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 • 34 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.

    Researching for fiction with Jon McGregor

    Researching for fiction with Jon McGregor

    In this episode of The Writing Life podcast, NCW Chief Executive Peggy Hughes is joined by author Jon McGregor to discuss researching for fiction.
    Jon McGregor is an award-winning author and short story writer. He has been nominated for the Booker Prize for three of his novels, including his 2002 debut If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, which also went on to win the Betty Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award. His third novel, Even the Dogs (2010) earned McGregor the International Dublin Literary Award in 2012, whilst his 2017 work Reservoir 13 scooped up the Costa Book Award. His latest book Learn Fall Stand was a Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month.
    Together, they discuss his book Lean Fall Stand, which was inspired by his travels to Antarctica in 2004. They also touch on the challenge of writing complicated characters and storylines, how to turn real-world experience into fiction, and the importance of risk taking in writing.

    • 48 min
    Writing soaps with James McDermott & Stephen Keyworth

    Writing soaps with James McDermott & Stephen Keyworth

    In this episode of The Writing Life, scriptwriters Stephen Keyworth and James McDermott discuss the craft and industry of writing for long-running radio or television serials, commonly known as soaps.
    Stephen Keyworth is an award-winning director and writer who has worked extensively as a director in theatre and written over 60 hours of television, film and radio.  His doctors episode ‘The Joe Pasquale Problem’ was shortlisted for the Writers Guild of Great Britain Awards, and his Radio 4 adaptation of The Man Who Fell To Earth can currently be heard on BBC Sounds.
    James McDermott is a writer based in East Anglia. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with an MA in Scriptwriting and First Class BA Honours in Scriptwriting and Performance. James has written multiple episodes of BBC One soap opera 'EastEnders' and plays for BBC Radio 4. His short films include 'Clause', which was nominated for Best East Anglian Film at Norwich Film Festival 2023.
    Together, they discuss their personal journeys into writing for soaps, the process of writing a script, and the power of humour in this kind of writing. They also touch on life as a freelance writer, the importance of structure in a writing routine, and what they were able to learn from watching the episodes they wrote for.

    • 48 min
    Writing narrative non-fiction with Dan Richards & Edward Parnell

    Writing narrative non-fiction with Dan Richards & Edward Parnell

    In this episode of The Writing Life, we’re joined by writers and NCW Academy tutors Dan Richards and Edward Parnell to discuss the process of researching, writing, and publishing narrative non-fiction books.
    Dan Richards is a writer and journalist who specialises in travel, memoir, and culture. He has taught at Bristol University, and currently tutors for NCW Academy. His book Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth examines the appeal and pull of far-flung shelters in mountains, tundra, forests, oceans & deserts; landscapes which have long inspired adventurers, pilgrims, writers, & artists. His new book, Overnight, an exploration of nocturnal operations which replenish, repair and protect the world whilst most of us are asleep, is set to be published later this year.
    Edward Parnell has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He’s been the recipient of an Escalator Award from the National Centre for Writing, and has taught Creative Non-Fiction wish us since 2020. His second book, Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country, a work of narrative non-fiction was published in hardback in the UK during October 2019 by William Collins, and subsequently released in the UK and US in paperback in October 2020. The book was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize 2020 for memoir and autobiography.
    Both Dan and Edward are tutors for our online tutored creative non-fiction courses, and you can find out when their upcoming courses with us by visiting nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/academy/tutored-courses/
    Together, they discuss their experiences researching and writing their books Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country and Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth, the importance of being open to all subject manners and commission possibilities, and how writing non-fiction allows you to meet and connect with groups of people from various walks of life. They also touch on the ongoing editing process of writing non-fiction, the advantages of not writing in a linear way, and the differences in the process and pay of writing a non-fiction book compared to a fiction novel.

