137 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 • 87 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

    #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
    #134: Toby Harnden, journalist and author

    #134: Toby Harnden, journalist and author

    Simon and Rachel speak with the journalist and author Toby Harnden. A dual British and American citizen, Toby spent a decade as a Royal Navy officer before becoming a journalist. A former foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph who has reported from 33 countries, Toby was imprisoned in Zimbabwe, faced prosecution in Britain for protecting confidential sources, and was vindicated by a public inquiry in Ireland. He specialises in terrorism and war: his books include "Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh" (1999), "Dead Men Risen: An Epic Story of War and Heroism in Afghanistan" (which was published in 2009 after a fraught battle with the British Ministry of Defence and later won the Orwell Prize) and "First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11". We spoke to Toby about getting into journalism after leaving the military, writing about the IRA and the war in Afghanistan, and his latest book "First Casualty".

    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
    #133: Ruth Ozeki, novelist

    #133: Ruth Ozeki, novelist

    Rachel and Simon speak with the novelist Ruth Ozeki. In the 1980s Ruth worked in film, first as an art director and production designer for low-budget horror films, then as a writer, producer and director of independent films. "Halving the Bones" (1995), a documentary about her family history and the process of bringing her grandmother's remains from Japan, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Her first novel, "My Year of Meats", was published in 1998 and "All Over Creation" followed in 2003. In 2010 Ruth was ordained as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest. "A Tale for the Time Being", published in 2013, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and has been published in more than 30 countries. We spoke to Ruth about her childhood interest in writing, the mutually reinforcing practises of novel-writing and Zen Buddhism, and her new novel, "The Book of Form and Emptiness", recently shortlisted for the Women's Prize.

    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
    #132: George Packer, journalist and author

    #132: George Packer, journalist and author

    Simon and Rachel speak with journalist and author George Packer. A staff writer for the Atlantic and a former staff writer for the New Yorker, George is the author of "The Unwinding: Thirty Years of American Decline", which was a New York Times bestseller and won a National Book Award. His other nonfiction books include "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq", "Blood of the Liberals", which won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award in 2001, and "Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century". He has also written two novels, "The Half Man" and "Central Square". George's writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, Harper's, and other publications. We spoke to George about writing his latest book "Last Best Hope" while in lockdown, working at the New Yorker and the Atlantic, and the journalistic climate today.

    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 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
87 Ratings

87 Ratings

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!

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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