113 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

    #113: Lennie Goodings, chair of Virago Press

    #113: Lennie Goodings, chair of Virago Press

    Simon and Rachel speak with Lennie Goodings, chair of Virago Press. Born in Canada, Lennie came to Britain in the 1970s and joined Virago as a publicist in 1978. In subsequent roles—first in marketing, then as publisher—Lennie has worked with authors including Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Sarah Waters and Linda Grant. She won the Bookseller's Industry Award for Editor and Imprint of the Year in 2010, a Lifetime's Achievement Award at the Women of the World festival in 2018 and was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2020. Her book, "A Bite of the Apple", a memoir-cum-history of Virago, was published in 2020 by Oxford University Press. We talked to Lennie about the early years of her career, the intimacy of editing a writer's work and how the business of feminist publishing has evolved.

    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 3 min
    #112: Simon Scarrow, novelist

    #112: Simon Scarrow, novelist

    Rachel and Simon speak with historical novelist Simon Scarrow. Simon worked first as a schoolteacher, before becoming a full-time writer. His Roman-era "Eagles of the Empire" series has sold over 4 million copies in the UK alone, and his work has been translated into 24 languages. His other work includes a quartet of novels about the lives of the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte, a novel about the 1565 Siege of Malta, a contemporary thriller written with Lee Francis, and "Blackout", the first in a new series set in Berlin during the early months of the Second World War. We spoke to Simon about his interest in historical fiction, the surprisingly varied readership of his novels and the financial benefits of writing a series.

    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
    #111: Kate Mosse, novelist and founder of the Women's Prize For Fiction

    #111: Kate Mosse, novelist and founder of the Women's Prize For Fiction

    Simon and Rachel speak with novelist Kate Mosse. The author of nine novels and short-story collections, as well as four plays and three works of non-fiction, her writing has been translated into 38 languages and published in more than 40 countries. "Labyrinth", the first volume in her hit "Languedoc Trilogy", was the bestselling title in Britain in 2006. Kate is also the founder and director of the Women's Prize for Fiction, the largest annual celebration of women's writing in the world. We spoke to Kate about the history and future of the Women's Prize, her years in publishing and crafting historical fiction.

    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 5 min
    #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

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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