20 episodes

Journalist Hattie Crisell visits the studies of writers of all kinds – novelists, screenwriters, poets, journalists and more – to find out how they write, why they write, and what they can teach us about doing it better.

In Writing with Hattie Crisell Hattie Crisell

    • Books
    • 4.9, 128 Ratings

Journalist Hattie Crisell visits the studies of writers of all kinds – novelists, screenwriters, poets, journalists and more – to find out how they write, why they write, and what they can teach us about doing it better.

    Jon Ronson, storyteller

    Jon Ronson, storyteller

    My final guest of the second series is Jon Ronson: journalist, documentary-maker, screenwriter, and author of wonderful narrative longform non-fiction. Jon’s books include The Psychopath Test and So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, and he tells me about the complicated legacy of the latter. In his work he’s delved into some murky worlds, including the Ku Klux Klan, the pornography industry and the Church of Scientology, and found the humour and pathos in subjects that most of us would overlook. In this conversation he explains why he appears as a character in his own work, the years of research that go into each story, and why empathy is the key to it all.

    • 51 min
    Kit de Waal, novelist

    Kit de Waal, novelist

    Kit de Waal, whose books include My Name Is Leon, The Trick to Time and the new short story collection Supporting Cast, joins me this week from her home in the West Midlands. Kit started writing in her mid-forties, and remembers being stunned by how hard it was. In our chat she reflects honestly on that time, the stories that worked, the novels that didn’t, and how getting too interested in her characters tripped her up. She also spills the beans on her plotting spreadsheet, her knack for tackling heartbreaking subjects with lightness and warmth, and how she cracked the problem of description.

    • 42 min
    Robert Popper, comedy writer

    Robert Popper, comedy writer

    TV writer Robert Popper joins me for a chat this week, fresh off the sixth series of his Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner. Robert has been involved in some of the best British comedy of the last 20 years; he co-wrote the cult favourite Look Around You, a spoof science documentary series that ran from 2002 to 2005, and worked as a script editor on Peep Show, The Inbetweeners and The IT Crowd. He is also the alter ego of Robin Cooper, author of The Timewaster Letters. He tells me how he made an artform out of writing insane things to strangers; the unorthodox way he broke into the television world (it also involved letter-writing); and why in comedy, the story must always come before the jokes.

    • 48 min
    Mhairi McFarlane, novelist

    Mhairi McFarlane, novelist

    Mhairi McFarlane is the author of six great novels in the genre of romantic comedy/chick lit (delete as preferred), including her most recent, If I Never Met You. This week she speaks to me from her front room – she does not have or want a study – about the process of rewriting her first book, You Had Me At Hello, and what she learned along the way, plus the essential components of a good romcom.

    • 38 min
    Will Harris, poet and essayist

    Will Harris, poet and essayist

    This week I chat to Will Harris, a London-born poet and essayist of mixed Anglo-Indonesian heritage. Will’s debut poetry collection RENDANG came out in February; previously he was perhaps best known for the essay Mixed-Race Superman, which was published in 2018, and which The New York Times called “A zany, exuberant and highly original meditation on what it means to come of age as a mixed-race person in a predominantly white world.” He spoke to me about how engaging with his family history helped his poetry, the value of therapy as a writer, and why in his work, the political can’t be separated from the personal.

    • 47 min
    Alexandra Shulman, editor, novelist and memoirist

    Alexandra Shulman, editor, novelist and memoirist

    Alexandra Shulman joins me this week to talk about life on both sides of the divide: editor and writer. At the helm of Vogue, she spent 25 years herding journalists. Now she has a column in the Mail on Sunday and has this year published a book that blends memoir with fashion history, Clothes and Other Things that Matter. We talk about the article that changed her career, the challenge of writing two novels with a full-time job, and the value of storytelling in journalism.

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
128 Ratings

128 Ratings

Jane1774 ,

Wonderful podcast

A wonderful podcast. Informative, honest and interesting, but above all the interviewees are encouraging and kind in their responses. It is a very inspiring listen.

newtoldn ,

My new favourite!

Absolutely love this... fascinating to hear the nitty gritty of the writing life. More please!

Karl Plewka ,

Karl Plewka

Fantastic podcast. Thank you! More please...

Top Podcasts In Books

Listeners Also Subscribed To