The London Library Podcast launches today (18th November) and will feature a leading writer or figure in the cultural world discussing the books which have shaped them. The first guest is social historian, author of bestselling The Five and London Library member Hallie Rubenhold.

Each month the guest will be in conversation with The London Library’s Director, Philip Marshall and will delve into the Library’s archive and collection to uncover treasured books and nuggets of historical detail about the guest’s book choices.

The London Library Podcast is a celebration of books and the ideas they inspire and a personal love letter from each guest to the books that have been most influential to them.

Hallie Rubenhold’s book choices are: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Les Miserables by Victor Hugo; The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1600 - 1800 by Lawrence Stone; Clarissa by Samuel Richardson and Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

As well as discussing these books and what they mean to her, Hallie Rubenhold looks at the reaction to her bestselling The Five, including the trolling she’s received from Ripperologists, the need to tell lost women’s voices from history and gives a glimpse of the history behind the books that have shaped her.

A London Library member Hallie Rubenhold says: “The Library was absolutely essential to writing my three books. I would not be able to manage as a writer without the London Library and I will get on my soapbox and proselytise until the cows come home… Not only does the Library provide a fantastic resource… but also I found the community of writers here is just fantastic.”

From the Library’s collection, Philip and Hallie look at a range of books including a late 19th century edition of Les Misérables with the iconic image of Cosette, which is used on film and theatre posters worldwide and the Library membership form of Lawrence Stone, author of The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1600 – 1800 which shows that Stone was a London Library member while he wrote this book.

Philip Marshall, director of The London Library comments; “I’m delighted that we are launching The London Library Podcast. As well as giving us the chance to speak to some brilliant authors, publishers and cultural figures about the books which have shaped their world, we hope through discussing books and historical material in the Library’s collection that it will bring the Library to life for the listener.”

December’s guest will be novelist Harriet Evans and her book choices include: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis; The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend, The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

Other guests lined up to share the books that shaped them include: Rare book expert and actor Neil Pearson; Jacaranda founder and publisher Valerie Brandes, Dhaka Literary Festival Director Ahsan Akbar and Rough Trade’s Nigel House.

The London Library Podcast can be downloaded now on most podcast platforms, or listened to on our website. Episodes are 30 mins long and new episodes will be released in the middle of each month.