200 episodes

We're a weekly podcast for anyone who writes. We talk to writers about their writing journeys and techniques, from early career debuts to self-publishers and narrative designers. We've featured Margaret Atwood, Jackie Kay, Sara Collins, Antti Tuomainen, Val McDermid, Sarah Perry, Elif Shafak and many more!

The Writing Life is produced by the National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall in Norwich.

The Writing Life National Centre for Writing

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 16 Ratings

We're a weekly podcast for anyone who writes. We talk to writers about their writing journeys and techniques, from early career debuts to self-publishers and narrative designers. We've featured Margaret Atwood, Jackie Kay, Sara Collins, Antti Tuomainen, Val McDermid, Sarah Perry, Elif Shafak and many more!

The Writing Life is produced by the National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall in Norwich.

    Liz Breslin & Tiffany Atkinson on discovering yourself through writing

    Liz Breslin & Tiffany Atkinson on discovering yourself through writing

    In the third of our Imagining the City podcasts, New Zealand writer Liz Breslin talks to British academic and poet Tiffany Atkinson about writing communities and how writing can help you discover yourself. Liz also reads two of her poems, including one from her new collection, In Bed with the Feminists.
    Flo Reynolds also jumps on the pod to introduce the next Book Club book, In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri.
    Hosted by Simon Jones and Steph McKenna.
    BCLT Event with Jhumpa: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/whats-on/sebald-lecture-jhumpa-lahiri/
    Our City of Literature events: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/cityoflit-21/
    Imagining the City resources: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/imagining-the-city/ 
    Join the Discord community: https://discord.gg/3G39dRW
    Music by Bennet Maples.

    • 51 min
    Polish writer Marcin Wilk talks to Joe Hedinger from The Book Hive

    Polish writer Marcin Wilk talks to Joe Hedinger from The Book Hive

    Our Imagining the City series continues with virtual writer in residence Marcin Wilk, at home in Krakow, talking to bookseller Joe Hedinger from Norwich's famous Book Hive bookshop. Marcin is a non-fiction writer and has written two biographies of famous Polish women and a history of Poland in the year before World War 2. They talk about writing in the pandemic, Polish culture and history, how to be organised when you're very busy, his love of Virginia Woolf and much more.
    Audio quality is a little lower than usual due to irritating technical glitches - apologies
    You can find out more about Imagining the City and read Marcin's articles here: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/imagining-the-city/
    Find out more about our City of Literature strand at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival: http://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/cityoflit-21/
    Join our Discord: https://discord.gg/3G39dRW 
    Hosted by Simon Jones and Steph McKenna.
    Music by Bennet Maples.

    • 1 hr 44 min
    Julian of Norwich & biscuits with Vahni Capildeo and Jeremy Noel-Tod

    Julian of Norwich & biscuits with Vahni Capildeo and Jeremy Noel-Tod

    Writer Vahni Capildeo stayed with us in a virtual residency back in February and is joined in this week's episode by Jeremy Noel-Tod, editor, critic and Senior Lecturer in Literature at the University of East Anglia. Together they discuss Vahni's work, the inspiration found in places like Norwich and Edinburgh, the influence of Julian of Norwich and much more besides - all while enjoying an imaginary afternoon tea at the Maid's Head Hotel.
    We recommend reading Lighthouse and Anchorage by Vahni before listening to this episode: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/lighthouse-and-anchorage-journal-entries/ 
    Vahni stayed with us as part of the month-long Imagining the City event, which you can find out about here: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/imagining-the-city/
    Hosted by Steph McKenna and Simon Jones
    Read Keeping A Writerly State of Mind: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/keeping-a-writerly-state-of-mind-two-reflections/
    Read Five Everyday Writing Tips for any Writer: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/five-everyday-writing-tips-for-any-writer/
    Did you know you can buy All Shall Be Well prints to help fund our work and remember Julian of Norwich? https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/buy-a-julian-of-norwich-screen-print/
    Join our free Discord community and let us know your favourite biscuit: https://discord.gg/3G39dRW
    Music by Bennet Maples.

