeena and Paul discuss all things Bibliotherapy.
How can books and poetry help our well-being?
And our first listener request for Dear Shelf Life, about books for introverts.
Episode contents & timings:
Intro                                                   00:00 - 01:55
What have we been reading?            01:55 - 07:05
Dear Shelf Life: Books for introverts  07:05 - 13:10
"Book Doctor" project                       13:10 - 19:05
Poetry                                                19:05 - 26:15
Library well-being collections           26:15 - 28:45
Further discussion on bibliotherapy 28:45 - 35:45
Outro                                                 35:45 - End
Book list & transcript coming soon

A recording of an online talk and Q&A with Sunday Times bestselling crime author Elly Griffiths ( who discussed her recent novel The Night Hawks, and the craft of writing, in conversation with bestselling Bristol novelist Jane Shemilt (


The Night Hawks
Dr Ruth Galloway returns to the moody and beautiful landscape of North Norfolk to confront another killer. A devastating new case for our favourite forensic archaeologist in the thirteenth novel in this acclaimed and bestselling crime series.
The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor's death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder.Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm.Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner's suicide note includes the line, 'He's buried in the garden.' Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog.All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near.


About the Author
Bestselling crime author Elly Griffiths worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer.
Her series of Dr Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk and regularly hit the Sunday Times top ten in hardback and paperback. The series has won the CWA Dagger in the Library and has been shortlisted three times for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. There are twelve books in the series so far with number thirteen to be published in February 2021.
Her Brighton-based mystery series set in the 1950s and 1960s is inspired partly by her grandfather’s life on the stage and the war magician Jasper Maskelyne, who claimed to have spent the war creating large scale illusions to misdirect the enemy. One of the two leading characters in the series Max Mephisto is based on Maskelyne.In 2017 she was the Programming Chair of Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Festival in Harrogate, the oldest and best-established crime fiction festival in the UK.
In 2018 Elly wrote her first standalone novel The Stranger Diaries. The novel was a top 10 paperback bestseller, selected for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club and as a summer 2019 Richard and Judy book. Her second standalone The Postscript Murders came out in autumn 2020.
In 2019 Elly published her first children's book in spring 2019 to great reviews with a second following in 2020.
Elly Griffiths lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their two grown children.


Transcript coming soon


Shelf Life listener survey:

We talk with Mary Milton, an active member of the Sea Mills community, about Sea Mills 100: the centenary project that explores and celebrates this garden suburb’s social history.
The project has culminated in a micro museum, a number of outdoor events, a podcast, and most recently, a book, entitled “How Lucky I Was: A book of Sea Mills memories.”
It’s a fascinating journey into a place with a remarkable history. Built originally as a pragmatic but idealist council housing estate, for veterans of World War One, Sea Mills can tell us a lot about what housing can mean.
We hear about what Mary learned, and what surprised her, as she developed Sea Mills 100.
Find out more about the project here:

Transcript coming soon

Please help inform future episodes by completing our listener survey:

Words of Colour & Bristol Libraries present a panel discussion on the theme Politics, Power & Protest, with Muneera Pilgrim & special guests
(Please scroll down for links, including reading recommendations)

Based on the theme of  Power, Protest and Politics in the BBC 100 Novels That Shaped Our World longlist, 'Power, Protest & Poetry' was a series of online literary events  with international poet Muneera Pilgrim, encouraging participants to create works in response to the books and our times. 

In this podcast episode, we share with you the final event, 'Power, Protest & Poetry: The Bristol Edition'. It took place online, on Thursday 8th April 2021, and was a panel discussion on the theme Politics, Power & Protest with Heather from Words of Colour (see description below), Muneera Pilgrim (see bio below), and special guest Colin Ward, from the Bristol Radical History Group ( There was also a reading of selected poems from the workshops, plus a special performance from Muneera Pilgrim. 

What does it mean to have witnessed the pulling down of the Colston Statue, and the 'Kill The Bill' protests? What does it mean to live in one of the most segregated cities in the country? If you were given a platform, what would you write?

By its nature, this discussion was more political than our usual content, so just to remind you that any opinions expressed here are not those of Bristol Libraries, but rather the views of whoever was speaking.

Muneera Pilgrim is a Bristol born international Poet, Cultural Producer, Writer, Broadcaster and TEDx speaker. She co-founded the Muslim Hip-Hop and spoken word duo Poetic Pilgrimage, and she is a co-founder of Black Muslim Women Bike. 
She regularly contributes to BBC 2’s Pause for Thought, she is a community artist with In Between Time, and alumni associate artist with The English Touring Theatre where she is writing her first play. Muneera’s first full poetry collection will be released late 2021 with Burning Eye books.
Muneera has written for The Guardian, Amaliah, Huffington Post, The Independent, Al Jazeera, Black Ballard and various other platforms. She has been featured across the BBC network, as well as Sky News, Sky Arts, and Al Jazeera. In 2015 a documentary about her former group Poetic Pilgrimage was commissioned by Al Jazeera, “Hip-Hop Hijabis has been screened several times since.
 Find her on  Instagram  and Twitter (@MuniPilgrim). 

