We were thrilled to welcome British actor, director and producer Adjoa Andoh onto the Women’s Prize podcast to chat all things books with Vick Hope. Star of stage and screen – and dubbed the ‘undisputed queen of audio and radio drama’ – Adjoa’s illustrious acting career spans over 30 years, and today she is best known for her leading role as the indomitable Lady Danbury in Netflix’s global smash-hit Bridgerton.

Adjoa Andoh talks to Vick about the five books that have shaped her worldview, and she reflects on the ways reading has taught her to find humanity and beauty in even the harshest places. Keep on reading to discover Adjoa Andoh’s brilliant Bookshelfie choices – and make sure to catch up on the full conversation here.

Just William

by Richmal Crompton

Find out more

‘I always really resonated with William; I love his disrespect for authority, I love how he always manages to make himself right in any given circumstance … I just wanted to be in William’s gang.’

Green Darkness

by Anya Seton

Find out more

‘I was in this youth hostel in the middle of the Lake District, so there were trees everywhere around us … I read it on my bunk bed, voraciously, and couldn’t wait to get back to my bed.’

A Question of Power

by Bessie Head

Find out more

‘It’s not a happy book and there’s no happy resolution either – and I really liked that … However distressed [Bessie Head] is in her heart, in her mind, in her spirit, she keeps writing … She left books that little mixed-race girls like me could come to.’

After Leaving Mr Mackenzie

by Jean Rhys

Find out more

‘Lady Danbury would share my delight in the Pernod-drinking, Rive Gauche set; tragic but then with great big flares of fabulousness. It’s a sort of glamorous penury. Lady Danbury would certainly love the glamorous, she wouldn’t be so good on the penury.’

The Bluest Eye

by Toni Morrison

Find out more

‘This is probably my favourite book of all time … [It contains] one of the most breath-taking passages in any book I’ve read, because it says there’s a whole history of sorrow and survival and ingenuity and making beauty in hard places.’

You won’t want to miss the wonderful stories behind Adjoa’s 5 Bookshelfie choices – go on, listen to the episode in full here. We have plenty more reading inspiration from stars of the stage and screen, including Claire Danes, Minnie Driver and Kim Cattrall. Check out the full list of Women’s Prize podcast guests here.