122 episodes

Always Take Notes is a fortnightly podcast from London for and about writers and writing. Hosts Simon Akam and Rachel Lloyd speak to a diverse range of people in the industry on a variety of topics, from the mysteries of slush piles and per-word rates, to how data are changing the ways newspapers do business and how to pitch a book. patreon.com/alwaystakenotes

Always Take Notes Always Take Notes

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 6 Ratings

Always Take Notes is a fortnightly podcast from London for and about writers and writing. Hosts Simon Akam and Rachel Lloyd speak to a diverse range of people in the industry on a variety of topics, from the mysteries of slush piles and per-word rates, to how data are changing the ways newspapers do business and how to pitch a book. patreon.com/alwaystakenotes

    #122: David Baldacci, novelist

    #122: David Baldacci, novelist

    Simon and Rachel speak with bestselling American novelist David Baldacci. A former trial lawyer, after early attempts at screenwriting David published his first thriller, "Absolute Power", in 1996. A film adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. David has now published 43 novels for adults; his books have sold 150 million copies worldwide, in over 45 languages and more than 80 countries. David's notable characters include Amos Decker, Aloysius Archer, Atlee Pine and John Puller, and he has also published seven novels for young readers. We spoke to David about the origin and publication of "Absolute Power", balancing series and standalone novels, and negotiating a better deal with publishers. 

    This episode is sponsored by Writing Magazine, who have provided an exclusive discount for listeners of Always Take Notes. Download their digital magazine and try their introductory subscription offer at 3 issues for just £4.99 (worth £18). Claim this offer online at: https://pocketmags.com/offer/warners-group/atnwritingm

    We’ve this year launched a new tier on the podcast’s crowdfunder on Patreon. Our most generous supporters now receive intimate mini-episodes in which past guests answer three revealing questions, as well as a two-month trial (worth $26) to the automated transcription service Otter.ai. If you’re a journalist, Otter is a great tool to organise interview audio. It can also capture conversations in in-person or virtual meetings, and it’s available in English across Web, iOS, Android, Zoom and Google Meet.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    #121: Hollie McNish, poet

    #121: Hollie McNish, poet

    Rachel and Simon speak with the poet Hollie McNish. After rising to prominence online, she has published four collections of poetry: “Papers”, “Cherry Pie”, “Why I Ride” and “Plum”. “Nobody Told Me”, a collection of prose and poetry about parenthood taken from Hollie's diaries, was published in 2016 and won the Ted Hughes award for New Work in Poetry. In May she released “Slug...and other things I've been told to hate”, a bestselling poetic memoir. She has also recorded an album of poetry and music, co-written a play about the history of women's football in Britain, and has just finished a reimagining of “Antigone”. We spoke to Hollie about the difference between poets and spoken-word artists, launching a career in the artform, and how she deals with hostile critics.

    This episode is sponsored by Writing Magazine, who have provided an exclusive discount for listeners of Always Take Notes. Download their digital magazine and try their introductory subscription offer at 3 issues for just £4.99 (worth £18). Claim this offer online at: https://pocketmags.com/offer/warners-group/atnwritingm

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, on Instagram @alwaystakenotes, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Simon Akam and Rachel Lloyd, and produced by Artemis Irvine. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

    • 59 min
    #120: Gary Younge, journalist and author

    #120: Gary Younge, journalist and author

    Rachel and Simon speak with journalist and author Gary Younge. Born in Hertfordshire to Barbadian parents, in his final year at university Gary won a bursary from the Guardian to study journalism at City University. He started working at the Guardian in 1993, and after reporting from all over Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean, he was appointed the Guardian’s US correspondent in 2003. In 2015 he returned to London where he became the Guardian’s editor-at-large. In 2020 he left the paper to take up a post at the sociology department at Manchester University. Alongside his journalism Gary has written five books, including "Another Day in the Death of America, A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives" and "The Speech, The Story Behind Martin Luther King’s Dream". We talked to Gary about his career at the Guardian, his non-fiction books and his decision to enter academia.

    This episode is sponsored by Writing Magazine, who have provided an exclusive discount for listeners of Always Take Notes. Download their digital magazine and try their introductory subscription offer at 3 issues for just £4.99 (worth £18). Claim this offer online at: https://pocketmags.com/offer/warners-group/atnwritingm

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, on Instagram @alwaystakenotes, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Simon Akam and Rachel Lloyd, and produced by Artemis Irvine. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    #119: Tracy Chevalier, novelist

    #119: Tracy Chevalier, novelist

    Rachel and Simon speak with novelist Tracy Chevalier. Tracy moved to Britain from America in the 1980s and worked in publishing before completing an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She is now the author of ten novels, including "Girl With a Pearl Earring", which has sold more than 5m copies worldwide and been adapted into a film and a play as well as a forthcoming opera. We talked to Tracy about her rigorous research process, the usefulness (or not) of the label "historical fiction", and avoiding the temptation to repeat the same trick twice.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, on Instagram @alwaystakenotes, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Simon Akam and Rachel Lloyd, and produced by Artemis Irvine. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

    • 56 min
    #118: Alex Wade, libel lawyer, journalist and author

    #118: Alex Wade, libel lawyer, journalist and author

    Simon speaks with Alex Wade, a libel lawyer, journalist and author. Alex began life at law firm Carter-Ruck and went on to work as a lawyer for national newspapers. A spell off the rails in his early 30s saw Alex reinvent himself as freelance journalist and take up boxing. His experience of the then-subterranean world of white-collar boxing led to his first book, "Wrecking Machine". Alex went on to write two books about surfing and, in 2016, his first novel, "Flack's Last Shift", was published. Alex now combines working as a media lawyer for the firm Reviewed and Cleared with writing, and, from his current base in the south of France, is working on a new book, "A Season on the Med", about football in the Mediterranean. Simon spoke to Alex about the business of helping authors, publishers, podcasters and broadcasters avoid being sued, as well as Alex's own colourful past.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, on Instagram @alwaystakenotes, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Simon Akam and Rachel Lloyd, and produced by Artemis Irvine. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

    • 59 min
    #117: Val McDermid, novelist

    #117: Val McDermid, novelist

    Rachel and Simon speak with novelist Val McDermid. After graduating from university Val worked as a journalist for 16 years, earning the nickname “Killer” on account of her determination to always get the story. She left journalism to pursue novel-writing full-time, and to date has sold more than 17m books across the world. Dubbed the “Queen of Crime”, Val is the author of several acclaimed series, following Dr Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan, private detective Kate Brannigan, journalist Lindsay Gordon, and cold-case detective Karen Pirie. In August she published “1979”, the first in a new strand about Allie Burns, a reporter. We spoke with Val about her years as a tabloid journalist, the art and the necessity of juggling multiple book series at once and how attitudes towards crime writing have changed in recent decades.

    This episode of Always Take Notes is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative. Go to www.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk to find out more about their creative writing courses. Use code ATN20 for £20 off the full price of any six-week online course.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Simon Akam and Rachel Lloyd, and produced by Artemis Irvine. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

JMaryM ,

Loved the Jonny Gelller interview

I've only come to this podcast series recently. However I have to say it's moved to the top of the list of 'must listen' podcasts. Highly recommended.

SB Tang ,

An excellent, useful podcast

If you're remotely interested in writing a book or writing for leading magazines, then this podcast is a must. The hosts interview writers, editors, publishers and agents who explain how to best report, research, pitch, write and edit a book or article — the kind of invaluable industry knowledge that not enough universities provide!

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