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!Brought to you by the National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall in Norwich.

The Writing Life National Centre for Writing

    • Books
    • 4.9 • 14 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!Brought to you by the National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall in Norwich.

    What happens when Covid-19 cancels your book launch? - Richard Lambert returns!

    What happens when Covid-19 cancels your book launch? - Richard Lambert returns!

    We spoke to Richard Lambert on the podcast in October 2019 about his debut novel The Wolf Road, which was to be published in early 2020. It never came out: instead, Covid-19 triggered global lockdowns, which forced bookshops and libraries to close, distributors shut down and Richard's dream of publication became another casualty of 2020. Fast forward to October 2020 and not only is Richard back on the pod to talk about the challenges and difficulties of the year, but The Wolf Road has, at last, been released into the wild. We talk about why the book had to be delayed, what Richard's publisher did about it and how he coped with the turbulent year.You can listen to the 2019 podcast with Richard here: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/preparing-for-publication/ Hosted by Steph McKenna and Simon Jones.Find out more about what we do: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Information on the Escalator Talent Development programme: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/escalator/ Music by Bennet Maples.

    • 37 min
    Writing narrative non-fiction with Kate Summerscale

    Writing narrative non-fiction with Kate Summerscale

    Kate Summerscale, the award-winning author of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, joins the pod to talk to Chris about her new book, The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story. They discuss the origins of the book, Kate's approach to research and how she had to track down the facts, and how the book sets poltergeists and the increased interest in the supernatural in the 1930s with the rise of Hitler and looming war.Hosted by Steph McKenna and Simon Jones.Find out more about what we do: http://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/3G39dRWJoin the Book Club: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/the-ncw-book-club/Music by  Bennet Maples.

    • 54 min
    Agents, representation, childcare & moving out of London - with Emma Shercliff

    Agents, representation, childcare & moving out of London - with Emma Shercliff

    Emma Shercliff of Laxfield Literary Associates talks to us about being an agent outside of London and her efforts to better represent both regional writers and authors from Africa and the Middle East. Following a globe-trotting career with Macmillan, Hodder and Cassava Republic Press, encountering the Common People report prompted Emma to set up Laxfield Literary Associates with the aim of making agenting more transparent and representative of the population.We discuss the challenges of representation, the lack of childcare support for writers, how and when to contact an agent and lots more - including the two prizes being run by Laxfield Literary Associates which you can find out about on their website: https://laxfieldliterary.com/Hosted by Simon Jones & Steph McKenna.Find out more about what we do: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Check out our workshops and Agent Insights sessions: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/courses/Join our (free!) Discord community and say hi: https://discord.gg/3G39dRWMusic by Bennet Maples.

    • 56 min
    How to be an organised writer with Antony Johnston

    How to be an organised writer with Antony Johnston

    Want to be a more organised writer? On the pod this week we have Antony Johnston, prolific and bestselling creator of comics, novels, podcasts and more. He created the graphic novel that was turned into the movie Atomic Blonde, has worked extensively on his own comics as well as Marvel books, video games including Dead Space and Shadow of Mordor and numerous crime thrillers. His latest  book is The Organised Writer, a manual for professional writers based on Antony's own experiences and techniques. If you've struggled to stick to deadlines and carve out time for your writing, Antony is someone you need to pay attention to.The Organised Writer is published by Bloomsbury and is available from all good bookshops!Meanwhile Vicki jumps on the pod to discuss the challenges of our school work in Covid-19 times and our continuing efforts to keep delivering workshops to young people.Hosted by Simon Jones and Vicki Maitland.Join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/3G39dRWFREE course: Supercharge your productivity: https://courses.nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/p/supercharge-your-productivityHow to write more and stay happy: https://courses.nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/p/how-to-write-moreFind out more about what we do: http://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Check out Antony's website: https://antonyjohnston.com/Watch Antony's film debut Crossover Point: https://bit.ly/crossoverpointMusic by Bennet Maples.

    • 55 min
    Kieron Gillen on world building in Eternals, Wicked+Divine, Star Wars

    Kieron Gillen on world building in Eternals, Wicked+Divine, Star Wars

    Multi-award-winning comics writer Kieron Gillen joins us on the pod today to discuss his methods for world building. Kieron is perhaps best known for The Wicked + The Divine, the hugely ambitious collaboration with artist Jamie McKelvie which presents a pantheon of gods who happen to also be pop stars, as well as UBER, Phonogram, DIE, Once & Future and Ludocrats. Beyond his own books he's also worked extensively with Marvel on X-Men, Thor, Iron Man and with LucasFilm on Darth Vader and Star Wars books. In the interview we explore the different challenges and opportunities of writing for established franchises compared to your own work, and how he approaches research and making things feel 'real' in fantasy stories. We spoke to Kieron just as he had been revealed as the writer on The Eternals, the return of a long-running series from Marvel.This episode is part of our Early Career Writers' Resource Pack on World Building, which also features insight and tips from Abi Daré, Farhana Shaikh and Ian Nettleton. These packs are made possible by support from Arts Council England. See the rest of the pack here: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/5-world-building/ Hosted by Stephanie McKenna and Simon Jones, who is barely able to contain his excitement.More info on the Desmond Elliot Prize: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/desmond-elliott-prize/ Find out about what we do: http://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Kieron on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kierongillen Music by Bennet Maples.

    • 59 min
    Attica Locke on Power, Property And Prejudice

    Attica Locke on Power, Property And Prejudice

    It's a very special episode this week award-winning US author and screenwriter Attica Locke joins us to deliver the annual Noirwich Lecture, in which she explores the ways that crime writing can challenge the distribution of power and authority at a structural and individual level, addressing how power, property and privilege intersect.Attica’s most recent novel, Heaven, My Home, is an expertly-crafted thriller mystery, but also a sharp examination of ‘Trump-era’ America and issues of race, power, prejudice and white supremacy which still exist today. Her recent work as a television writer and producer includes When They See Us (Netflix); a portrayal of the 1990 wrongful conviction of five teenage boys from Harlem for a brutal attack in Central Park; and Little Fires Everywhere (Amazon Prime).You can watch the live Q&A that followed Attica's lecture over on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/bA2R3FRTBR8 Meanwhile, Steph and Simon talk about free resources to help you keep writing through the latest Covid-19 lockdown rules and regs, what they're currently reading and the upcoming 'World Building' resource pack!Noirwich is a co-production from the National Centre for Writing and the University of East Anglia. Find out more here: http://noirwich.co.uk/ Hosted by Simon Jones and Steph McKenna.Sign up to our newsletter and find out more about what we do: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Lewis Buxton on poetry in lockdown: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/poetry-in-lockdown-with-lewis-buxton/Jenny Offill and Joe Dunthorne about catastrophising: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/jenny-offill-talks-to-joe-dunthorne/Mark Stay on finding your new normal: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/finding-your-new-normal/Ben Johncock's free productivity course: https://courses.nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/p/supercharge-your-productivityEnd music by Bennet Maples.Intro music from YouTube audio library.Portrait by Jenny Walters.

    • 1 hr 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

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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