Whitechapel-based author Steve Boggan can now boast a 100 per cent success rate in having his books selected for Radio Four’s Book of the Week: his second book, Gold Fever, fills the popular reading slot this week.
Boggan, a freelance journalist for a number of national newspapers and a visiting tutor in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths in Lewisham, told Eastlondonlines he was “delighted”. He recalled: “I was flabbergasted to have been chosen because it was my second time. I just couldn’t believe it.”
Boggan’s debut, Follow the Money, was chosen to be Book of the Week in 2012. The book, which was turned into a feature-length documentary following a successful Kickstarter campaign, told the story of “a month in the life” of a ten-dollar bill as it was traded across the United States.
Gold Fever is Boggan’s fish-out-of-water account of his 2013 gold prospecting expedition to California and the eclectic cast of characters he met along the way.
The Golden State has been the scene of a “new gold rush” since the financial crisis of 2008. The price of gold more than doubled between October 2008 and October 2012.
Though it has fallen since then, it remains over 50 per cent higher than in October 2008, drawing a new generation of idiosyncratic prospectors to dig and pan their way through the Californian wilderness.
The author is characteristically self-effacing in describing the book’s origins, saying: “I just found myself in the middle of some extraordinary events and wanted to write about them.”
Boggan admits to having no insider knowledge about the broadcast itself: “It was contracted out to an independent production company. They abridged it, chose the actors (the brilliant Paul Ritter as me) and recorded it. I get to hear it only at the same time as everyone else.”
When asked whether he thought the recent general election result would affect the book’s relevance or popularity, Boggan replied: “Not really – except a lot more unfortunate people will be thrown onto the scrap heap with the plans for continuing austerity. Perhaps some of them will go looking for gold.”
Book of the Week features serialised readings of a selected title each week. It is broadcast at 9:45am every weekday and repeated at half past midnight.