Words of Colour Productions is a Creative Development Agency for writers, artists, creatives and entrepreneurs of colour that collaborates with organisations and institutions who are ready to actively commit to systemic transformation programmes that inspire and facilitate inclusion and action. Find Words of Colour on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.

BBC Novels That Shaped Our World: 

Muneera Pilgrim's Reading Recommendations: 

Poetry showcase online:

Transcript coming soon


Please help inform future episodes by completing our listener survey:

We chat with Andy, a library assistant at Bishopsworth Library, about living with dyslexia and working in libraries, and what we can offer to support dyslexic readers.

Shownotes and transcript for this episode coming soon

On a separate note, we've launched a listener survey to help inform future episodes - please help us out by filling it in, if you can spare a moment - - thanks!

*Please note: this episode contains mild sexual references , so may not be suitable for all audiences.*
We're excited to share with you our recording of an author event Bristol Libraries hosted during LGBT+ History Month this year.
In this recording, Frank Wynne, a literary translator, writer, and editor, discusses his latest book ‘Queer: LGBTQ Writing from Ancient Times to Yesterday’ with writer, publisher, and co-chair of Out Stories Bristol, Cheryl Morgan.
A little about Wynne’s book - ‘Queer’ is a compilation of 80 of the finest works representing queer love by LGBTQ authors. It contains stories, poems, extracts, and scenes from countries all over the world and throughout time, and is an unabashed, unapologetic anthology that gives voice to LGBT+ people, who, as we know, are often unfairly silenced.
Shownotes and transcript coming soon.

Mum's Jumper is "a simple, heartfelt and ultimately uplifting book for anyone coping with loss" (
We talk with the book's author & illustrator, Jayde Perkin, and publisher, Greet Pauwelijn.
We talked about how they created the book, the public’s response to it, and the power of books to process grief and start difficult conversations. 
They also discussed personal experiences of dealing with grief, sharing some useful tips & reflections, as well as some book recommendations.
Booklist & Transcript:

An evening with bestselling author, broadcaster, classicist & comedian Natalie Haynes, discussing her latest book, Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths.

This episode was created from the recording of an event with Libraries Connected and Bristol Libraries on 20th November 2020.

Transcript coming soon.


More background :

Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths

The Greek myths are among the world's most important cultural building blocks and they have been retold many times, but rarely do they focus on the remarkable women at the heart of these ancient stories.

Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, from the Trojan War to Jason and the Argonauts. And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost three thousand years ago. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and have routinely shown little interest in telling women’s stories. And when they do, those women are often painted as monstrous, vengeful or just plain evil. But Pandora – the first woman, who according to legend unloosed chaos upon the world – was not a villain, and even Medea and Phaedra have more nuanced stories than generations of retellings might indicate.

Now, in Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths, Natalie Haynes – broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist – redresses this imbalance. Taking Pandora and her jar (the box came later) as the starting point, she puts the women of the Greek myths on equal footing with the menfolk. After millennia of stories telling of gods and men, be they Zeus or Agamemnon, Paris or Odysseus, Oedipus or Jason, the voices that sing from these pages are those of Hera, Athena and Artemis, and of Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Eurydice and Penelope.

'Funny, sharp explications of what these sometimes not-very-nice women were up to, and how they sometimes made idiots of . . . but read on!' – Margaret Atwood

About the Author

Natalie Haynes is a writer and broadcaster. She is the author of five books including A Thousand Ships, which was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020, The Children of Jocasta and The Amber Fury, as well as a non-fiction book about Ancient History, The Ancient Guide to Modern Life.

She has written and presented two series of the BBC Radio 4 show, Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics. In 2015, she was awarded the Classical Association Prize for her work in bringing Classics to a wider audience.

A Thousand Ships: Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020

One of the Guardian's and TLS's 'Best Books of 2019'

In A Thousand Ships, broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes retells the story of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective, for fans of Madeline Miller and Pat Barker.

This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of them all . . .

In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen.

From the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all, these are the stories of the women embroiled in the legendary war.

Powerfully told from an all-female perspective, in A Thousand Ships Natalie Haynes puts the women, girls and goddesses at the centre of the story.

'With her trademark passion, wit, and fierce feminism, Natalie Haynes gives much-needed voice to the silenced women of the Trojan War' – Madeline Miller, author of Circe

'A gripping feminist masterpiece' Deborah Frances-White, The Guilty Feminist

We chat with Jill Parsons from Imayla CIC about building creative connections with children in St Paul's Library last summer. She discusses the challenges and rewards of letting children lead on creative projects, how to enthuse them about literature, and working with to process difficult emotions using art and books. 

We also talk about what we've been reading, and introduce a new feature, Dear Shelf Life, in which Jill asks us about book recommendations for young people's mental health.


Read the transcript here:


Find out more about Imayla CIC here:

Richard Ovenden OBE discusses his latest book, 'Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack', a Radio 4 Book of the Week.

"Libraries and archives have been attacked since ancient times but have been especially threatened in the modern era. Today the knowledge they safeguard faces purposeful destruction and willful neglect; deprived of funding, libraries are fighting for their very existence. Burning the Books recounts the history that brought us to this point." - Harvard University Press


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