    • 55 min
    Writing a short story collection with Jo Lloyd + Norfolk & Norwich Festival!

    Writing a short story collection with Jo Lloyd + Norfolk & Norwich Festival!

    Winner of the BBC Short Story Award in 2019, Jo Lloyd has now published her collection The Earth, Thy Great Exchequer, Ready Lies, and joins Chris Gribble on the pod to discuss her work, the challenges of going from one award-winning story to an entire collection, how the American short fiction market differs from the UK and why she prefers editing to writing.
    Meanwhile, NCW programme director Peggy Hughes explores our hugely exciting City of Literature line-up for the 2021 Norfolk & Norwich Festival, most of which can be enjoyed online and entirely for free!
    Main interview begins at 15:00.
    Hosted by Simon Jones and Steph McKenna.
    Book your (free!) City of Literature events: http://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/cityoflit-21/
    Join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/3G39dRW 
    Music by Bennet Maples.

    • 46 min
    Neill Cameron on writing for young comics readers, representation, The Phoenix & MEGA ROBO BROS

    Neill Cameron on writing for young comics readers, representation, The Phoenix & MEGA ROBO BROS

    Writer and illustrator Neill Cameron is on the pod to talk about his debut novel Freddy Vs School, the long-running comic series MEGA ROBO BROS and contributing to fab weekly children's comic The Phoenix. Neill discusses how he got into comics and writing for younger readers, how he works complex themes into accessible stories, making the comics form easy for new readers and why fart jokes and punchy robots are every bit as important as the serious stuff. Meanwhile, Simon pretends that he gets The Phoenix for his son to read.
    ALSO on the pod today is Flo Reynolds, making a return to intro the latest Book Club book in the form of Abir Mukherjee's A Rising Man. Find out more here: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/the-ncw-book-club/ 
    Hosted by Steph McKenna and Simon Jones.
    Join our Discord and say hello! https://discord.gg/3G39dRW 
    Check out the amazing NNF City of Literature programme: http://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/cityoflit-21/ 
    Find out more about what we do at https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/ 
    Listen to our earlier pod with Anni Domingo: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/anni-domingo-on-the-writing-of-breaking-the-maafa-chain/ 
    Music by Bennet Maples.

    • 59 min
    Ambiguity & metaphor in The Last Good Man with Thomas McMullan

    Ambiguity & metaphor in The Last Good Man with Thomas McMullan

    What is The Last Good Man about? When Duncan Peck arrives at a remote village in Dartmoor, he immediately notices the wall towering over it and displaying messages written by the inhabitants. Simon read it as a metaphor for social media and online discourse, Thomas references anonymous, public writing in China, and the book remains resolutely ambiguous. 
    Thomas joins us on the pod to discuss the balance of information needed to keep a book ambiguous, with the discussion taking in everything from Gamergate, Twitter, the concept of 'lore', the differences between stage and page, the curious magic inherent to the act of reading and his use of third person present tense to create an unsettling atmosphere.
    Hosted by Simon Jones and Steph McKenna.
    Join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/3G39dRW
    Find out more about what we do: http://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/ 
    Music by Bennet Maples.
    Photo by Jonathan Rin.

    • 1 hr 12 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

Francoisedelondres ,

Apart from...

Apart from the excruciatingly chauvinistic and grudging introduction to the October 2015 Killer Women episode, by the miscast Paul Johnson, these are for the most part excellent looks at writers and the world of writing.

DropTheShoulder ,

So helpful

Wanted to leave feedback to say this podcast is so useful and the guests are great. I am now working with the writing coach that Julia Crouch mentioned. Just listened to applying to an agent and that was great.
Keep up the good work!

CurlyWurlyWoop ,

Interesting stuff!

Lots of really interesting writers talking about a huge range of subjects - fascinating for writers and readers alike.

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