5 Binge-worthy Literary Podcasts

by  WLT
A sprightly illustration of a woman walking her dog while listening to a podcast on her headphones.
illustration: jen rickard blair

Even we will admit you can’t read all the time. You can, however, stay connected to literature while cooking, gardening, and exercising by listening to a well-produced literary podcast. Here we suggest five of our favorites, which we’ve selected for our fellow readers of international literature.

So the next time you’re heading out the door with your dogs, tune in to one of these and add a mile to the outing.


Between the Covers

If you’ve just read (and didn’t everyone) the last line of Little Fires Everywhere and want to hear Celeste Ng talk about Shaker Heights, Between the Covers is waiting for you. In this popular podcast, host David Naimon interviews a writer on each show. Roxane Gay, Valeria Luiselli, Viet Thanh Nguyen: Naimon interviews writers who are also thought leaders and, often, someone you’ve seen in the pages of WLT.


Live! From City Lights

Listening in on a City Lights podcast is like listening in on literary history. The archive dates back to 2009 and pulls listeners into this historic bookstore’s events, where readers have read from their books and translators have discussed their processes and Joyce Carol Oates once interviewed herself, using the strange questions people have asked her, beginning with Do you write in a trance?


Speedway and Swan

This podcast is where Elliott Smith meets Adam Zagajewski. A production of the University of Arizona Poetry Center, this fortnightly radio program eclectically mixes contemporary poetry and offbeat musical selections. Host Brian Blanchfield is joined by co-hosts who read from their favorite poetry. WLT editor in chief Daniel Simon particularly recommends episode 1, which Jane Miller co-hosts.


The New Yorker Fiction Podcast

In the New Yorker’s Fiction Podcast, you’ll hear a writer read another writer’s story from the magazine’s archives. For instance, Jhumpa Lahiri reads William Trevor’s “A Day.” But you don’t just hear her read the story. She explains what the story and Trevor’s writing mean to her, and you hear her and host Deborah Treisman discuss the story. It’s an intimate master class in writing.


The Moth Podcast

If you’ve read all of Nathan Englander’s books and you just want to hear him tell a personal story, The Moth delivers. Hysterical, poignant, and sometimes even heartbreaking, these storytellers bring it all to the stage. If you’ve seen some of us—ahem—sitting in our driveways or grocery store parking lots while the ice cream melts, don’t worry about us. We’re just not getting out of our cars until the story ends.