148 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 • 93 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

    #148: Oliver Bullough, journalist and author

    #148: Oliver Bullough, journalist and author

    Simon and Rachel speak to the journalist and author Oliver Bullough. After studying history at university Oliver moved to Russia, where he worked first for an English-language magazine in Saint Petersburg, then for The Times of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan, and subsequently for Reuters, where he covered the war in Chechnya. Oliver's early books - "Let Our Fame Be Great" in 2010 and "The Last Man in Russia" in 2013 - examined respectively the Caucasus and a dissident Orthodox priest. His more recent books have focused on financial crime, with "Moneyland" in 2018 and this year with "Butler to the World". Oliver's journalism also appears in the Guardian, the Sunday Times, the New York Times, and GQ. We spoke to Oliver about writing about oligarchs in the year that Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, navigating the complexities of English libel law, and the response to "Butler to the World".

    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.

    • 58 min
    #147: Tina Brown, journalist, editor and author

    #147: Tina Brown, journalist, editor and author

    Rachel and Simon speak to the journalist, author and editor Tina Brown. She began working as a freelance journalist as a student and contributed to publications including the New Statesman, the Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph; in 1973 she won the Catherine Pakenham award for the most promising female journalist under the age of 25. In 1979 she was invited to edit Tatler, in 1984 she took over at Vanity Fair and in 1992 she became the first woman to become editor-in-chief of the New Yorker, a position she held until 1998. She was inducted into the Magazine Editors' Hall of Fame in 2007—the same year "The Diana Chronicles", her bestselling biography of the Princess of Wales, was published. In 2008 she set up the Daily Beast, a news website. We spoke to Tina about breaking into journalism and running Tatler in her 20s, editing marquee American publications in the 1980s and 1990s, and her latest book on the British royal family, "The Palace Papers".

    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 2 min
    #146: Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, academic and author

    #146: Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, academic and author

    Simon and Rachel speak with the academic and author Robert Douglas-Fairhurst. After undergraduate studies and a PhD at Cambridge, Robert moved to Oxford in 2002, where he is a professor of English Literature and a fellow of Magdalen College. His previous books include "Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist", which won the Duff Cooper Prize for biography in 2011; "The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland" in 2015, which was shortlisted for the Costa Prize, and most recently "The Turning Point: A Year that Changed Dickens and the World" (2021). Robert has edited editions of Charles Dickens, Charles Kingsley and J.M. Barrie, and is a regular contributor to the Times, Guardian, Spectator, Literary Review, New Statesman and TLS. He has worked as a historical advisor on BBC adaptations of "Jane Eyre" (2006), "Emma" (2009) and "Great Expectations" (2011); acted as a consultant to the "Enola Holmes" film franchise; and served as a judge for the Man Booker and Baillie Gifford prizes. We spoke to Robert about combining an academic career with writing for a wider audience, his biographies of Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll, and his upcoming book "Metamorphosis."

    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
    #145: Kit de Waal, novelist and short-story writer

    #145: Kit de Waal, novelist and short-story writer

    Rachel and Simon speak with the novelist and short-story writer Kit de Waal. Born in Birmingham to an Irish mother and a Caribbean father, she worked for several years in criminal and family law, sitting on adoption panels and writing manuals on foster care. Her experience in this field informed her debut novel, "My Name is Leon", which was published in 2016 after a six-way auction and was adapted into a television film this year. Kit has also worked to increase diversity in publishing, using some of her advance from "My Name is Leon" to fund a creative-writing scholarship and editing "Common People: An Anthology of Working-Class Writers" in 2019. We spoke to Kit at Wimbledon BookFest about getting published for the first time in her 50s, about class and publishing and "Without Warning and Only Sometimes", her new memoir.

    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 Creative Writing for Beginners, 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.

    • 54 min
    #144: Marlon James, novelist

    #144: Marlon James, novelist

    Simon and Rachel speak with novelist Marlon James. Born in Jamaica in 1970, his novel "A Brief History of Seven Killings" won the Man Booker Prize in 2015, and was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in the United States and a New York Times Notable Book. Marlon is now working on a trilogy of African fantasy novels, which began with "Black Leopard, Red Wolf", a finalist for the US National Book Award for fiction in 2019, followed by "Moon Witch, Spider King" in 2022. His earlier novels include "The Book of Night Women", which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2010, and "John Crow’s Devil", his debut in 2005. We spoke to Marlon about growing up in Jamaica and his decision to leave the country, winning the Booker Prize in 2015, and his new "Dark Star" trilogy.

    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 Creative Writing for Beginners, 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.

    • 58 min
    #143: Perminder Mann, CEO, Bonnier Books UK

    #143: Perminder Mann, CEO, Bonnier Books UK

    Rachel and Simon speak with Perminder Mann, CEO of Bonnier Books UK. She was the first member of her family to go to university, where she studied drama; after declining an unpaid internship in the media, she turned to publishing, working in sales first at Macmillan, then Transworld and Bonnier. She left Bonnier for a stint in the toy industry, but returned to the company several years later. In 2015 and 2016 she was included on the Bookseller's list of the most influential people in publishing. She became CEO of Bonnier Books UK in 2018, and is also chair of the Publisher’s Association Consumer Publishers Council. We spoke to Perminder about her entry into publishing, her work at Bonnier, now the seventh-largest publisher in Britain, and the idea of author as brand.

    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 Creative Writing for Beginners, 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

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
93 Ratings

93 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

Top Podcasts In Arts

Somethin:Else Creative Studio
BBC Radio 4
Jessie Ware
The Guardian
A Somethin’ Else / Jay Rayner production with Sony Music Entertainment
Avery Trufelman

You Might Also Like

The London Review of Books
Unbound
Literary Friction
The TLS
Longform
BBC Radio 3