William Boyd's Book Club

Introducing Book Club, our new video series inviting writers, artists and performers to share the books which matter to them. First to take us on a tour of his extensive book shelves is the novelist and screenwriter William Boyd.

William Boyd's BOOK CLUB


Born in Accra, Ghana to Scottish parents, Boyd was working as a lecturer in English at Oxford’s St Hilda’s College, and TV critic for The New Statesman when his debut novel A Good Man in Africa was published in 1981. The work won both the Whitbread Book Award and the Somerset Maughan Award.

Boyd has gone on to write 13 further novels, including the Booker Prize shortlisted An Ice-Cream War (1982), the Booker Prize longlisted Any Human Heart (2002) and the Costa Book Awards Novel of the Year, Restless (20006). Boyd has also penned multiple screenplays, theatre pieces and non-fiction works.

In William Boyd’s Book Club the author talks us through some of the ‘over 10,000’ books that occupy the shelves of his London home, from the miniscule Victorian Thumb Dictionary, to the more contemporary novels of David Szalay and Evie Wyld.

I think there must be over 10,000 books here. You can’t just chuck books out if you don’t want them, so they sort of pile up
William Boyd

You can see some of the world's leading authors and writers on our stage as part of our year-round literary programme of talks.

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Bibliography (in order of appearance)

  • Larkin, Philip (1951) XX Poems
  • Hefford Cocking, Frances M. (ed.) (1900) The Composer's Vade-Mecum: English-Italian Dictionary of Terms
  • Bryce, David (ed.) (1893) The Thumb Dictionary
  • Wilson, Edmund (1975) The Twenties: from notebooks and diaries of the period
  • Waugh, Evelyn (1945) Brideshead Revisited
  • Wyld, Evie (2013) All The Birds Singing
  • Szalay, David (2016) All That Man Is