    • 58 min
    How to be a craftivist with Sarah P Corbett

    How to be a craftivist with Sarah P Corbett

    In this episode of The Writing Life podcast, NCW Chief Executive Peggy Hughes is joined by author and professional campaigner Sarah P Corbett to discuss craftivism, a form of activism and collective empowerment that is centered on practices of craft.
    Sarah P Corbett is an activist, author, speaker, and the founder of Craftivist Collective. She is known for developing the 'gentle protest' approach to activism, which is activism that is slow, attractive, kind, strategic and deeply engaging. She is the author of three books on craftivism and her new book, The Craftivist Collective Handbook, which was published on 2 May 2024.
    Together, Peggy and Sarah discuss her new book, The Craftivism Collective Handbook, which features instructions for twenty craftivism projects, and delves into the methodology on gentle craftivism. They also touch on how craft can provoke people to think about social change, the links between craftivism and wellbeing, and how social media enabled her to build a strong community of craftivists.

    • 50 min
    Writing for performance with HighTide

    Writing for performance with HighTide

    In this episode of The Writing Life, Holly is joined by Colchester-based playwright and HighTide/Peggy Ramsay Foundation writer in residence Nicola Werenowska and Norwich-based folk musician Georgia Shackleton to discuss writing for performance.
    Nicola and Georgia were central to the development of Suffolk-based theatre company HighTide’s touring show Ghost Stories by Candlelight, which we were lucky enough to host at Dragon Hall last autumn. Ghost Stories by Candlelight was a brand new commission that brought together stories, music and song to tell a set of chilling, contemporary ghost stories that celebrate the people, landscape and fragile natural world of East Anglia… And we are very excited to announce that HighTide will return to Dragon Hall as part of a new tour in autumn 2024.
    Together, Holly, Nicola and Georgia discuss the process of writing collectively, and the particular characteristics of ghost stories. They also touch on the representation of different voices and identities in the performance world, and the importance of place in their writing.

    • 43 min
    Writing poetry with Martin Figura

    Writing poetry with Martin Figura

    In this episode of The Writing Life, NCW Chief Executive Peggy Hughes is joined by award-winning poet Martin Figura to discuss the process of writing poetry, and how things make their way into his poetic imagination.
    Martin Figura was born in Liverpool and lives in Norwich. His collections include The Little Book of Harm (Firewater Press, 2000), Ahem (Eggbox, 2005) and Whistle (Arrowhead, 2010), which deals with the murder in 1966 of his mother, June, by his father Frank. His collection and show Whistle were shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award and won the 2013 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show. The Remaining Men is his latest full collection. 
    Together, they discuss Martin’s latest poetry collection The Remaining Men, why he chose to write about those whose lives are too easily dismissed by society and government, and what inspired him to order the collection in the way he did. They also touch on the ethics around writing about your personal relationships and the lives of others, and what makes poetry such a powerful vehicle for exploring and articulating trauma and difficult topics.
    Martin has also written a poem for the new addition of Wandering Words, a literary walking tour of Norwich UNESCO City of Literature. With a new look, two new locations, and two new poems, the new addition of Wandering Words map will be available to download from our website, or to pick up from the Norfolk & Norwich Box Office. To find out more, click here.

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
34 Ratings

34 Ratings

EDubhglas ,

Nourishing a writing community

As a writer based in Edinburgh, this podcast makes me feel like part of a wider writing community. The conversations between writers on this podcast - particularly the episode feat. Joelle Taylor, Jay Bernard, Anthony Capildeo & Gail McConnell - are so enriching and motivating, they’ve become part of my writing practice. Thank you for all you do!

Novel reader ,

Great podcast!

It is the perfect companion for everyone interested in all aspects of the book industry. Packed with insightful tips and great guests.

clemochka ,

Wonderful podcast

I only discovered this podcast two weeks ago & am really blown away by it. Every episode is a gem. The hosts are thoughtful, questions penetrating & what an incredible array of guests! From those starting out to those well-established. This is a great resource for writers (and readers!) at any stage of their journey. I’m a writer recently moved to Norfolk so am extra grateful as it’s bringing more intellectual sparkle to the place.

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