By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 8 March 2022
I chat with author Orna Ross about writing, poetry, and starting the Alliance of Independent Authors. We get drawn into the power of Buddhist poetry and the joy of reading about murders. Orna shares her thoughts on why guilt has no place in reading, no matter what the genre is.
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 15 February 2022
I chat with fabulous Canadian author Susin Nielsen about her new book, writing for TV and how it differs to writing for children, and why she returns again and again to middle grade fiction. We also discuss the difference in showing internal thoughts in novels and on TV and how powerful and influencing children’s books can be on our lives.
Things mentioned in the episode: Tremendous Things by Susin Nielsen Family Law – tv series Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen David Sedaris A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend Elmer the Patchwork Elephant by David McKee Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo Margaret Atwood
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 8 February 2022
I chat with children’s author Rashmi Sirdeshpande about her favourite books, her discovery of narrative poetry, beautiful books, and what gives her inspiration for her own writing. Rashmi writes non-fiction books for children to inspire them and also be fun. We chat about Rashmi’s giant fact checking tables and how she found writing her first fiction book. Rashmi’s non-fiction often covers important and heavy issues and we discuss how difficult this can be to write as well as to keep hopeful for the children reading it.
Things mentioned in the episode: Lucy Cuthew Manjeet Mann Elizabeth Acevedo Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew Beowulf Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Michelle Harrison Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman Dom Conlon This Rock That Rock by Dom Conlon & Viviane Schwarz Rikin Parekh This Book Has Alpacas and Bears by Emma Perry, illustrated by Rikin Parekh Cash by Rashmi Sirdeshpande Never Show a T-Rex a Book by Rashmi Sirdeshpande Never Teach a Stegasaurus to do Sums by Rashmi Sirdeshpande Diane Ewen Stronger: Changing Everything I Knew About Women’s Strength by Poorna Bell
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 14 December 2021
I got the chance to chat with debut author Carly Heath all about her new book The Reckless Kind and the importance of representation in YA literature. There are lots of horses alongside the disability and LGBTQ+ storyline so of course we went on a magical journey discussing writing horses in literature and the joys and perils of carriage driving!
Things mentioned in the episode: The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath Becky Albertalli The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller Cerce by Madeline Miller House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil Happy Times in Norway by Sigrid Undset
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 9 December 2021
I catch up with Cat & Dan and we discuss Cat’s research on disability in publishing, as well as all things friction, especially related to accessibility and disability. We talk about CV gaps, how accommodating accommodations are, the way reasonable adjustments can make a huge difference to people, and how reducing friction can make things more accessible.
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 7 December 2021
Content warning: we talk about mental illness, chronic illness, and suicide.
I chat to prolific and award winning author Marcus Sedgwick all about his writing process, the therapeutic effects of writing, and how important reading can be for mental wellbeing. We also discuss Marcus’ research into illness and writers and how illness has affected his writing practice, alongside his as yet unpublished book on chronic illness.
Things mentioned in the episode: Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick My Swordhand is Swinging by Marcus Sedgwick The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick The Dark Flight Down by Marcus Sedgwick The Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick David Almond The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann Death in Venice by Thomas Mann Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick All in Your Head by Marcus Sedgwick This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay Sylvia Plath Virginia Woolf On Being Ill by Virginia Woolf Sigmund Freud Carl Jung Black Beauty by Anna Sewell Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction by Frank Kermode
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 30 November 2021
This week I chat with cartoonist, illustrator and writer Tom Gauld all about drawing, writing, and creating witty comics. We also chat about his new book The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess which he wrote and illustrated. An interesting insight into the mind of a very busy creator!
Things mentioned in the episode: Amphigorey by Edward Gorey PG Wodehouse Jeeves and Wooster TV show The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey Grimm’s Fairy-Tales The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage by the Brothers Grimm
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 23 November 2021
This week UCL’s Vice Dean of Wellbeing, Professor Samantha Rayner, chats with Henry Eliot, Creative Editor of Penguin Classics, about his new book. They meander through literary landscapes, how the time of year affects how we perceive stories, why we reach for classics, the wellbeing effects of walking and reading, and how one goes about creating compendium and companion books.
Things mentioned in the episode: The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer William Morris Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory PG Wodehouse Finnegans Wake by James Joyce Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy Iain Sinclair The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne Charles Dickens War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy David Copperfield by Charles Dickens The Small Hand by Susan Hill The Penguin Modern Classics Book by Henry Eliot Crossing the Mangrove by Maryse Condé Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara The Penguin Classics Book by Henry Eliot Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan Women, Race and Class by Angela Y. Davis The Book of Disquiet by Bernardo Soares Água Viva (The Stream of Life) by Clarice Lispector Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift Selected Poems of TS Eliot The Travels of Sir John Mandeville by John Mandeville Ernest Hemingway Graham Green Ivy Compton-Burnett Colette JD Salinger The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati Franz Kafka Samuel Beckett Locos by Felipe Alfau
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 16 November 2021
I chat with writer and academic Professor Sunny Singh all about translations, why representation is needed and how important it is to see other people’s stories. We also chat about the Jhalak Prize, whether teaching creative pursuits is therapeutic, and how powerful the stories and relationships attached to books can be.
Things mentioned in the episode: Salman Rushdie Amitabh Bachchan by Prof Sunny Singh Georgette Heyer Hindi and Urdu poetry The Grand Sophie by Georgette Heyer Inferno by Dante Hotel Arcadia by Prof Sunny Singh Alice Walker Critical Fictions: The Politics of Imaginative Writing bell hooks Three Fat Men (Три толстяка) by Yury Olesha Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 9 November 2021
Illustrator and bookseller Tamsin Rosewell joins me today to talk about her experiences of reading and how she made the move into bookselling and illustration. She shares her deep love of non-fiction and how the speed at which you read has no bearing on how good a book is. We chat about parcel hogs, window displays, and whether Blake’s Tyger was in fact an epic cat.
Things mentioned in the episode: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman Catherine Johnson Cecily by Annie Garthwaite Shadowghast by Thomas Taylor M. R. James Georgette Heyer Thornhill by Pam Smy The Reacher Guy by Lee Child Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake The Tyger by William Blake Tiger Heart by Penny Chrimes