110 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 • 80 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

    #110: William Boyd, novelist and screenwriter 

    #110: William Boyd, novelist and screenwriter 

    Rachel and Simon speak with William Boyd, bestselling novelist and prolific screenwriter. William was born in Ghana and grew up there and in Nigeria. His novels include "A Good Man in Africa," "The New Confessions," "Any Human Heart," "Restless" and most recently "Trio." He has won the Somerset Maugham Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Jean Monnet. Twenty of his screenplays have been filmed, including "The Trench", which he also directed, and he has published five collections of short stories. We spoke to William about starting out as a novelist while working as an academic, his parallel screenwriting career and the experience of writing a James Bond novel.

    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.

    • 58 min
    #109: Terri White, editor-in-chief, Empire magazine, and author

    #109: Terri White, editor-in-chief, Empire magazine, and author

    Rachel and Simon speak with Terri White, editor-in-chief of Empire magazine and author. She began her journalism career working on titles including Woman & Home and Marie Claire before joining the launch team of Nuts in 2003. In 2010, aged 29, Terri became the editor of ShortList, a men's lifestyle magazine, and moved to New York in 2014 to run Time Out New York. During that time, Terri's mental health deteriorated and she ended up in a psychiatric ward—an experience she chronicled in her acclaimed recent memoir, “Coming Undone”. We spoke to Terri about her rapid career progression, the challenges of confessional writing and her vision for Empire.

    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
    #108: Jonny Geller, literary agent, Curtis Brown

    #108: Jonny Geller, literary agent, Curtis Brown

    Rachel and Simon speak with Jonny Geller, one of the best known literary agents in London. Jonny joined Curtis Brown in 1993 as an assistant after a short career as an actor. He became a literary agent in 1995 after discovering a novel on the unsolicited pile which went on to sell rights worldwide. He became CEO of the agency in 2012 and is now also CEO of the overall Curtis Brown Group. Jonny's clients include novelists William Boyd, Monica Ali, Tracy Chevalier, David Mitchell and Elif Shafak, as well as former British prime minister Gordon Brown and the musician Bono. He represented David Cornwell, aka John le Carré, until his death last year and now represents his estate, as well as that of James Bond creator Ian Fleming. We spoke to Jonny about his unusual entry into the world of literary agenting, his approach to selling books, and how he combines the role of CEO with handling his authors. Jonny's agent's manifesto is available here and his Tedx Talk is here.

    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 price of any four-week, six-week or ten-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.

    • 59 min
    #107: Leaf Arbuthnot, journalist and novelist

    #107: Leaf Arbuthnot, journalist and novelist

    Rachel and Simon speak with journalist and novelist Leaf Arbuthnot. She has written for publications including the TLS, the Sunday Times and the New Statesman and she is currently the film critic and acting features editor at Tatler. Her first novel, “Looking for Eliza”, about the unlikely friendship between two lonely women in Oxford, was published by Orion in 2020. She has also written “The Birthday Party”, a serialised novel, and is working on a play about the Magnitsky Act. We spoke to Leaf about student journalism, writing engaging reviews and releasing her debut book in lockdown.

    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
    #106: Simon Sebag Montefiore, historian and novelist

    #106: Simon Sebag Montefiore, historian and novelist

    Simon and Rachel speak with Simon Sebag Montefiore, a historian and novelist whose books have been published in 48 languages. His history books include "Catherine the Great and Potemkin", which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson and Duff Cooper Prizes, "Young Stalin", which won the Costa Biography Award (UK) and "Jerusalem: The Biography" which won the Wen Jin Prize in China. His Moscow trilogy of novels comprises "Sashenka", "Red Sky at Noon" and "One Night in Winter." We spoke with Sebag, as he likes to be known, about interviewing Margaret Thatcher as a schoolboy, his adventures in the Russian archives, and combining history and writing novels.

    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 2 min
    #105: Rosie Nixon, editor-chief, Hello! magazine and novelist

    #105: Rosie Nixon, editor-chief, Hello! magazine and novelist

    Rachel and Simon speak with Rosie Nixon, editor-in-chief of Hello! and novelist. Rosie has worked in the magazine industry for more than 20 years and has previously held senior roles at Grazia, Glamour and Red. In 2017 Rosie was named Editor of the Year by the British Society of Magazine Editors in the entertainment and celebrity category. She is also the author of three novels, “The Stylist”, “Amber Green takes Manhattan” and “Just Between Friends”. Her first non-fiction book, “Kindness Counts”, will be released in November. We spoke to Rosie about her early jobs at teen magazines, covering the royal family and the compulsion to write novels.

    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.

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
80 Ratings

80 Ratings

Tom_Bro ,

Educational and Entertaining

If you’re pursuing a career as a writer, interested in writing or simply a fan of the guests ATN is a necessary listen. The hosts always get something interesting out of the guests and even if you don’t know their work the interview is always enjoyable.

PrincessJen70 ,

Really informative

Am making my way through the back catalogue and am learning a lot. The interviews are great. Only downsides are that I had to turn one of them off because the person was SO negative about the world of writing I started to feel a bit depressed about ever getting published, and most people are so terribly posh it would be nice to have a few more working class people on there!

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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