140 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
    • 4.5 • 90 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

    #140: Colin Thubron, travel writer and novelist

    #140: Colin Thubron, travel writer and novelist

    Simon and Rachel speak with the novelist and travel writer Colin Thubron. Colin worked in publishing in London and New York before writing his first travel book, "Mirror to Damascus", in 1967. Other early books continued to focus on the Middle East, but later he was drawn towards the Soviet Union and Communist China. In 1982 Colin travelled by car into the Soviet Union, a journey described in "Among the Russians". His best-known travel books include "Behind the Wall" (winner of the Hawthornden Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Award), "In Siberia" (which won the Prix Bouvier) and "Shadow of the Silk Road". Colin has also written eight novels, and between 2008 and 2017 he served as president of the Royal Society of Literature. We spoke to Colin about exploring Russia, China and central Asia, his latest book, "The Amur River", and his parallel career as a fiction writer.

    This episode was produced in conjunction with the London edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival, and is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative, the writing school attached to the major literary agency. CBC has provided an exclusive discount for Always Take Notes listeners. You can use the code ATN20 for £20 off the full price of Writing a Memoir, or any other four- or six-week online writing course.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways and on Instagram @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
    #139: Antonia Fraser, historian and novelist

    #139: Antonia Fraser, historian and novelist

    Rachel and Simon speak with the historian and novelist Antonia Fraser. She began her career in the 1950s as an assistant to George Weidenfeld, the co-founder of Weidenfeld & Nicolson, a British publishing house. Lady Antonia wrote her first book, "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table", in her early twenties; her first major historical work, "Mary Queen of Scots", was published in 1969. Since then she has written biographies of Oliver Cromwell, Charles II, the six wives of Henry VIII and Marie Antoinette, the last of which was adapted into a film directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Kirsten Dunst. She has also written two volumes of autobiography, including "Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter". Lady Antonia has served as President of English PEN and Chairman of the Society of Authors. We spoke with her about the success of "Mary Queen of Scots", her research process and her new book, "The Case of the Married Woman".

    This episode is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative, the writing school attached to the major literary agency. CBC has provided an exclusive discount for Always Take Notes listeners. You can use the code ATN20 for £20 off the full price of Writing a Memoir, or any other four- or six-week online writing course.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways and on Instagram @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.

    • 55 min
    #138: Sebastian Junger, journalist, author and film-maker

    #138: Sebastian Junger, journalist, author and film-maker

    Simon and Rachel speak with journalist, author and film-maker Sebastian Junger. Attracted since childhood to “extreme situations and people at the edges of things,” Sebastian grew up in New England and worked as a high-climber for tree removal companies. After a chainsaw injury, he decided to focus on journalism, primarily writing about people with dangerous jobs. That led to his debut book in 1997, "The Perfect Storm", an account of the loss of a fishing boat, which went on to sell over 3.5 million copies and was made into a film starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. Sebastian has reported on conflict in the Balkans, West Africa and Afghanistan, and as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair established a partnership with British photographer Tim Hetherington, with whom he collaborated on the documentary "Restrepo" in 2010. The film was nominated for an Oscar before Hetherington's death in Libya in 2011. Sebastian's other books include "War", "Tribe" and most recently "Freedom". We spoke to Sebastian about his smash-hit debut, his time as a war reporter, and his latest book.

    This episode is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative, the writing school attached to the major literary agency. CBC has provided an exclusive discount for Always Take Notes listeners. You can use the code ATN20 for £20 off the full price of Writing a Memoir, or any other four- or six-week online writing course.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways and on Instagram @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
    #137: Monica Ali, novelist

    #137: Monica Ali, novelist

    Rachel and Simon speak with the novelist Monica Ali. Granta named her one of their brightest young British novelists in 2003 ahead of the publication of her first book, “Brick Lane”, which was then adapted into a film in 2007. She is also the author of “Alentejo Blue”, “In the Kitchen”, “Untold Story” and “Love Marriage” and has been nominated for awards including the Booker prize, the Orwell prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. We spoke to Monica about her smash-hit debut, her screenwriting work and her latest book, “Love Marriage”.

    This episode is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative, the writing school attached to the major literary agency. CBC has provided an exclusive discount for Always Take Notes listeners. You can use the code ATN20 for £20 off the full price of Plot & Story – The Deep Dive, or any other four- or six-week online writing course.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways and on Instagram @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
    #136: David Mitchell, novelist

    #136: David Mitchell, novelist

    Simon and Rachel speak with novelist David Mitchell. Raised in Worcestershire in England, Mitchell later spent eight years living in Japan. The author of nine novels, including "Cloud Atlas", "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" and most recently "Utopia Avenue", David has been nominated for the Booker prize five times. His work has appeared in over 30 languages. David's novel "The Bone Clocks" (2014) won the World Fantasy Book Award and his screenwriting credits include "Matrix: Resurrections". We spoke to David about his 'multiverse' approach to fiction, the smash hit that was "Cloud Atlas", and his screenwriting work.

    This episode is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative, the writing school attached to the major literary agency. CBC has provided an exclusive discount for Always Take Notes listeners. You can use the code ATN20 for £20 off the full price of Plot & Story – The Deep Dive, or any other four- or six-week online writing course.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways and on Instagram @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 4 min
    #135: Sian Meades-Williams, journalist and author

    #135: Sian Meades-Williams, journalist and author

    Rachel and Simon speak with journalist and author Sian Meades-Williams. She has written for publications including the Guardian, the Independent, the Times and the New York Times and is the creator of Freelance Writing Jobs, a media-industry newsletter. In 2021 she launched the Freelance Writing Awards and in March 2022 she published "The Pyjama Myth", a guide to "the highs, lows and in-betweens of life in the competitive world of freelance writing". We spoke to Sian about getting into journalism, making her first steps as a freelancer and her new book.

    This episode is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative, the writing school attached to the major literary agency. CBC has provided an exclusive discount for Always Take Notes listeners. You can use the code ATN20 for £20 off the full price of Writing a Memoir, or any other four- or six-week online writing course.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways and on Instagram @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

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
90 Ratings

90 Ratings

mac_fleurie ,

Another take on your favourite authors

Simon and Rachel are a brilliant interview duo and always ask the interesting and sometimes tough questions. It means you get to hear a different side to some really famous authors. Full of advice you can use in your own writing practice.

Charlie Mets ,

Brilliant resource for early-career journalists

Plenty of fascinating conversations with the best in the business - all worth mining for tips and tricks. It's also a fantastic way to discover brilliant journalism in the stories put forward by interviewees.

Rvdrnaut ,

Great view into a hidden world

Gets into the details of publishing including the touchy subject of money. Insightful. Ian Rankin episode my favourite

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